Option G - Ecology
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What factors affect the distribution of a plant species?
- Soil pH
- Mineral nutrients
What factors affect the distribution of animal species?
- Breeding sites
- Food supply
What is a niche?
- Where the organism lives (its spatial habitat)
- What and how it eats (its feeding activities)
- Its interactions with other species
What is competition?
When 2 species rely on the same limited resource. One will be better adapted than the other to benefit from the resource.
Give 2 examples of competition
- 1. In US, Coyotes and red foxes both eat small rodents and birds. The habitat of the red fox is disappearing. The two species are competing for a smaller food supply.
- 2. In UK, the Natterjack toad competing for same dune area by the common toad.
What is herbivory?
When a primary consumer feeds on a producer.
Give 2 examples of herbivory
- 1. Rabbits eat marram grass in a sand dune
- 2. Monarch butterfly largae eat leaves of milkweed plant.
What is predation?
When a consumer (animal) eats another consumer (animal).
Give 2 examples of predation.
- 1. Canadian lynx predates on a hare
- 2. Blue heron predates on frogs in sand dune ecosystem.
What is a parasite?
An organisms that lives on or in a host and depends on the host for food for at least part of its life cycle. The host is harmed by the parasite.
Give 2 examples of parasitism.
- 1. Plasmodium is a parasite that causes malaria. Part of lifecycle occurs in the Anopheles mosquito.
- 2. Leeches live in ponds. Their host are mammals (incl. humans). They puncture the skin and secrete an enzyme to stop blood clotting.
What is mutualism?
When 2 species live together where both benefit from the relationship.
Give 2 examples of mutualism
- 1. Lichen is a mutualistic relationship between fungi and algae
- 2. Clownfish and sea anemones. Clownfish lure fish into tentacles of Anemones, which anemones eat. Clownfish get to eat the remains of the fish! Yum.
What is competitive exclusion?
This principle states that no two species in a community can occupy the same niche.
What is a fundamental niche?
It is the potential mode of existence, given the adaptations of the species.
What is the realised niche?
This is the actual mode of existence which results from the adaptations and competition with other species.
What does biomass mean?
It's the total mass of organic matter (such as carbon compounds like carbohydrates, lipids and proteins).
Define gross production.
The total amount of energy trapped in the organic matter produced by plants (per area per time) in kilojoules.
What is net production?
Net production = gross production - energy lost through respiration.
What is primary succession?
It is when plants (usually lichens) begin to colonize a previously barren or lifeless area (like a newly created volcanic island).
What is secondary succession?
Happens when there is a disturbance of the primary succession. Usually happens faster than the primary succession.
What are biomes?
They are divisions of the biosphere.
What is biomagnification?
A process by which chemical substances become more concentrated at each trophic level.
Give an example of biomagnification.
DDT - a pesticide that was used to kill insect pests.
What was the first sign of biomagnification of DDT?
The decline in a number of predator birds. The eggs of these birds were easily cracked.
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