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Ecology- “oikos” meaning home and “logos” meaning study

- studying the external environment of species

- study of interactions between biotic and abiotic factors, which compose the environment
and the organisms
- study of the distribution and abundance of organisms

Environment: bioticother organisms

Abiotic physicochemical factors

Environment Organism
Habitat: where an organism lives
Niche: functional role of an organism in the environment
a) fundamental- main role; i.e. worker bees-protect queen
b) realized- role determined by the environment and condition; i.e. worker bees-make honey
and pollinate flowers
*another example: interaction between Balanus and Cthalamus barnacles.

Interaction: flow of matter and energy

*food chain and food web

1. Primary productivity: rate at which plants assimilate solar energy in a particular community
2. Secondary productivity: rate of biomass production by heterotrophs or consumers

GPP: gross primary productivity

NPP: net primary productivity
R: respiration

Plant and animal associations:


Species diversity: total number of all the different species in the area

Species richness: relative abundance of different species in the area

Species evenness: number of individuals per species

Even ≠ diverse ≠ richness. Richness may imply diversity, but they are not equal terms

Ecological population: same species occupying the same area over the same time

Demography: study of population change throughout an organism’s life

-mortality rates, birth rates, immigration, emigration

Life table: the summary of stages or age groups related to the survivorship of an organism.
a)Dynamic: age-specific; short-lived individuals i.e. insects
*cohort-single generation observed in the life table
b)Static: time-specific; long-lived individuals i.e. humans

Survivorship curves
a) Type I: for long-lived organisms
b) Type II: ideal and limited
c) Type III: for short-lived organisms

No. of II


Population growth
1) Exponential growth: geometric increase in population size
-J-shaped curve in a rate vs. number of individuals plot
-common among r-selected organisms
2) Logistic growth: growth rate levels off as it reaches K (carrying capacity)
-S-shaped curve
-common among K-selected organisms

**r-selected: short-lived organisms with short life span, but are fast reproducers; pioneer communities
i.e. grass, rats, insects
**k-selected: long-lived organisms with long life span with long maturation time; climax communities
i.e. trees, humans, higher forms of animals

Succession: transition in species composition in a previously disturbed area over time

*disturbance: natural or man-made

Steps in succession: colonization site modification  change in species composition

Primary succession: succession where the environment at the start is virtually lifeless
Secondary succession: succession where the environment previously hosted life (i.e. hay infusion)

Models of succession:
1. Facilitation model- linear, unidirectional
2. Inhibition model- no regard in order of succession/occurrence
3. Tolerance model- some organisms are not necessarily needed
Evolution: change in genetic constitution/ gene frequency of a population through time; or descent
with modification through time

Natural selection: “survival of the fittest”; differential reproduction of some members of a species
resulting from variable fitness conferred by genotypic differences

Adaptation: inherited characteristics that help the individual survive and reproduce; these inherited
characteristics are favored by the environment during natural selection

Selective factors: significant component of the environment that affect the survival and growth of a
certain organism, but not affecting other organisms

**natural selection ≠ evolution; natural selection does not necessarily suggest evolution, because
evolution needs a long time/ many generations to determine whether it is occurring.

1) Convergent evolution: produces analogous structures (same function, different embryonic

i.e. wings of insects, bats and birds
2) Divergent evolution: produces homologous structures; with a common ancestor
i.e. limbs