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ECOLOGY Chapter 8
ECOLOGY
Chapter 8
Learning Objectives i. Define population, community and ecosystem ii. Distinguish between inter and intraspecific
Learning Objectives
i. Define population, community and
ecosystem
ii. Distinguish between inter and intraspecific
interaction
iii. Describe community interactions
(interspecific) that includes predation,
herbivory, disease, parasitism, mutualism
and commensalism
iv. Summarize the concept of an energy flow
through a food chain and a food web
v. Explain typical pyramids of numbers and
biomass
Population • A population is a group of individuals of the same species that is
Population
• A population is a group of
individuals of the same species that
is colonizing an area or habitat
• Population ecology is a major sub-
field of ecology that deals with the
dynamics of species populations
and how these populations interact
with the environment
Population
Population
Community • A community consists of all the organisms from different species that colonize an
Community
• A community consists of all the
organisms from different species
that colonize an area
• Community ecology consists of the
study on number and types of
species present, relative abundance
of each species, interaction among
species and community resilience to
disturbances
Community
Community
Ecosystem • An ecosystem consist of all the abiotic factors in addition to the entire
Ecosystem
• An ecosystem consist of all the
abiotic factors in addition to the entire
community of species that exist in a
certain area.
Intra-specific interactions • Among intra specific interaction between individuals are competition (A - / -
Intra-specific interactions
• Among intra specific interaction between
individuals are competition (A - / - effect)
• Competition occurs when two or more
individuals attempt to use the same
essential resource, such as food, water,
shelter, living space, or sunlight
• Competition can occur among individuals
from the same species within a
population (intraspecific competition) or
between different species (interspecific
competition).
Intra-specific competition • According to Darwin’s theory, genetic variation can be seen in a giraffe
Intra-specific competition
• According to Darwin’s theory, genetic
variation can be seen in a giraffe
population according to the length of
the neck where it varied.
• Some have longer, intermediate and
short neck.
• This increase their chances in
surviving, by having longer necks.
Intra-specific competition • Due to competition in order to get food sources that is limited
Intra-specific competition
• Due to competition in order to get
food sources that is limited
especially those that is present on
the ground, all the giraffe population
had to shift their eating habit in
order for survival.
• Giraffes with longer necks survived
due to their ability to get food and
later interbreed
Intra- specific competition
Intra-
specific
competition
Intra-specific competition • In a study of southern Utah Gila monsters it was observed that
Intra-specific competition
• In a study of southern Utah Gila
monsters it was observed that from
late April through late May some
shelters were occupied by as many
as six Gila monsters at the same
time.
Intra-specific competition • Male-male combat can be observed in these Gila monsters as a test
Intra-specific competition
• Male-male combat can be observed
in these Gila monsters as a test of
strength and endurance.
• The loser leaves the area and it is
presumed that the winner of such
fights then has access to females for
mating.
Inter-specific competition • Competition between species with overlapping niches may lead to competitive exclusion
Inter-specific competition
• Competition between species with
overlapping niches may lead to
competitive exclusion
• When two species compete for
resources one will always be a better
competitor – the other will lose out
and disappear unless it evolves some
adaptation to escape / minimize
competition
Inter-specific competition • Gause Experiments (1934) – Paramecium Aurelia and P. caudatum • P. Aurelia
Inter-specific competition
• Gause Experiments (1934) –
Paramecium Aurelia and P. caudatum
• P. Aurelia has a higher rate of
population increase – grows faster and
can tolerate higher density
• When grown alone both survive well and
established a logistic growth
Inter-specific competition • When mixed together in a fixed food medium (bacteria) – • caudatum
Inter-specific competition
• When mixed together in a
fixed food medium
(bacteria) –
• caudatum died out
P.
• Aurelia interfered with
P.
the population growth of
P. caudatum because of
its higher growth rate
Inter-specific competition • Gause concluded that when two species compete for the same limiting resources,
Inter-specific competition
• Gause concluded that when two
species compete for the same limiting
resources, one species will use the
resources more efficiently and thus
reproduce more rapidly than the
other.
• They cannot live occupy the same
niche unless they modify their
behaviour
Inter-specific competition • Next he used P. bursaria and P. caudatum. Both sp. reached stability
Inter-specific competition
• Next he used P. bursaria and P.
caudatum. Both sp. reached stability
– P. bursaria feeds at the bottom of
tube while P. caudatum feed in the
solution
• Even though both utilize the same
food supply – they occupied different
part of the test tube
• This is called resource partitioning
Inter-specific competition • This is the way of species to reduce competition. • It is
Inter-specific competition
• This is the way of species to reduce
competition.
• It is called resource partitioning, in
which they evolve differences in
resource use
• May include timing of feeding,
location of feeding, nest sites
Inter-specific competition • Flowers of two species of Solanum in Mexico are quite similar in
Inter-specific competition
• Flowers of two species of Solanum in Mexico are
quite similar in areas either one or the other
occurs
• However, in areas where their distributions
overlap, the two differ significantly in flower size
and are pollinated by different kinds of bees
• This can be referred as character displacement
Inter-specific competition • Two species of barnacles Chthamalus and Balanus, grow in the intertidal zone
Inter-specific competition
• Two species of barnacles
Chthamalus and Balanus, grow
in the intertidal zone of a rocky
shore in Scotland.
• Chthamalus inhabit the upper
rock while Balanus inhabit the
lower rock.
Inter-specific competition • When Chthamalus individuals were experimentally removed, Balanus individuals did not
Inter-specific competition
• When Chthamalus individuals were
experimentally removed, Balanus
individuals did not expand into their
section of the rock. But when
Balanus individuals were removed,
Chthamalus individuals spread into
the empty area.
• This is because Chthamalus is
more resistant to dryness than
Balanus.
Inter-specific competition • This shows that biotic and abiotic factors can affect species competition
Inter-specific competition
• This shows that biotic and abiotic
factors can affect species competition
Inter-specific interactions • Besides competition for certain resources, a community will interact by ways of
Inter-specific interactions
• Besides competition for
certain resources, a
community will interact by
ways of predation,
herbivory, parasitism,
disease, mutualism and
commensalism
Predation • Predation is the consumption of one species (the prey) by another (the predator).
Predation
• Predation is the consumption of one
species (the prey) by another (the
predator).
Predation • It is a ( + / - ) interaction – Includes animals eating
Predation
It is a ( + / - ) interaction
– Includes animals eating other animals,
as well as animals eating plants
– During coevolution between predator
and prey, the predator evolves more
efficient ways to catch prey, and the
prey evolves better ways to escape
predator
Predation • Predators have several adaptation in order to become successful predators such as i.
Predation
• Predators have several adaptation
in order to become successful
predators such as
i. Acute sense to identify preys
ii. Adaptations such as claws, teeth,
fangs, stingers or poison to catch
their prey.
iii. Ability to pursuit (fast) and ambush
(disguised) besides being
intelligent
Predation • Sharks have well developed sense organs that could locate prey in water. Electroreceptor
Predation
• Sharks have well developed sense organs
that could locate prey in water.
Electroreceptor on the shark’s head detect
weak electrical signals from muscular
activity of animals.
• Rattle snakes have heat-sensing organs
besides capable of killing prey with toxins
from their fang
Predation • A brown pelican are capable of diving into water at the speed of
Predation
• A brown pelican are capable of diving into water
at the speed of 72 km/h to catch fish
• Orcas (killer whales), which hunt in packs, often
herd salmon or tuna into a cove so that they are
easier to catch.
• Speed of brown pelican or intelligence of orcas
will increase hunting efficiency
Predation • Yellow crab spider is the same color as the white or yellow flowers
Predation
• Yellow crab spider is the same color as the
white or yellow flowers on which it hides.
• This camouflage keeps insect from noticing
the spider until its too late
Predation • Many animals flee from predators, some have mechanical defenses, and some associate in
Predation
• Many animals flee from predators,
some have mechanical defenses,
and some associate in groups
• Large grazing mammals defend their
young from lions
Predation • Some animals that possess chemical defenses also exhibit aposematic coloration, which is called
Predation
• Some animals that
possess chemical
defenses also exhibit
aposematic coloration,
which is called warning
coloration
• Example is poison
arrow frog that can
synthesize toxin and
display bright warning
coloration
Predation • Some animals exhibit cryptic coloration that helps them hide from predators by blending
Predation
• Some animals exhibit
cryptic coloration that
helps them hide from
predators by blending
into their surroundings
• Certain caterpillars are
the same color of leaves
or twigs that reside on
to avoid being spotted
by predator.
Predation • In Batesian mimicry, a harmless or edible species resembles another species that is
Predation
• In Batesian mimicry, a harmless or edible species
resembles another species that is dangerous in
some way.
• Example, harmless scarlet kingsnake looks so
much like the venomous coral snake that
predators may avoid it
Predation • Larva of hawkmoth puffs up its head and thorax looking like a small
Predation
• Larva of hawkmoth puffs up its head
and thorax looking like a small
poisonous snake.
• Larvae weave its head back and forth
and hisses like a snake.
Predation • In Müllerian mimicry, several different species, all of which are poisonous, harmful, or
Predation
• In Müllerian mimicry, several
different species, all of which are
poisonous, harmful, or distasteful
resemble one another.
• This will give benefits to both
because the greater number of
harmful prey, the more the
predators adapt by avoiding any
prey with the same appearance
Predation • The cuckoo bee and the yellow jacket resembles each other
Predation
• The cuckoo bee and the yellow jacket
resembles each other
Predation • Predators also use mimicry to trap / confuse preys • Alligator snapping turtles
Predation
• Predators also use mimicry to trap / confuse
preys
• Alligator snapping turtles have tongue that
resembles wriggling worms.
• They display their tongue as a bait for small fish
before snapping them
Herbivory • Is a type of ( + / - ) interactions where a herbivourous
Herbivory
• Is a type of ( + / - ) interactions where a
herbivourous animal eat parts of a plant
/ algae
• Herbivores are capable of
distinguishing toxic and non toxic plants
by using sensors
• Insects have chemical sensors at their
feet whereas goats depend on their
sense of smell to distinguish plants
Herbivory • Plants possess several adaptations that protect them from being eaten, including spines, thorns,
Herbivory
• Plants possess several adaptations
that protect them from being eaten,
including spines, thorns, tough
leathery leaves, and protective
chemicals that are unpalatable or
toxic to herbivores.
• This is because they cannot flee
from predators
Herbivory • Milkweeds produce alkaloids and cardiac glycosides, chemicals that are poisonous to all animals
Herbivory
• Milkweeds produce
alkaloids and cardiac
glycosides, chemicals
that are poisonous to all
animals except for a
small group of insects
• Herbivorous animals
avoid consuming these
insects because of
accumulation of toxins
Parasitism • In parasitism, one organism (the parasite) benefits while the other (the host) is
Parasitism
• In parasitism, one organism (the parasite)
benefits while the other (the host) is
harmed
• Is a ( + / -) relationship
• Parasites that lives in the body of their
hosts are called endoparasites e.g.
tapeworms and Plasmodium
Parasitism • Parasites that feed on the external surface of the host are called ectoparasites
Parasitism
• Parasites that feed on the external
surface of the host are called
ectoparasites e.g. mosquitoes, tick
and lice
Parasitism • Parasites have a complex life cycle where involving primary host and intermediate hosts
Parasitism
• Parasites have a complex life cycle where involving
primary host and intermediate hosts e.g blood fluke
Parasitism • Parasitic proboscis worm caused their crustacean hosts to move away from their cover
Parasitism
• Parasitic proboscis worm caused
their crustacean hosts to move away
from their cover to the open
• Can be consumed by birds that is
their second host
Disease • Disease causing agents are simlar to parasite by causing a ( + /
Disease
• Disease causing agents are simlar to
parasite by causing a ( + / - )
relationship
• Pathogens are smaller than usual
parasites (invertebrates) and have
lethal effects
• Mostly virus, prions, bacteria
(prokaryotes), protists and fungi
Disease • In plants, a popular pathogen caused a famine in Ireland between 1845 and
Disease
• In plants, a popular pathogen caused a
famine in Ireland between 1845 and 1849.
• The famine was caused by potato blight,
that almost instantly destroyed the primary
food source for the majority of the Irish
people
Disease • West Nile virus mainly infects birds, but is known to infect humans and
Disease
• West Nile virus mainly infects birds, but is
known to infect humans and mammals.
• The main route of human infection is
through the bite of an infected mosquito.
• From 1999 to 2004, they killed thousands
of crows and human death increase
Mutualism • An interspecific interaction that benefits both species ( + / + ) •
Mutualism
• An interspecific interaction that benefits
both species ( + / + )
• Seen in acacia trees and ants
• Ants feed in the sugar produced by
nectaries on the tree and on the protein
rich swellings at the tip of the leaflets
• Acacia will benefit because ants attack
anything that might harm the tree such as
fungal spores and vegetation growing
close to the tree.
Mutualism
Mutualism
Mutualism • Mycorrhizae are mutualistic relationship between fungi and the roots of plants. Occurs in
Mutualism
• Mycorrhizae are mutualistic relationship between fungi and
the roots of plants. Occurs in 90% of plant families.
• The mycorrhizal fungus benefits the plant by decomposing
organic materials in the soil and providing water and
minerals such as phosphorus to the plant. It also increases
the plant’s absorptive area and allows movement of organic
materials from tree to tree.
• At the same time, the plant roots supply sugars, amino
acids and other organic materials to the fungus.
Commensalism • An interaction that benefits one species but neither harm nor help the other
Commensalism
• An interaction that
benefits one species
but neither harm nor
help the other ( + / 0 )
• Cattle egrets feed on
insects out of the
grass that is grazed by
cows / buffalo,
therefore they get food
Commensalism • Clownfishes live within the waving mass of tentacles of sea anemones • Most
Commensalism
• Clownfishes live within the waving mass of
tentacles of sea anemones
• Most fishes avoid the poisonous tentacles,
therefore clownfishes are protected from
predators.
Commensalism • Epiphytes, e.g some tropical orchids use trees or branches of trees for support
Commensalism
• Epiphytes, e.g some tropical orchids
use trees or branches of trees for
support without harm or benefit to the
tree.
• The epiphyte obtains more light and
air in this manner
Commensalism • Remora, a sucker-fish, lives in close association with sharks or other larger fish.
Commensalism
• Remora, a sucker-fish, lives in close association
with sharks or other larger fish.
• The dorsal fin of the sucker-fish is modified to form
a sucker; it uses this to attach itself to the shark;
• The sucker-fish is small and does not injure (or
benefit) the shark, but envoys the shark's
protection and lives on the food scraps formed as
the shark attacks its prey
Energy Transfer • The structure and dynamics of a community depends on the extend feeding
Energy Transfer
• The structure and dynamics of a
community depends on the extend
feeding relationship between
organisms.
• The feeding relationship can be
referred as trophic structure in the
community.
• A food chain is the flow of energy
from one organism to the next.
Food chain • The transfer of food energy will start from photosynthetic organisms (primary producers)
Food chain
• The transfer of food energy will
start from photosynthetic
organisms (primary producers)
Herbivores (primary consumers)
Carnivores (Secondary and
tertiary consumers) and ends up
with decomposers.
Food chain • Primary producers, or autotrophs, are species capable of producing complex organic substances
Food chain
• Primary producers, or autotrophs,
are species capable of producing
complex organic substances
(essentially "food") from an energy
source and inorganic materials.
These organisms are typically
photosynthetic plants, bacteria or
algae
Food chain • Organisms that get their energy by consuming organic substances are called heterotrophs.
Food chain
• Organisms that get their
energy by consuming
organic substances are
called heterotrophs.
• Heterotrophs include
herbivores, which obtain
their energy by
consuming live plants;
carnivores, which obtain
energy from consuming
live animals
Food chain • Detritivores, scavengers and decomposers will be the end trophic structure in a
Food chain
• Detritivores, scavengers and
decomposers will be the end trophic
structure in a food chain because
they consume dead biomass.
• Decomposers return the energy
from food to the ecosystem by
decomposing dead organisms thus
recycling their organic matter
Food chain • Most food chains have no more than four or five links. •
Food chain
• Most food chains have no more than
four or five links.
• There cannot be too many links in a
single food chain because the
animals at the end of the chain would
not get enough food (and hence
energy) to stay alive.
Food chain
Food chain
Food webs • A food web extends the food chain concept from a simple linear
Food webs
• A food web extends the food chain
concept from a simple linear pathway to a
complex network of interactions.
• The earliest food webs were published by
Victor Summerhayes and Charles Elton
in 1923 and Hardy in 1924.
Summerhayes and Elton's depicted the
interactions of plants, animals and
bacteria on Bear Island, Norway.
• Therefore, they discovered that food
chains are not isolated units but instead
are linked together, max 7 links
Food webs • For example, the Antarctic marine food web starts with the phytoplankton, that
Food webs
• For example, the Antarctic marine food
web starts with the phytoplankton, that
serves as a food for two types of
zooplankton, which are the crustaceans
krill and copepods
• Zooplankton will be eaten by various
carnivores like other carnivorous
zooplankton, fishes, birds, seals, squids.
• Human is on top, catching whales,
fishes and krills
Food webs
Food
webs
Pyramid of numbers • A pyramid of numbers shows the number of organisms at each
Pyramid of numbers
• A pyramid of numbers shows the
number of organisms at each trophic
level in a given ecosystem
• It represents the number of individual
organisms in each trophic level
Pyramid of numbers • Most food webs have four to five links • This is
Pyramid of numbers
• Most food webs have four to five
links
• This is because only 0.1% of the
chemical energy fixed by
photosynthesis can flow to the
tertiary consumer
• Top level predators are fairly large
animals at a smaller number
Pyramid of numbers • The dynamics of energy flow through ecosystems – Have important implications
Pyramid of numbers
• The dynamics of energy flow through
ecosystems
– Have important implications for the
human population
• Eating meat
– Is a relatively inefficient way of tapping
photosynthetic production
– Human may get far more calories by
consuming grains instead of eating
meat from grain-fed animals
Pyramid of numbers • Worldwide agriculture could successfully feed many more people – If humans
Pyramid of numbers
• Worldwide agriculture could successfully
feed many more people
– If humans all fed more efficiently, eating only
plant material
Trophic level
Secondary
consumers
Primary
consumers
Primary
producers
Pyramid of biomass • A pyramid of biomass illustrates the total biomass at each successive
Pyramid of biomass
• A pyramid of biomass illustrates the
total biomass at each successive trophic
level.
• Biomass is a quantitative estimate of the
total amount of living materials
indicating the amount of fixed energy at
a particular time
• Biomass may be represented as total
volume, dry weight, or live weight
• Typically, these pyramids show a
progressive reduction of biomass in
succeeding trophic levels
Pyramid of biomass Dry weight Trophic level (g/m2) Tertiary consumers Secondary consumers Primary consumers 1.5
Pyramid of biomass
Dry weight
Trophic level
(g/m2)
Tertiary
consumers
Secondary
consumers
Primary consumers
1.5
11
37
Primary producers
809
Most biomass pyramids show a sharp decrease in biomass at
successively higher trophic levels, as illustrated by data from
a bog at Silver Springs, Florida.
• Most biomass pyramids
– Show a sharp decrease at
successively higher tropic levels
In some aquatic ecosystems, such as the English Channel, a small standing crop of primary
In some aquatic
ecosystems, such
as the English
Channel,
a small standing
crop of primary
producers
(phytoplankton)
supports a larger
standing crop of
primary consumers
(zooplankton).
Pyramid of biomass
Dry weight
(g/m2)
• Certain aquatic ecosystems
– Have inverted biomass pyramids
– This is because the phytoplankton quickly
grow, reproduce and are quickly consumed
by zooplankton causing them not able to
develop a large population size.