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31 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Behavior and evolution
behavioral ecology emphasizes evolutionary hypotheses for animal behavior based on the assumption that animals increase their fitness by optimal behavior
Advantages of group living
avoiding predation, increased feeding rate, energy gains
Disadvantages of group living
increased predation, increased competition, increased disease, increased cuckoldry, increased cannibalism

the importance of inclusive fitness
you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours. The importance of discrimination against cheaters.
both male and female mate with several partners
Parental Care in birds
generally limited by the rate of food delivery to the nest
Parental Care in mammals
only females lactate often limiting the contribution by the male
Parental Care in fishes
little parental care but when it occurs either sex could carry it out (eg. fanning eggs)
Environmental factors affecting mating systems
The economics of defending resources (in space and in time)

Resource defence polygyny

Female defence polygyny

Female synchrony as a means to enforce monogamy
Types pf distribution/dispersion
Random (rare in nature)

Regular (or overdispersed) – frequently caused by competition

Clumped (or patchy) – many possible causes, distribution of resources for example.

iii) Age Structure – organisms may change in many ways as they age, eg. food source, predators and competitors may all change.

Comparison of human populations
Types of Survivorship curves
Type I (e.g. humans) – mortality is low until most individuals die late in their lifespan.

Type II (e.g. some bird species) – a constant proportional mortality

Type III (e.g. many insect and fish species) – most individuals die young, the few that survive may

then live for much longer.
Population Analysis
death tables

Cohort – follows a group of individuals born at the same time (hard to do but accurate)

Static – looks at all the individuals present during one time period (easier but harder to interpret)
Reproduce repeatedly
Four features of a population

between individuals, shared requirement for a resource, resource is in limited

supply, leads to a reduction in vital rates)
Density Dependence
what it is (a necessary condition for population regulation)

and what it is not (not a sufficient condition)
What determines population density?
density dependent factors AND

density independent factors
Density Independent Factors
v) Limitation vs. regulation

vi) Time delays – generally lead to oscillations and instability

vii) Life histories - ‘K’ and ‘r’ selected populations

K-selected – long lifespan, low mortality, good competitors producing few, high quality offspring

r-selected – short lifespan, high mortality, good dispersers and colonizers producing many small offspring with little parental care.
Demographic Transition
describes the transition from high birth and death rates to low birth and death rates
Types of Succession
Primary succession vs. secondary succession

Degradative succession

Use of succession in forensic science
Mechanisms of succession
Facilitation, Tolerance, Inhibition
Types of food webs
Connectedness, Energy flow, Functional
Use of food webs
predicting pollutant movement and concentration; predicting community effects of introductions or

extinctions; designing artificial communities
Community classification
i) By structure ii) By dominant species iii) By dominant species at each level iv) By relative similarity v) By all the species
Patterns in biodiversity
i) N-S gradients in diversity

Some possible explanations: Longer time for evolution in tropics, faster evolution in tropics, greater structural complexity in the tropics, greater environmental stability in the tropics, ‘intermediate’ levels of disturbance in the tropics, higher primary productivity in the tropics.

ii) Species-area curves – linear on a plot of Log Species vs Log Area

On islands and on mainland areas

Area vs. habitats
Estimating species number and rates of species loss.
Causes of species loss

) Habitat destruction and fragmentation

Reduces absolute habitat, Increases the amount of ‘edge’ habitat, Increases the distance between

habitat patches.

ii) Hunting (for ‘fun’ and food). Short term economic gain encourages overexploitation. Tragedy of the commons


Introduction of alien species. Where they come from and why they are a problem.

iv) Pollution and other causes
Consequences of species loss
i) Economic value (eg. food, medicines, materials)

ii) Moral reasons (religious or ethical)

iii) Ecosystem function (eg. nutrient cycling, pollination, soil production, CO2 uptake, O2 production)
Advantages of biological control
Highly selective, Cheap, Self propagating & self perpetuating, Resistance unlikely
Disadvantage of biological control
Limits subsequent pesticide use, Can be slow to initiate, Does not eliminate pest, May attack non-target species
Changing human density and distribution, Changing human mobility and movement, Changing human behavior, Antibiotic resistance, Immunosuppression, Environmental Change.