Essay about The Scope of Ecology

2502 Words Feb 22nd, 2011 11 Pages
1. Define ecology. Identify the two features of organisms studied by ecologists.
Ecology is the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and the environment, which in turn determine both the distribution of organisms and their abundance. Ecologists study how interactions between organisms and the environment affect phenomena such as the number of species living in a particular area, cycling of nutrients in a habitat, and the growth of populations.

2. Describe the relationship between ecology and evolutionary biology.
Darwin’s extensive observations (ecological studies) of the distribution of organisms and their adaptations to specific environments led him to propose that environmental factors interacting with variation
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(They tend to be less receptive to their evolutionary recent habitats.) Other species limit distribution? The inability to repoduce may be due to negative interactions with other organisms in the form of predation, parasitism, disease, or competition.In addition, there may be an absense of other species on which the transplanted species depends. Abiotic factors limit distribution? Abiotic factors all have an impact on global distribution. Chemical factors include water, oxygen, salinity, pH, soil nutrients, etc. ; physical factors include temperature, light, soil structure, fire, moisture, etc. Daily and annual fluctuations of factors may either blur or accentuate regional distinctions.
Temperature: Effects biological processes. Cells may rupture if water content freezes, and proteins of most organisms denature at temperatures above 45 degrees. Few organisms can maintain metabolism at temp extrems. Organisms’ internal temps are affected by heat exchange with environment, and most organisms can’t maintain tissue temps a few degrees higher or lower than their environment; birds and mammals are exceptions as endotherms, but even they function best within various narrow temp ranges.
Water: Availability & whether it’s saltwater or freshwater

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