Chapter one environment and ecology

Populations typically do not live in isolation from other species. The number of species occupying the same habitat and their relative abundance is known as the diversity of the community. Areas with low species diversity, such as the glaciers of Antarctica, still contain a wide variety of living organisms, whereas the diversity of tropical rainforests is so great that it cannot be accurately assessed.

Scientists study ecology at the community level to understand how species interact with each other and compete for the same resources. Perhaps the classical example of species interaction is the predator-prey relationship.

Population sizes of predators and prey in a community are not constant over time, and they may vary in cycles that appear to be related. The most often cited example of predator-prey population dynamics is seen in the cycling of the lynx predator and the snowshoe hare preyusing years of trapping data from North America Figure 1.

This cycling of predator and prey population sizes has a period of approximately ten years, with the predator population lagging one to two years behind the prey population. An apparent explanation for this pattern is that as the hare numbers increase, there is more food available for the lynx, allowing the lynx population to increase as well. When the lynx population grows to a threshold level, however, they kill so many hares that hare numbers begin to decline, followed by a decline in the lynx population because of scarcity of food.

When the lynx population is low, the hare population size begins to increase due, in part, to low predation pressure, starting the cycle anew. Predation and predator avoidance are strong influenced by natural selection. Any heritable character that allows an individual of a prey population to better evade its predators will be represented in greater numbers in later generations.

Likewise, traits that allow a predator to more efficiently locate and capture its prey will lead to a greater number of offspring and an increase in the commonness of the trait within the population. Such ecological relationships between specific populations lead to adaptations that are driven by reciprocal evolutionary responses in those populations. Species have evolved numerous mechanisms to escape predation including herbivorythe consumption of plants for food.

Defenses may be mechanical, chemical, physical, or behavioral. Mechanical defenses, such as the presence of armor in animals or thorns in plants, discourage predation and herbivory by discouraging physical contact Figure 2a.

chapter one environment and ecology

Many animals produce or obtain chemical defenses from plants and store them to prevent predation. Many plant species produce secondary plant compounds that serve no function for the plant except that they are toxic to animals and discourage consumption. For example, the foxglove produces several compounds, including digitalis, that are extremely toxic when eaten Figure 2b.

Biomedical scientists have repurposed the chemical produced by foxglove as a heart medication, which has saved lives for many decades. Many species use their body shape and coloration to avoid being detected by predators. The tropical walking stick is an insect with the coloration and body shape of a twig, which makes it very hard to see when it is stationary against a background of real twigs Figure 3a.

In another example, the chameleon can change its color to match its surroundings Figure 3b. Some species use coloration as a way of warning predators that they are distasteful or poisonous. For example, the monarch butterfly caterpillar sequesters poisons from its food plants and milkweeds to make itself poisonous or distasteful to potential predators. The caterpillar is bright yellow and black to advertise its toxicity.

The caterpillar is also able to pass the sequestered toxins on to the adult monarch, which is also dramatically colored black and red as a warning to potential predators. Fire-bellied toads produce toxins that make them distasteful to their potential predators Figure 4.

They have bright red or orange coloration on their bellies, which they display to a potential predator to advertise their poisonous nature and discourage an attack. While some predators learn to avoid eating certain potential prey because of their coloration, other species have evolved mechanisms to mimic this coloration to avoid being eaten, even though they themselves may not be unpleasant to eat or contain toxic chemicals.

In some cases of mimicrya harmless species imitates the warning coloration of a harmful species.The first law of ecology is that everything is related to everything else. Have you ever tried to summarise the logic of studying biology? Well, it can be put in hundreds of thousands of words. Let us try to make it simple.

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The essence of biological understanding is to know how organisms while remaining an individual, interact with other organisms and physical habitats as a group and hence behave like organized wholes, i.

And guess what, ecology is that branch of science which explains all of this. Now, this might be a question that biology is all about ecology. Well, biology is all about understanding ecology. We study cytology, physiology, morphology, and anatomy of organisms to understand their interaction with the environment. This ultimately leads us to study ecology as the function of biology. Hence, it does make sense that we are now going to study ecology and environment as the last unit of our biology syllabus because we have taken a great ride across all the disciplines of biology, just to understand ecology!

Ecology and environment are not important only because it allows us to understand how living things are interacting with each other but also because it deals with disturbances in these interactions. Hence, ecology also deals with the study of anthropogenic environmental degradation and the socio-political issues it has raised.

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Therefore, it is of utmost importance to realize the principles of ecology in order to maintain the nature in its harmony. Ecology and environment are presented as the tenth unit in the NEET biology syllabus. It is also the tenth unit in the NCERT textbook for class 12, which is going to be your primary and necessary reading material. Although we have established the importance of ecology and environment pragmatically, it is also important to know its weightage for NEET exam.

Now, you can realize how essential it is to focus on ecology and environment after having read and understood various other aspects of biology. There are various forms of questions that are asked in the competitive exams from the chapter ecology and environment. There are graphical questions, diagrammatic questions, numerical questions, assertion and reasoning questions, theories related questions, questions based on case studies and practical aspects, etc.

Therefore, you will have to do an exhaustive study of this chapter. You will need to relate the theoretical aspects with practical applications and build conceptual understanding so as to solve assertion and reasoning based questions. Let us try to figure out what all topics do we have to focus on in order to approach the chapter ecology and environment in a holistic manner. Organisms and Populations: Ecology is a subject which studies the interactions among organisms and between the organism and its physical abiotic environment.

Ecology is basically concerned with four levels of biological organisation — organisms, populations, communities and biomes. We have to focus on the first two levels of biological organisation in this chapter of ecology and environment, that is, organisms and population.

This chapter of ecology and environment tries to explain how and why of a process an organism is performing. Hence, you will get to know of such processes related to organisms and their populations in this chapter as:.

Ecosystem: An ecosystem can be visualized as a functional unit of nature, where living organisms interact among themselves and also with the surrounding physical environment. Many ecologists regard the entire biosphere as a global ecosystem, as a composite of all local ecosystems on Earth.

However, this does not present the functional attribute that can be studied. So, you will approach the ecosystem divided into two basic categories, namely the terrestrial and the aquatic.Environmental success stories from around the world with their lessons on how to turn from decline to restoration and sustainability.

Author : Gerald G. Ecology is the science of relationships between living organisms and their environment. Human ecology is about relationships between people and their environment. In human ecology the environment is perceived as an ecosystem see Figure 1. An ecosystem is everything in a specified area - the air, soil, water, living organisms and physical structures, including everything built by humans.

The living parts of an ecosystem - microorganisms, plants and animals including humans - are its biological community. Ecosystems can be any size. A small pond in a forest is an ecosystem, and the entire forest is an ecosystem.

A single farm is an ecosystem, and a rural landscape is an ecosystem. Villages, towns and large cities are ecosystems. A region of thousands of square kilometres is an ecosystem, and the planet Earth is an ecosystem. Although humans are part of the ecosystem, it is useful to think of human - environment interaction as interaction between the human social system and the rest of the ecosystem see Figure 1. The social system is everything about people, their population and the psychology and social organization that shape their behaviour.

The social system is a central concept in human ecology because human activities that impact on ecosystems are strongly influenced by the society in which people live. Values and knowledge - which together form our worldview as individuals and as a society - shape the way that we process and interpret information and translate it into action.

Technology defines our repertoire of possible actions. Social organization, and the social institutions that specify socially acceptable behaviour, shape the possibilities into what we actually do. Like ecosystems, social systems can be on any scale - from a family to the entire human population of the planet. These ecosystem services include water, fuel, food, materials for clothing, construction materials and recreation.

Movements of materials are obvious; energy and information are less so. Every material object contains energy, most conspicuous in foods and fuels, and every object contains information in the way it is structured or organized. Information can move from ecosystems to social systems independent of materials.Platt National Park is situated in south-central Oklahoma at the juncture of the southern Osage Plains and the ancient, worn remnants of the Arbuckle Mountains.

Lying as it does nearly midway between Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Dallas, Texas, in a portion of the United States which many persons stereotype as mile after mile of rather drab and unspectacular subprairie scenery, Platt National Park each year attracts more visitors than two-thirds of all other national parks.

These visitors, many of whom return year after year, come to this smallest of all national parks only acres, about one and one-half square miles for the same reasons that both man and beast have come for centuries. They come to enjoy the cool and tranquil beauty of the simple wooded valley and its many springs and streams. In the past the freshwater springs formed a dependable prairie oasis that supplied all comers, and the mineral-water springs very early gained for the site a reputation as one of America's leading health spas.

In addition to those who visit the park primarily for rest and relaxation, recent years have seen an increase in the number of visitors who come to participate in a wide range of environmental and nature programs which are conducted by the naturalists of the park's Travertine Nature Center. The area of the park effectively encompasses three miles of the beautifully wooded valleys of Rock and Travertine creeks, several hundred acres of upland prairie, and, most significantly, more than thirty springs issuing either fresh or mineral water.

Perhaps the unique and most interesting aspect of the park, especially for persons interested in ecology or plant geography, is that within a small area are many observable and conveniently accessible phases of a major ecotone. The variations in the vegetation types and their associated natural communities occur both horizontally and vertically on the landscape.

chapter one environment and ecology

Each of these natural zones contain a series of different micro-habitats and are the result of the complex interrelationships of soil and bedrock, living organisms, surface and ground water, and atmosphere.

The park's waters have always been one of the area's greatest attractions, and many years ago the local Indians named it Peaceful Valley of Rippling Waters. Much of the water in the park comes from Buffalo Springs and Antelope Springs in the eastern end of the park, which flow about five million gallons of water a day during normal years.

They are most interesting because of their beauty and size, and for their role as the sole source of Travertine Creek. Buffalo Springs surfaces to form a rock-bound pool in a restful glade near the eastern end of the park.

chapter one environment and ecology

A few hundred feet northwest of Buffalo Springs is a ledge of conglomerate rock from which Antelope Springs issues in its natural setting to form one of the park's most pleasant retreats. Both springs are situated along the main foot trail that loops through the woodland of the eastern portion of the park. There are numerous cold-water mineral springs in the park which give rise to sulphur, bromide, and iron-bearing waters.

Most of them are enclosed in pavilions or pools constructed of native stone and shaded by groves of large, old trees which present a pleasant and comfortable setting for the use and enjoyment of the springs.

The central portion of the park near the main entrance contains the most significant sulphur springs at Hillside Spring, Pavilion Spring, and Black Sulphur Spring. In addition, Flower Park contains pools of sulphur water and mud which historically had some therapeutic qualities attributed to it. The major bromide springs are Medicine Spring and Bromide Spring, both of which are located in the same pavilion in the western portion of the park and, appropriately enough, rise from the base of Bromide Hill.

Unlike Hot Springs National Park, in Arkansas, which in the past maintained facilities for various mineral-water therapies, Platt National Park has no publicly owned bathhouse.

The National Park Service makes available and maintains the various springs for all visitors but, though indicating their mineral composition, makes no claims about their medicinal or therapeutic values. Travertine Creek is the focus of Platt National Park from its source at Buffalo and Antelope springs to its juncture with Rock Creek near the center of the park. Since its only source of water is the springs, periods of prolonged drought which dry the springs also result in an absence of stream flow.

Such occurrences are infrequent and temporary, however, and most of the time the stream enhances the natural setting of the forest east of the Nature Center and provides many fine picnic sites and wading pools along the remainder of its course.

A unique feature of this stream is its ability to form an unusual rock called travertine, from which the stream gets its name. The water of the stream is so highly charged with dissolved calcium carbonate that upon exposure to the atmosphere much of the mineral will precipitate to form a buff-colored deposit.

Large accumulations form a porous travertine rock. Plant leaves and branches along the stream may be covered with a film of travertine dust that is precipitated from wind-blown spray.Every one of us is sustained by various kinds of natural resources — such as food, materials, and energy that are harvested or otherwise extracted from the environment. Our need for those resources is absolute — we cannot survive without them.

Moreover, the same is true of all other species — every organism is a component of an ecosystem that provides the means of subsistence. Collectively, the needs and activities of people comprise a human economy.

That economy operates at various scales, ranging from an individual person, to a family, to communities such as towns and cities, nation-states such as Canadaand ultimately the global human enterprise. While an enormous and rapidly growing number of people are supported by the global economy, a lot of environmental damage is also being caused. The most important of the damages are the depletion of vital natural resources, various kinds of pollution including climate changeand widespread destruction of natural habitats to the extent that the survival of many of the natural ecosystems and species of Earth are at grave risk.

These issues are of vital importance to all people, and to all life on the planet. Their subject matter provides the context for a wide-ranging field of knowledge called environmental studies, an extremely broad field of knowledge that examines the scientific, social, and cultural aspects of environmental issues.

As such, the subject matter of environmental studies engages all forms of understanding that are relevant to identifying, understanding, and resolving environmental problems. Within that context, environmental science examines the science-related implications of environmental issues this is explained in more detail in the following section. The subject matter of environmental science is the focus of this book. Issues related to environmental problems are extremely diverse and they interact in myriad ways.

Despite this complexity, environmental issues can be studied by aggregating them into three broad categories:. These are extremely big issues — their sustainable resolution poses great challenges to people and their economy at all scales.

Nevertheless, it is important to understand that the study of environmental issues should not be regarded as being a gloomy task of understanding awful problems — rather, the major goal is to identify problems and find practical ways to repair them and prevent others from occurring. These are worthwhile and necessary actions that represent real progress towards an ecologically sustainable economy.

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As such, people who understand and work towards the resolution of environmental problems can achieve high levels of satisfaction with their contribution, which is something that helps to make life worth living.

Typical questions that might be examined in environmental science include the following:. Image 1. Planet Earth. Earth is the third closest planet to the Sun, and it is the only place in the universe that is definitely known to sustain life and ecosystems. Other than sunlight, the natural resources needed to sustain the human economy are restricted to the limited amounts that can be extracted on Earth.

This image of the Western Hemisphere was taken from a distance of thousand km from the surface of Earth. Source: R. El Saleous, and M. Specialists examining these and other questions related to environmental issues may come from many specific areas of study, each of which is referred to as a discipline.

However, the various ways of understanding each issue may be integrated into comprehensive studies of the subject matter — this is why environmental studies is referred to as interdisciplinary field. For environmental science, the most relevant of the disciplinary subjects are atmospheric science, biology, chemistry, computer science, ecology, geography, geology, mathematics, medical science, oceanography, physics, and statistics.

This is illustrated in Figure 1. Figure 1.Suzanne, United Kingdom Custom Booking, March 2015 Trip was really well organised. Martin Icehotel Winter Adventure, February 2015 One of the most amazing trips I've ever done and one of the best in regards of organization. Marilyn McGrath, Canada Iceland Full Circle, February 2015 I was extremely happy with the entire experience.

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Environment and Ecology Lecture 1 - Basics of Ecology

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chapter one environment and ecology

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William, United States Nordic Odyssey, July 2014 We were very pleased with the quality and location of our accommodations. Annemarie, Switzerland The Classic Fjords Route, July 2014 I travel a great deal, all over the world (4-5 times abroad per year for holidays).Psychologically, going to a separate signup page is a barrier. The modal window also has the benefit of decreasing distractions on the signup page, as it shades out all content other than the form itself.

This reduces the risk that your visitor will become distracted by another link or something else on the page and abandon your signup form before completing it. Why not include a free ebook or whitepaper for subscribers. Or a phone or email consultation. People like to get things for free. Tap into that same psychological drive by offering an incentive to your customers.

This can be a great way to get customers for a product or service that might be unproven. Great and very practical post, thank you. However, there are 2 schools of thoughts on this: 1) Personalize your email messages to create rapport and trust with your subscribers, makes it feel like a friend talking to you.

And you can avoid the weird situations where the subscribers wrote their name wrongly and now they keep seeing it. Simplifying the sign up form works like charm. Even though I have heard that pop up forms work great, I am still hesitating in using them. Gotta try that one out. I think the most important thing to understand is that website visitors will never look for something so never make the assumption that someone will look for your sign up form. Simplicity and visibility are the most important things to consider.

Although most of them are kinda obvious. Number 5 (incentive) might not be possible to everybody. It would be wrong to call them pop-ups. By definition, pop ups open as separate windows and are less effective than using a new page itself for signup. Why has KISSmetrics chosen not to follow the above mentioned rule of Sign up themselves.

Since you sell a funnel-service I suppose you also test your own site and made it this way by a reason. If you want to avoid the pop-up, something that helped us (kickofflabs. This way, signing up is a quick option as soon as the user decides they are willing to give us a shot. These practices should be done in a smart way which entice users to stick to your website and keep them engaged with your brand.

Georges FallahThanks Cameron, nice article. Pop up windows gets you a negative remarks sometimes.

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