Communities Structure and Dynamics

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1 Communities Structure and Dynamics (Outline) 1. Community & niche. 2. Inter-specific interactions with examples. 3. The trophic structure of a community 4. Food chain: primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary. 5. Biomass, food web, and biological magnification. 6. Energy flow and nutrient cycling in ecosystems 7. Bio-geochemcial cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus.

2 Atom The Hierarchical Structural Organization of Life Molecules Organelle Cell Tissue Anatomy & Physiology Organ Organ system Organism Population Structure & Dynamics Ecology Interactions of living organisms with their surrounding environment Community Ecosystem Bioshpere

3 A Biological community is populations of organisms belonging to different species living close together An ecological niche is the sum of an organism s use of biotic and abiotic resources Inter-specific Interactions Without competition With competition for a limited shared resource when the niches of two different populations overlap

4 Community structure is affected by Inter-specific Interactions 1. Competition 2. Mutualism 3. Predation 4. Herbivory 5. Parasitism

5 Competition happens when the niches of two different populations overlap o Squirrels and black bears competing for acorns Mutualism benefits both partners o Coral reef built by corals and photosynthetic protists

6 Predation benefits the predator but kills the prey Prey adapts using protective strategies Camouflage Mechanical defenses Chemical defenses

7 Herbivory leads to diverse adaptations in plants. Herbivores and plants undergo coevolution A change in one species acts as a new selective force on another

8 Parasites and pathogens live on or in a host from which they obtains nourishment Internal (nematodes and tapeworms) External parasites (mosquitoes and ticks) Pathogens are disease-causing parasites Pathogens can be bacteria, viruses, fungi, or protists

9

10 Trophic structure A pattern of feeding relationships consisting of several different levels A key factor in community dynamics Food chain is a sequence of food transfer up the trophic levels

11 Producers/autotrophs Photosynthetic; support all other trophic levels Plants on land Cyanobacteria and algae in water Consumers/Heterotrophs Primary Secondary Tertiary Quaternary Detritivores and decomposers Derive energy from dead matter and wastes

12 Hawk Trophic level Quaternary Killer whale Snake Tertiary Tuna Mouse Secondary Herring Grasshopper Primary Zooplankton Plant Producers Phytoplankton A terrestrial food chain An aquatic food chain

13 A Food web is a network of interconnecting food chains Quaternary, tertiary, and secondary Tertiary and secondary Secondary and primary Primary Producers (plants)

14 Pollutants in a food chain can lead to biological magnification Concentration of PCBs Herring gull eggs 124 ppm Lake trout 4.83 ppm Smelt 1.04 ppm Zooplankton ppm Phytoplankton ppm

15 Energy flows and chemicals are recycled in the ecosystem through the living communities and the abiotic environment A terrarium as an ecosystem Energy flow Light energy Chemical cycling Chemical energy Heat energy Chemical elements Bacteria and fungi

16 Energy budget of ecosystems Primary production The amount of solar energy converted to chemical energy by producers generating biomass (the amount of living organic material)

17 Primary production of biomass of different ecosystems Open ocean Estuary Algal beds and coral reefs Desert and semidesert scrub Tundra Temperate grassland Cultivated land Boreal forest (taiga) Savanna Temperate deciduous forest Tropical rain forest ,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 Average net primary productivity (g/m 2 /yr)

18 Energy supply limits the length of food chains A pyramid of production shows the cumulative loss of energy transfer in a food chain Tertiary 10 kcal Secondary 100 kcal Primary 1,000 kcal Producers 10,000 kcal 1,000,000 kcal of sunlight

19 The dynamics of energy flow apply to the human population meat is a luxury for humans Trophic level Secondary Human meat-eaters Primary Human vegetarians Cattle Producers Corn Corn

20 Atom The Hierarchical Structural Organization of Life Molecules Organelle Cell Tissue Organ Organ system Organism Population Community Ecosystem Bioshpere

21 Chemical cycling between organic matter and abiotic reservoirs Life also depends on the recycling of chemicals Biogeochemical cycles between organisms and the Earth, can be local or global Decomposers play a central role in biogeochemical cycles 3 Consumers 2 Producers 1 Nutrients available to producers Decomposers 4 Abiotic reservoir Geologic processes

22 The Carbon Cycle Depends on photosynthesis and respiration Carbon is the major ingredient of all organic molecules The return of CO 2 to the atmosphere by respiration closely balances its removal by photosynthesis The carbon cycle is affected by burning wood and fossil fuels

23 Plant fertilizers NPK ratios (%) {15:15:15} Nitrogen Phosphate Potassium {15:30:15} Nitrogen important for green leafy growth Phosphate important for blooming and rooting Potassium important for cold hardiness, fruiting & blooming

24 CO 2 in atmosphere 5 Burning 3 Cellular respiration Photosynthesis 1 Higher-level Plants, algae, cyanobacteria Wood and fossil fuels Primary 2 Decomposers (soil microbes) 4 Wastes; death Detritus Plant litter; death

25 The Nitrogen Cycle Depends on bacteria Nitrogen is an essential component of proteins and nucleic acids Nitrogen has two abiotic reservoirs: air & soil Nitrogen fixation converts N 2 to nitrogen used by plants carried out by some bacteria and cyanobacteria

26 Nitrogen (N 2 ) in atmosphere 8 Plant Animal 6 Assimilation by plants 5 Organic compounds Death; wastes Organic compounds Nitrogen fixation 1 Denitrifiers 3 Nitrates in soil (NO 3 ) Detritus Nitrogen-fixing bacteria in root nodules 4 Nitrifying bacteria Decomposers 7 Decomposition Free-living nitrogen-fixing bacteria and cyanobacteria Ammonium (NH 4+ ) in soil Nitrogen fixation 2

27 The Phosphorus Cycle Depends on the weathering of rock Organisms require phosphorus for nucleic acids, phospholipids, and ATP Plants absorb phosphate ions in the soil and build them into organic compounds Phosphates are returned to the soil by decomposers Phosphate levels in aquatic ecosystems are typically low enough to be a limiting factor

28 6 Uplifting of rock Weathering of rock 3 Runoff Phosphates in rock 1 Plants Animals Phosphates in solution Assimilation 2 Phosphates in soil (inorganic) Detritus 5 Rock Precipitated (solid) phosphates Decomposition 4 Decomposers in soil

29 Endangered Species Habitat destruction Invasive species Overexploitation

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