LS 6/Ecology Notes

Ecology Notes

Ecology is the branch of biology that studies the relationship between living organisms and their environment.

An ecosystem is a unit of biotic (living) and abiotic (nonliving) factors that share environmental resources.

The biotic portion of an ecosystem is a community, these living things that interact with each other within the environment.

In every community, animals and plants are part of a food chain.  Ina food chain, energy is transferred from one organism to another. (draw food chain)

A food pyramid/energy pyramid is a diagram that describes how energy is passed from one organism to another. (draw pyramid)

Organisms can be classified according to how they obtain their food. (producer, consumer, decomposer, scavenger)

Plants are the primary producer of food.  They trap energy from the sun and using that, water, carbon dioxide, and nutrients from the soil they make their own food in the process of photosynthesis.

6 H2O + 6CO2 à C6H12O6 +6O2

Animal consumers obtain energy stored in plants by eating plants or other animals that eat plants.  They get the suns energy.

Decomposers cause the “break down” or decay of dead organisms.  The products of decomposition are put back into the soil to be used again by plant producers.

The place where an organism lives is a habitat.

There are 2 major habitats in nature: The aquatic (water) and terrestrial (land)) habitats.

The “job” that an animal/organism performs or has in an ecosystem is its niche.

Predators are organisms that hunt and the organisms that become the food are called prey.

Human beings play a very important role in protecting the biosphere (a narrow zone of the planet’s surface where living things inhabit).

Humans need to understand how changes in the environment can affect the ecological balance that exists in all biomes.

Biomes are groups of ecosystems.