Introduction to Ecosystems

Introduction to Ecosystems

z APES 1.1 Introduction to Ecosystems z The Niche Describes an organisms use of resources and functional role in a community.

Includes: Habitat Food eaten

Reproduction (how and when) Interactions with other organisms Example: A large part of a spiders niche is to prey on food that is caught in its web. z The Niche

The Niche can be affected by an organisms tolerance Its ability to survive and reproduce under changing environmental conditions. Specialist: very restricted tolerance range Ex: Giant Panda, Koala

Generalist: Wide tolerance range, can live in a wide variety of places with a wide variety of resources Ex. Rat, mouse, cockroach z The Nice Organisms with similar roles in the environment compete when they

seek the same limited resources. Competitive Exclusion can occur in rare cases when one species can entirely exclude another from using the resources. z Fundamental Niche: When a species fulfills all

its roles and uses all of the resources possible. Realized Nice: Resources and roles fulfilled by a species competing with other species (adjusted) The Niche z z

The Niche Resource Partitioning: When species divide (partition) the resource they use in common by specializing in different ways. Ex: One bird may eat in the morning while one eats at night. Or, types of food they eat from the same resource. z

z Species Interactions Competition When organisms of the same or different species attempt to use a limited resource in the same place at the same time. Ex: Lions and hyenas compete for the same prey such as zebras

Ram Fight z Species Interactions Predation One organism (the predator) captures and feeds on another organism (the prey)

z Species Interaction Predation can cause cycles in predatory and prey population sizes. Why? z Species Interactions Predation & Evolution

Likewise, individuals predators that are better at hunting will likely be more successful than less skilled hunters so natural selection leads to evolution of characteristics that enable predators to be better hunters Prey that are better at defending themselves will be more successful and pass these traits onto their offspring. z Species Interactions Symbiosis

A close relationship between two different species. Parasitism Mutualism commensalism

z Species Interactions Parasitism One organism benefits at the expense of another the other is harmed z Species Interactions

Mutualism Both organisms benefit from the relationship z Species Interactions Commensalism One organism is benefiting and the other is neither harmed nor


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