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Ecological Succession Essay

Ecology is the scientific study of interactions among organisms and their environment. In relation to The Lion King, ecology is the circle of life. Ecological succession can change a community by making exponential changes to the ecosystem over time, symbiotic relationships are important in maintaining a stable ecosystem because they provide competition, parasitism, mutualism, and commensalism to have balanced populations, and the impact of a change in the food web would be drastic to the ecosystem because one change can and will alter the life of every animal in the ecosystem. Ecological Succession is predictable changes over time. Ecological succession relates to ecology because they both are a form of change in an ecosystem, species, or organism. Ecological succession can change a community by making exponential changes to the ecosystem over time. An example of ecological succession in The Lion King is when Scar, a lion, takes command of Pride Rock, an ecosystem, and lets the hyenas take over the land and climb to the top of the food chain over time.

This movie example is different than a real life situation because hyenas would most likely not be able to take over a population of lion’s spot on the food chain. Ecological succession changed the community in this movie example by rearranging the order of the food chain. Another example of ecological succession in The Lion King is when the pride land’s ecosystems were destroyed by fire and other harmful elements, the initiation of secondary succession took place. This example of ecological succession from The Lion King is the same as a real life situation because during secondary succession, an ecosystem has been destroyed and gradually regains its former appearance and function, which was shown in the movie. Ecological succession changed the community in this movie example by creating a brand new ecosystem due to secondary succession. An example of ecological succession in real life is when the island of Krakatoa, an undeveloped land mass, exploded.

On the same site a new island, a volcanic cone, was born. This event is an example of primary succession, another form of ecological succession. The ecological succession on the island of Krakatoa changed the community by creating growth and life. The real world Krakatoa example of ecological succession is related to both movie examples because all three situations included different forms of ecological succession. A symbiotic relationship is an ongoing relationship between two species who live closely together. Symbiotic relationships are related to ecology because they are interactions between organisms and species, which is similar to the definition of ecology. Symbiotic relationships are important in maintaining a stable ecosystem because they provide competition, parasitism, mutualism, and commensalism to have balanced, healthy, and interactive populations. An example of a symbiotic relationship in The Lion King is the relationship between Scar, a lion, and the hyena population.

The Scar and the hyenas are symbiotic because they have a commensalism relationship; where one benefits (hyenas) and the other is neither helped or harmed (Scar). The hyenas benefit in this relationship because their trophic level is raised on the food chain; Scar is neither helped nor harmed because he was not affected by the change in the food chain. The symbiotic relationship between Scar and the hyenas is important in maintaining a stable ecosystem so the lion population doesn’t receive total dominancy. This example of symbiosis from The Lion King is different from real life because hyenas are an energy source for lions, so lions wouldn’t allow their food source to be on the same trophic level as them. This would be predation in real life. Another example of a symbiotic relationship in The Lion King is the relationship between Timon, a meerkat, and Pumbaa, a warthog. Timon and Pumbaa’s symbiosis is mutualism because both benefit from each other’s company and energy source findings.

The movie example of a meerkat/warthog symbiotic relationship is important in maintaining a stable ecosystem because they share the same food source and are on the same trophic level. This movie example of symbiosis is different from real life because meerkats and warthogs are not closely related in the wild. A symbiotic relationship in real life would be the relationship between dogs and ticks, a symbiosis of parasitism. This real life relationship is important in maintaining a stable ecosystem because the parasitism symbiosis allows an organism to feed off of another. This real life example of a symbiotic relationship is different than The Lion King examples because it is a common symbiosis, unlike the unrealistic movie representations. A food web is a network of complex interactions that link all of the food chains in an ecosystem together. Food webs are related to ecology because they represent the interactions between species to obtain energy. The impact of a change in the food web be drastic to the ecosystem because one change can and will alter every animal’s life in the ecosystem.

The food web of the ecosystem of The Lion King would start with the first trophic level; primary producers. The producers include grass, trees, and fruit. Following the first trophic level is the second trophic level, which includes herbivores, who are primary consumers. The herbivores/primary consumers include zebras, beetles, and red-billed hornbills. Following the second trophic level is the third trophic level, which includes omnivores and carnivores, who are secondary consumers. The carnivores/omnivores/secondary consumers include meerkats, warthogs, and hyenas. Following the third trophic level is the fourth trophic level, which includes carnivores, who are tertiary consumers. The only carnivore/tertiary consumer is the lion population. The impact of a change in this food web would be exponential because eery organism would be affected either negatively or positively by it. This example of a food web from The Lion King is the same as a real life food web because it has the same characteristics and species that a food web would have in Africa. An example of a real life food web is one of a forest.

The food web of a real life forest would start at the first trophic level; primary producers. The primary producers include trees and shrubs. Following the first trophic level is the second trophic level, which includes herbivores, who are primary consumers. The herbivores/primary consumers include deer, squirrels, crickets, and rabbits. Following the second trophic level is the third trophic level which includes omnivores and carnivores, who are second level consumers. The omnivores/carnivores/secondary consumers include cardinals, mice, fox, owls, and spiders. Following the third trophic level is the fourth trophic level which includes carnivores, who are tertiary consumers. The only carnivore/tertiary consumer in this food web is the eagle population.

The impact of a change in this food web to the ecosystem would be drastic, because again, every organism would be affected by it. This real life food web is similar to The Lion King food web because they each have the same amount of trophic levels. Ecological succession can change a community by making exponential changes to the ecosystem over time, symbiotic relationships are important in maintaining a stable ecosystem because they provide competition, parasitism, mutualism, and commensalism to have balanced populations, and the impact of a change in the food web would be drastic to the ecosystem because one change can and will alter every animal’s life in the ecosystem. The movie The Lion King had great examples of ecology because the various characters and species interacted with each other and their environment uniquely and distinctly. It’s the circle of life, after all.

Sources

Simon Winchester. Krakatoa. Perennial. New York, NY. 2004. Pp.351-355 W.G. Moore. A Dictionary of Geography. Penguin. Middlesex, England. 1965


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