Ecology is the study of the relationship of between organisms and their environment, including both the living and nonliving compounds. Some of the ecological concepts include succession, energy flow between trophic levels, limiting factors, and carrying capacity. First, succession is a change in species structure of an ecological community over time. Over time species in the community become more and more abundant and may not be present at all one day. Also, sometimes new species might invade the community from nearby ecosystem.
Ecologic successions occur as a result of drastic change in the environment or species inability to reproduce or grow in a particular environment. There are two types of successions primary and secondary. Primary succession is when an area that was not occupied previously is occupied by a new community. Secondary succession starts where natural vegetation is disrupted by humans, animals, or natural forces. Examples of ecological succession are fires, wind storms, floods, earthquakes, tornados, and forest fires. Energy flow between trophic levels is another ecological concept.
Trophic levels are the feeding position in a food chain. This food chain involves primary producers, herbivores, primary carnivores, and more. Plants are producers and in the first trophic level, herbivores form the second level, and carnivores from third and fourth trophic levels. As only small amount of energy is transferred to the higher level there are fewer organisms in higher levels. Limiting factors is the third ecological concept. Limiting factors limit populations from growing any larger than they already are.
There are two types of limiting factors Abiotic and biotic. Abiotic factors are nonliving components that affect living organisms and biotic factors are living components. For example 50 foxes can live in an environment that has enough food, water, and space for 60 foxes, but no more than 60 foxes could live there. Lastly, carrying capacity is one the ecological concepts and is the population size of the species one environment can support. Food, water, habitat, and space are the factors that affect carrying capacity.
For xample environment could have enough water for the community but not have enough space or food. Best example of carrying capacity is predator-prey relationship. For example in the Isle Royale National Park moose would overgraze the vegetation if wolves did not eat them, and without moose wolves would starve. Overall, these ecological concepts help up understand relationships between one species to another and to the environment they all live in. Also these concepts show how might changes in the environment affect species that live in it.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 4 January 2017
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