Ecology 2

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A group of organisms of one species that interbreed and live in the same place at the same time.

Population Dispersion (Clumping, Random, Uniform)

Clumped distribution is the most common type of dispersion found in nature. In clumped distribution, the distance between neighboring individuals is minimized. This type of distribution is found in environments that are characterized by patchy resources. Animals need certain resources to survive, and when these resources become rare during certain parts of the year animals tend to "clump" together around these crucial resources. Individuals might be clustered together in an area due to social factors such as selfish herds and family groups. Organisms that usually serve as prey form clumped distributions in areas where they can hide and detect predators easily. Clumped distribution in species acts as a mechanism against predation as well as an efficient mechanism to trap or corner prey. African wild dogs, Lycaon pictus, use the technique of communal hunting to increase their success rate at catching prey. Studies have shown that larger packs of African wild dogs tend to have a greater number of successful kills. A prime example of clumped distribution due to patchy resources is the wildlife in Africa during the dry season; lions, hyenas, giraffes, elephants, gazelles, and many more animals are clumped by small water sources that are present in the severe dry season.[1] It has also been observed that extinct and threatened species are more likely to be clumped in their distribution on a phylogeny. The reasoning behind this is that they share traits that increase vulnerability to extinction because related taxa are often located within the same broad geographical or habitat types where human-induced threats are concentrated. Using recently developed complete phylogenies for mammalian carnivores and primates it has been shown that the majority of instances threatened species are far from randomly distributed among taxa and phylogenetic clades and display clumped distribution. Less common than clumped distribution, uniform distribution, also known as even distribution, is evenly spaced. Uniform distributions are found in populations in which the distance between neighboring individuals is maximized. The need to maximize the space between individuals generally arises from competition for a resource such as moisture or nutrients, or as a result of direct social interactions between individuals within the population, such as territoriality. For example, penguins often exhibit uniform spacing by aggressively defending their territory among their neighbors. Plants also exhibit uniform distributions, like the creosote bushes in the southwestern region of the United States. Salvia leucophylla is a species in California that naturally grows in uniform spacing. This flower releases chemicals called terpenes which inhibit the growth of other plants around it and results in uniform distribution.[3] This is an example of allelopathy, which is the release of chemicals from plant parts by leaching, root exudation, volatilization, residue decomposition and other processes. Allelopathy can have beneficial, harmful, or neutral effects on surrounding organisms. Some allelochemicals even have selective effects on surrounding organisms; for example, the tree species Leucaena leucocephala exudes a chemical that inhibits the growth of other plants but not those of its own species, and thus can affect the distribution of specific rival species. Allelopathy usually results in uniform distributions, and its potential to suppress weeds is being researched.[4] Farming and agricultural practices often create uniform distribution in areas where it would not previously exist, for example, orange trees growing in rows on a plantation. Random distribution, also known as unpredictable spacing, is the least common form of distribution in nature and occurs when the members of a given species are found in homogeneous environments in which the position of each individual is independent of the other individuals: they neither attract nor repel one another. Random distribution is rare in nature as biotic factors, such as the interactions with neighboring individuals, and abiotic factors, such as climate or soil conditions, generally cause organisms to be either clustered or spread apart.[5] Random distribution usually occurs in habitats where environmental conditions and resources are consistent. This pattern of dispersion is characterized by the lack of any strong social interactions between species.[6] For example; When dandelion seeds are dispersed by wind, random distribution will often occur as the seedlings land in random places determined by uncontrollable factors. Oyster larvae can also travel hundreds of kilometers powered by sea currents, which can result in their random distribution.

Adaptive Radiation

Adaptive radiation is said to have occurred when an adaptive zone that is (or has become) vacant caused the ancestral species to diversify into a variety of related forms within a relatively short period of time. Each of them is adapted to fit to a particular environmental niche.

Counting Techniques- (Mark and Recapture, Quadrants, Counting).

Mark and recapture is a method commonly used in ecology to estimate an animal population’s size. A portion of the population is captured, marked, and released. Later, another portion is captured and the number of marked individuals within the sample is counted. Since the number of marked individuals within the second sample should be proportional to the number of marked individuals in the whole population, an estimate of the total population size can be obtained by dividing the number of marked individuals by the proportion of marked individuals in the second sample. The method is most useful when it is not practical to count all the individuals in the population. Other names for this method, or closely related methods, include capture-recapture, capture-mark-recapture, mark-recapture, sight-resight, mark-release-recapture, multiple systems estimation, band recovery, the Petersen method and the Lincoln method. (Science: dentistry) The four parts of your mouth, that is the upper left, the upper right, the lower left, and the lower right. In microbiology, a colony-forming unit (CFU) is a unit used to estimate the number of viable bacteria or fungal cells in a sample. Viable is defined as the ability to multiply via binary fission under the controlled conditions. Counting with colony-forming units requires culturing the microbes and counts only viable cells, in contrast with microscopic examination which counts all cells, living or dead. The visual appearance of a colony in a cell culture requires significant growth, and when counting colonies it is uncertain if the colony arose from one cell or a group of cells. Expressing results as colony-forming units reflects this uncertainty.

Survivor-ship Curves- Be able to read

A survivorship curve is a graph showing the number or proportion of individuals surviving to each age for a given species or group (e.g. males or females). Survivorship curves can be constructed for a given cohort (a group of individuals of roughly the same age) based on a life table.

Logistic Growth & Exponential Growth

Logistic population growth occurs when the growth rate decreases as the population reaches carrying capacity. Carrying capacity is the maximum number of individuals in a population that the environment can support. Biological exponential growth is the exponential growth of biological organisms. When the resources availability is unlimited in the habitat, the population of an organism living in the habitat grows in an exponential or geometric fashion.

r-selected opportunistic & k-selected (equilibrial)

As the name implies, r-selected species are those that place an emphasis on a high growth rate, and, typically exploit less-crowded ecological niches, and produce many offspring, each of which has a relatively low probability of surviving to adulthood (i.e., high r, low K). A typical r species is the dandelion Taraxacum genus. In unstable or unpredictable environments, r-selection predominates as the ability to reproduce quickly is crucial. There is little advantage in adaptations that permit successful competition with other organisms, because the environment is likely to change again. Among the traits that are thought to characterize r-selection are high fecundity, small body size, early maturity onset, short generation time, and the ability to disperse offspring widely. Organisms whose life history is subject to r-selection are often referred to as r-strategists or r-selected. Organisms that exhibit r-selected traits can range from bacteria and diatoms, to insects and grasses, to various semelparous cephalopods and mammals, particularly small rodents. By contrast, K-selected species display traits associated with living at densities close to carrying capacity, and typically are strong competitors in such crowded niches that invest more heavily in fewer offspring, each of which has a relatively high probability of surviving to adulthood (i.e., low r, high K). In scientific literature, r-selected species are occasionally referred to as "opportunistic" whereas K-selected species are described as "equilibrium". A typical k reproducer is the orchid, or members of the Orchis genus. In stable or predictable environments, K-selection predominates as the ability to compete successfully for limited resources is crucial and populations of K-selected organisms typically are very constant in number and close to the maximum that the environment can bear (unlike r-selected populations, where population sizes can change much more rapidly). Traits that are thought to be characteristic of K-selection include large body size, long life expectancy, and the production of fewer offspring, which often require extensive parental care until they mature. Organisms whose life history is subject to K-selection are often referred to as K-strategists or K-selected. Organisms with K-selected traits include large organisms such as elephants, humans and whales, but also smaller, long-lived organisms such as Arctic terns.

Be able to read Age Structure diagrams.

age structure Within a population, the number or proportion of individuals in each age group (e.g., in a human population, the number of individuals aged 0-4, 5-14, 15-29, 30-44, 45-59, 60-69, over 70). Knowledge of the age structure of a population is used (with other factors) to calculate future changes in age structure and total population size.

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