Ecology, Biology tutorial

Introduction:

The existence of any living organism is based on the affect of the external environment. The external environment gives the organism with its necessity for life that is, water, food, shelter, and so on. Living organisms, thus, interact with one other and the external atmosphere.

Ecology, thus, is the study of the relationship among living organisms and their atmosphere. In other words, this is the study of the interactions of biotic (animals and plants) with their abiotic (physical or non-living) environment. Two features of ecology are recognized, such are:

a) Auto Ecology: It mainly deals with the study of a single individual.

b) Synecology: It is the study of a group of organism example: animals and plants which take place altogether.

Fundamental concepts and Principles in Ecology

Ecosystem:

Ecosystem is a region comprised of a community of organisms interacting by the biotic and abiotic components of the atmosphere. Illustrations of ecosystem range from very small, for instance, a rock pool to the very big rivers, lakes, grass-lands, deserts and so on. The whole earth could be regarded as a big ecosystem in which there are some communities with quite a few levels of interaction. Certain factors influence an organism in any ecosystem.

These are abiotic and biotic factors.

Community:

This is a naturally occurring group of organisms living in a territory with all population interacting with one other. Visualize this: A rock pool habitat having snail, algae, pistia, worms and crabs, comprise a community.

Population:

This signifies to individuals of similar species irrespective of sex, age in a defined region at similar time. For illustration, the net number of lions in Yankari game reserve forms the population of lions in that particular reserve.

Species:

Organisms are stated to belong to the similar species if such individuals are able of interbreeding and generate viable offspring example: species of goats, species of dogs and so on.

Habitat:

The habitat of an organism is the area where it lives. It is the physical part of the surface of earth like land, water, air, ocean and soil. There are a number of habitats in the ecosystem. These are:

a) Terrestrial or land habitat

b) Aquatic habitat either

  • Fresh water habitats example: rivers, streams, pond and lakes.
  • Marine habitats example: salt water lakes, estuaries, oceans and seas

c) Arboreal habitat for organisms living on and in trees.

d) Soil (that is, Edaphic) habitat for the soil organisms.

e) Microhabitats: These are particular localized regions in the habitats where organisms live example: the base of a log, a hole in a tree and the underneath of a leaf. These localized regions are characterized by their microclimates.

Factors which influences Organisms in an Ecosystem:

Factors that influence the life of an organism in an ecosystem are:

1) Abiotic factors: These are as well termed to as physical factors and comprise the climatic factors of water, temperature, rainfall humidity, light, wind, and edaphic factors which is associated to the nature of the soil particles.

a) Climatic factors - These are factors brought about by modifications in the climate or weather like rainfall, temperature, relative humidity (RH), light intensity & duration, wind speed and direction. Climatic factors found out the kind of vegetation zones like forests, tundra, deserts and so on.

b) Edaphic (or soil) factors: These factors are associated to the nature of the soil particles, mineral and humus content of the soil and the depth of water table from the surface of soil. Edaphic factors find out the kind of vegetation which a specific habitat will support. The kind of vegetation will in turn find out the kinds of animals which the habitat will support.

2) Biotic factor: The factors due to the affect of other living organisms are termed to as the biotic factors. These factors are coming from the influence of man, interactions with other organisms like predation and competition.

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