Habitat: Facts (Science Trek: Idaho Public Television)
Learn about the relationship between habitats and biodiversity; Identify common local Certain species are found only in the arctic tundra and others only in the tropical rainforest. A habitat is the place in which an organism lives, whereas a niche is the role an Many arthropods have intimate relationships with plants. All organisms need to adapt to their habitat to be able to survive. An adaptation is a modification or change in the organism's body or behaviour that helps it to Explore the links given here to know more about habitats and how different plants and animals. Animals in the wild can only live in places they are adapted to. Is the organism involved in any symbiotic relationships? An organism's niche also includes how the organism interacts with They can have very similar niches, which can overlap, but there must be distinct differences between any two When plants and animals are introduced, either intentionally or by.
New species are discovered every day and the roles they play in their environment to keep it healthy. This idea behind the species within the environment using their niches to keep it healthy can clearly be illustrated in a lake ecosystem. In a lake ecosystem, the sun hits the water and helps the algae grow. Algae use carbon dioxide and water to make sugars and oxygen.
The oxygen is useful for any eukaryote organism and the sugars provide food for the algae or anything that eats the algae, such as microscopic organisms. Small fish eat the microscopic animals, absorb oxygen with their gills and expel carbon dioxide, which plants then use to grow.
If the algae disappeared, everything else would be impacted.
- Niches & competition
- Difference Between Habitat and Niche
- Habitat: Facts
Microscopic animals wouldn't have enough food, fish wouldn't have enough oxygen and plants would lose some of the carbon dioxide they need to grow. Soil is also an important part of an ecosystem. It provides important nutrients for the plants in an ecosystem. It helps anchor the plants to keep them in place. Soil absorbs and holds water for plants and animals to use and provides a home for lots of living organisms.
The atmosphere provides oxygen and carbon dioxide for the plants and animals in an ecosystem. The atmosphere is also part of the water cycle.
Without the interactions among organisms and elements in the atmosphere, there would be no life at all. The latter three are living components, what Odum termed the three "functional kingdoms of nature", so important and universal is their presence in ecosystems.
Abiotic Factors[ edit ] An example of organisms that live in the intertidal zone Abiotic factors can increase or decrease the amount of environmental stress on an ecosystem and therefore can also affect the stability of that ecosystem. We studied many of these in detail in Chapter 4. Do not forget that physical essentially geological structure can influence ecological function: The intertidal zone is the shore area that is submerged at high tide and exposed at low tide.
It is rich in oxygen and nutrients and provides a home for many different species. The organisms that live in this area are constantly exposed to a high stress, less stable environment. However, they have adapted to huge daily changes in moisture, temperature, turbulence from the waterand salinity. They have to be used to living in both wet and dry conditions continually.
Water is a very powerful substance and the constant impact from the moving water can have drastic impacts on both living and non-living things. Also, the constant flux of the environmental temperature is enough to make any creature uncomfortable. Since this area is exposed to both water and land, the organisms here must compete with predators that hunt at both areas. A tropical forest on a polynesian island Jungles or rainforests are an example of a low stress, more stable environment that are vital to maintaining the ecosystems of the earth.
Unlike the intertidal zone, this environment has more subtle changes that occur at a much slower rate. It is also a very diverse environment consisting of several layers of organisms using different parts of the ecosystem. As well as increasing biodiversity, jungles are beneficial to increasing our knowledge of medicinal plants and increasing oxygen output. Food Webs[ edit ] A food web is a series of interacting food chains. Food chains show the order in which animals consume food. Food chains and food webs are made up of Producers, Consumers, and Decomposers.
Producers are Autotrophic Organisms. The most conspicuous group of autotrophs are the photolithoautotrophs, organisms such as algae and flowering plants that have cells containing chlorophyll and are thus capable of fixing light energy "photo-" to build complex organic substances from simple inorganic substances "litho-".
In the next chapter we are going to study the energetics of this process; now, we are mostly interested in how producers "create" organic matter utilizing energy and inorganic matter. The organic compounds that are created may be used structurally within the organism or may be latter broken down into inorganic matter and energy extracted by the process.
Consumers are [ Heterotrophic Organisms ], which are also termed macroconsumers. A simple definition of a heterotrophic organism is a species that is dependent on organic matter for food.
Decomposers are heterotrophic organisms. These are also termed microconsumers, saprobes, or saprophytes. Decomposers are scavengers that break down dead plants and animals. Decomposers are vital to the food web because they break down and recycle nutrients back into the soil.
These nutrients are then used by producers to sustain life. Without the enzymes that decomposers provide to breakdown organic material into inorganic material, phosphorous P and nitrogen NProducers would eventually die out and the main part of food webs would cease to exist and therefore life would cease to exist.
Decomposers recycle material but they do not recycle energy. Solar irradiation still provides the energy that drives the life cycle.
Ecology/Ecosystems - Wikibooks, open books for an open world
A foodweb of rainforest organisms Decomposition is a natural process but decomposers speed up the process of decomposition.
Bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes are three main types of decomposers. They can eat anything from dead trees, dead animals and oil slicks on the surface of the ocean.
Fungi and actinomycetes work on harder substances like cellulose, bark, paper and stems. These decomposers usually only work to a certain stage in decomposition then bacteria will finish the process, similar to primary and secondary succession. A study conducted in a California river by Mary Power showed the impact that fish had on the river food wed.
The main fish studied in the experiment were the steelhead and roach, these fish at a juvenile stage consume insects and fish fry, which consume chironomid larvae. These larvae reduce the algae biomass in the river.
She found that when the larger adult fish species were absent, smaller more abundant predators thrived and decrease the chironomid larvae population significantly, which allowed the algae biomass to increase. This results in more cyanobacteria and diatoms to flourish on the algal turfs .
This study showed a good example of how consumers and producers interact, and also showed that when one trophic level is disrupted it has a domino effect on the other trophic levels involved in the food web.
With Food Webs there are a few calculations that we can use to help us better understand the system. Chain Length is essentially the number of links between trophic levels.
But when we calculate this we use the mean length. We can also calculate link density LD. And finally we can calculate Web Connectance C. Food webs do pose some problems for ecological studies. Identifying trophic levels is very difficult in nature. Ecosystem boundaries are also tough to determine. Identifying all of the species in a community can be difficult. Quantifying and identifying the strengths of interactions is hard. In most cases it is very hard to determine what the eliminating nutrients are.
Biological Magnification[ edit ] The focus of this chapter is trophic levels and nutrient transfer between trophic levels and the food webs.
Not all transfers between trophic levels are positive. Biological Magnification is the tendency of pollutants to concentrate in successive trophic levels. The pollutants are usually toxic and cause death to the organism. The first step in Biomagnification is when a producer takes up nutrients in the soil that it stores by accident as an essential nutrient. Producers will try to store massive amounts of nutrients, when "mistaken" nutrients are absorbed, i.
DDT and Mercury, The concentration levels in the producers are greater than the levels in the surrounding environment. When the producer is eaten by the herbivore or omnivore the pollutants are transferred to the next trophic level. Since energy transfer between trophic levels is approximately ten percent, the next chain in the trophic level must try to consume large amounts of the previous trophic level to sustain life and the pollutant, once again, is concentrated in the next trophic level.
The pollutants, once absorbed, are stored in the bodies of the consumers. DDT and PCB's are fat soluble and when one trophic level is consumed by the other the fat moves from one consumer to the next. Water soluble pollutants usually cannot concentrate because they would easily dissolve in the organism. Polluted water leaves an organism rather easily whereas fat does not leave the body. Three main criteria must be met for a pollutant to biomagnify: The pollutant must be long lived.
The pollutant must be concentrated by the producers. The pollutant must be fat-soluble. Guild[ edit ] Species competing for the same resources in similar fashion are known as guilds.
They are classified according to how they acquire their nutrients, their state of mobility, and their mode of feeding. Some examples of guilds are forbsgeophytes, graminoids, shrubs, trees and vines. A guild is much more stable then a single species, since more than one species can balance out the system.
Climate is defined as the average long-term weather patterns of a geographical area. Two of the most important components of climate are temperature and rainfall. For example, arid climates, defined as areas with low annual rainfall, usually result in desert biomes.
Can you list the other biomes that exist on our planet? A habitat is the place in which an organism lives, whereas a niche is the role an organism plays in its environment. The niche of each species differs in some way from the niches of all other species.
An important part of every species' niche is its diet. For example, suppose there are two fly species that make their home in the same type of cactus rot but feed on different foods found in the rot.
Flies of the first species feed on yeasts, whereas flies of the second species feed on other insects. Although these two species share the same habitat, diet differentiates their niches. There may be other differences in their niches as well. Perhaps these species uses the cactus rot at different times. In this case, time and diet would both help differentiate the niches of these two species. What do you know about habitats?
Think about the different habitats that you can find in southern Arizona. On your own or with friends, make a list of five different habitats in southern Arizona. Now pick one of those five habitats from your list and describe five more habitats contained within that single habitat. Think about the habitats of small organisms like reptiles and insects.
Arthropods and Plants Many arthropods have intimate relationships with plants. This is especially true for insects, which are one of the main groups within the Phylum Arthropoda. Herbivorous insects depend on plants for food. In order to minimize the damage done by hungry insects, plants are constantly evolving new defenses to protect themselves from herbivory.
Insects, in turn, are constantly evolving ways to overcome new plant defenses. Besides serving as food, plants also serve as shelter and as places for insects to mate and reproduce. Insects make their homes in just about every plant part imaginable.