Scope of Ecology
Ecology is the study of how organisms with their environments. It gives an idea of distribution and abundance of organisms. Biosphere is the entire portion of the earth which is inhabited by life. The environment of an organism can be divided into two: Abiotic and biotic environment. Abiotic factors include temperature, light, topography, pH, soil and water. Biotic factors include plants and animals. Ecological niche of a species refers to its ‘lifestyle’ – how it lives, what it does, how it interacts with other members of its ecosystem. The habitat is where the species is found.
Energy Flow I: Feeding Relationships
Energy flows through the biosphere in feeding relationships, when autotrophs get energy from the sun and consumers eat other organisms to gain that energy. A food web is the complex interactions of the organisms on Earth. The trophic levels include the producers, autotrophs, and the consumers, heterotrophs.
Energy Flow II: Chemical Cycles
Carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, and water are limited resources which are needed for all life on Earth. Chemical cycles distribute this energy through the biosphere. Carbon is mainly cycled via consumers and plants. Nitrogen is mainly cycled by bacteria in the soil. Water is cycled by the oceans and rain. Phosphorous is cycled by runoff from sediment and rock deposits.