Types of Ecology and Food Chain, Food Web and Trophic Level.
Types of Ecology:
Altogether there are six types of ecology. They are population, organismal, community, landscape, global & ecosystem.
It is a sub-field of ecology that deals with the dynamics of species populations and how these populations interact with the environment. It is the study of how the population sizes of species living together in the groups change over time and space. The development of population ecology owes much to demography and actuarial life tables. Population ecology is most important in conservation biology, especially in the development of population viability analysis which makes it possible to predict the long-term probability of a species persisting in a given habitat patch, like as a national park. Although population ecology is a subfield of biology, it provides interesting problems for mathematicians & statisticians who work in population dynamics.
Organismal ecology is the level of ecology which is concerned with groups of individuals of different species.
In community ecology, a community is an assemblage of two or more populations of different species occupying the same geographical areas. Community termed as a variety of uses, in its simplest form it refers to a group of organisms in a specific place & /or time. For eg, "the fish community of lake Ontario before industrialization”. Community ecologists study the interactions between species in communities on many spatial & temporal scales, including the abundance, structure, distribution, demography & interactions between coexisting populations. The primary focus of community ecology is on the interactions between populations as they determined by specific genotypic & phenotypic characteristics. It has its origin in European plants sociology. Modern community ecology examines the patterns such as; variation in species richness, equitability, productivity & food web structure (see community structure); it also examines processes such as; predator-prey population dynamics, succession & community assembly.
Landscape ecology is the study of the ecological effects of spatial patterning of ecosystems. The study of the distribution & abundance of elements within landscapes. Landscape ecology is the science of studying & improving relationships between ecological processes in the environment and particular ecosystems. This is done within a variety of landscape scales, development spatial patterns, & organizational levels of research and policy. As a highly interdisciplinary science in system ecology, landscape ecology integrates biophysical and analytical approaches with humanistic and holistic perspectives across the natural sciences and social sciences. Landscapes are spatially heterogeneous geographic areas characterized by diverse interacting patches or ecosystems, ranging from relatively natural terrestrial and aquatic systems such as forests, grasslands & lakes to human-dominated environments including agricultural & urban settings. The most salient characteristics of landscape ecology are its emphasis on the relationship among pattern, process & scale and its focus on broad-scale ecological and environmental issues. These necessitate the coupling between biophysical and socioeconomic sciences. Key research topics in landscape ecology include ecological flows in landscape mosaics, land use & land cover change, scaling, relating landscape pattern analysis with ecological processes and landscape conservation and sustainability.
Ecology is the study of how organisms interact with each other & their surroundings in a given environment. Ecologists spend their lives in compiling data on ecosystems, giving both the scientific & broader world valuable data on how species are surviving & what is happening to the environment. Although many ecologists choose to specialize in a particular type of ecosystem, like as marine ecology or fresh water ecology, these ecosystems don’t exist in a vacuum. The planet earth is one vast ecosystem in and of itself, & global ecology is the study of how all organisms interact and survive in their planetary environment.
Since the earliest days of scientific study, attempts have been made to observe & report on the flora and fauna of every ecosystem. With 20th and 21st century advances in travel, technology & communication, some field scientists have been able to share gathered data with nearly impossible speed & accuracy. As many governments & influential groups have focused their attention on creating the concept of a global community, many people have begun to think of the planet as one interdependent ecosystem worthy of study. These advances have created a shift in thinking that has contributed to the creation of many highly-funded & lauded centers for global ecology, such as the Carnegie Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University.
Ecosystem ecology is the integrated study of biotic and abiotic components of ecosystems and work and relates this to their components such as chemicals, bedrock, soil, plants, and animals. Ecosystem ecology examines physical and biological structures and examines how these ecosystem characteristics interact with each other. Ultimately, this helps us understand how to maintain high-quality water and economically viable commodity production. A major focus of ecosystem ecology is on functional processes, an ecological mechanism that maintains the structure and services produced by ecosystems. These include primary productivity (production of biomass), decomposition, and trophic interactions.
Consumer and Decomposer:
- They may be higher plants or animals.
- They take the energy or nutrients from a producer.
- They are physically more developed.
- They are lower or smaller organism.
- They supply essential nutritional material to a producer.
- They are not physically well developed.
Food chain and Food Web:
- The transfer of food energy from a source i.e. plants through a series of an organism with repeated process of eating and being eaten is called food chain.
- It is a linear arrangement of organisms showing a transfer of energy.
- Examples: Sun → Zooplankton → Small Fish → Large Fish → Man
- Food web in nature are never isolated but are interconnected with one another and form a sort of interlocking pattern is called food web.
- It is a web-like structure representing the transfer of food energy
→ Grasshopper← Lizard ←
Grass→ Rabbit ← Hawk
→ Mouse← Snake ←
Trophic Level and Food Chain:
Every organism in an ecosystem can be assigned a feeding level called Trophic level. For example, all producers belong to 1st trophic level because all producers utilize the similar energy during the process of photosynthesis.
The transfer of energy from the producers, through the series of organisms with repeated eating and being eaten, is called food chain. For example in the grazing food chain; food chains start from living green plants goes to grazing herbivores and on to carnivores.
E.p., Odum. Fundamentals of Ecology. USA: W.B Saunters Company, n.d.
Jr., Miller G.T. Living in the Environment. Belmont, California, USA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2003.
- Consumer may be higher plants or animals. They take the energy or nutrients from a producer. They are physically more developed.
- Decomposer is lower or smaller organism. They supply essential nutritional material to a producer. They are not physically well developed.
- Community termed as a variety of uses, in its simplest form it refers to a group of organisms in a specific place & /or time.
- Landscape ecology is the study of the ecological effects of spatial patterning of ecosystems. The study of the distribution & abundance of elements within landscapes.
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