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Flashcards in Ecosystems Deck (22):

Definition of

Habitat - The place where an organism lives
Population- All the organisms of one species in a habitat
Community - Populations of different species in a habitat
Ecosystem - A community and all the abiotic conditions in the area in which it lives


Definition of Abiotic conditions

The non-living features of the ecosystem
Temperature + availability of water


Definition of Biotic conditions

The living features of the ecosystem
Presence of predators + food


Definition of Niche

The role of a species in a habitat


Species and niches

Involves it biotic interactions - what it eats e.g.
It abiotic interactions - the oxygen it breathes in e.g.
Every species has a unique niche - can only be occupied by one species
If two species occupy the same niche one will outcompete the other


Definition of Carrying capacity

The maximum stable population size of a species that a an ecosystem can support - result of abiotic and biotic factors


Interspecific competition

Competition between different species
Results in less resources available to both populations
Results in smaller populations of both
The better adapted population will eventually outcompete the other
Grey Squirrel outcompeting native Red Squirrel


Intraspecific competition

Competition within a species
When resources are plentiful the population increases meaning its competition for food and space
Eventually the resources become limiting and so the population goes into decline
A smaller population means there is less competition for food and space
Better for growth and reproduction so the population grows again


Predator and Prey Cycles

Prey population increases so there is more food for predators
Predator population grows too
Predator population grows increasing predation on prey so the prey population falls
Means there is less food for predators so the population of predators decreases
The predation therefore decreases so the prey population begins to grow
Lag period between changes due to reproduction times


Complication of predator and prey cycles

Other factors involved
Like the availability of food for the prey
Predators may find a new prey


Quadrat random sampling

Non-motile organisms
Draw a grid of area
Find co-ordinates to sample using random generated numbers
Place quadrats at these random co-ordinates
Find species frequency or percentage cover (quick way for species which are hard to quantify - mainly plants)
Repeat in other co-ordinates
Calculate mean abundance in the area


Transect lines random sampling

Belt transect - quadrats placed along transect line, end to end
Work out species frequency or percentage cover
Interrupted belt transect - distance between quadrats along line


Mark-release-Recapture equation

Used for motile species
Capture, count, mark, release, recapture, re-count
Total population size = 1st capture number x 2nd capture number / Number marked in 2nd sample


Mark-release recapture assumptions?

Marked sample has had the opportunity to mix back into the population and is therefore representative
Marking hasn't affected the individual' chance of survival
No change in population size - births, deaths, migration


What is primary succession?

Happens on land that has been newly formed or exposed
No soil or organic material to start with


What is secondary succession?

Land has been cleared of plants but the soil remains


Process of primary succession?

Pioneer species colonise the land surface
Abiotic conditions are hostile - pioneer species are able to survive as they are well adapted
Pioneer species change the environment/ abiotic conditions
Form soil when they die and decompose producing humus
Conditions become less hostile - able to retain water
New species form
Pioneer species are no longer well adapted and so die
Different plants that are better adapted out-compete those that arnt and are more dominant
Ecosystem becomes more complex - biodiversity increases
Climax community forms
Ecosystem is stable


Process of secondary succession?

Pioneer species are larger plants as soil is already there
Different plants that are better adapted out-compete those that arnt and are more dominant
Ecosystem becomes more complex - biodiversity increases
Climax community forms
Ecosystem is stable


What is a plagioclimax?

The community formed when humans stop succession and the actual climax community forming


Conservation through managing succession?

Conservation = the protection and management of ecosystems
Preventing succession in order to preserve an ecosystem in its current stage
Moorland in Scotland that would otherwise have progressed to a climax community of spruce Forest
Mowing lawns regularly
Animals being allowed to graze
Managed fires


Meaning of sustainable?

Meeting the needs of today, without reducing the ability of people in the future to meet their own needs


Methods of conserving a species whilst protecting a habitat for others to live there?

Fishing quotas
Protected areas - national parks and nature reserves
Breeding in captivity then returning to the wild