Mr. T's Science Scene

Ecology


Ecology is the study of the environment and all that is around us both living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic).

So the planet earth is home to every living thing we are aware of (and many that we are not)!  It is divided up into "bite-sized" areas as depicted below:

Biosphere- the part of the planet, down into the earth and up into the sky, where living thing are found.

          Biome- A LARGE area of the earth that has similar weather (seasons) and a dominant type of vegetation (plants).

                    Ecosystem- The ecosystem is found within the biome and contains all the biotic and abiotic elements/organisms of the area.

                    Environment- Like the ecosystem

                                        Habitat-  The place within the environment where the organisms "live" or need to live

                                        Population:  A group of species (genetically similar organisms) that live in a particular habitat at a specific time

Niche- The partiuclar job/role an organism has in an ecosystem.  That . . . READ MORE


Ecosystems and everything therein!

World Divisions

So the planet earth is home to everything living thing we are aware of (and many that we are not)!  It is divided up into "bite-sized" areas as depicted below:

Biosphere- the part of the planet, down into the earth and up into the sky, where living thing are found.

          Biome- A LARGE area of the earth that has similar weather (seasons) and a dominant type of vegetation (plants).

                    Ecosystem/Environment- The ecosystem is found within the biome and contains all the biotic and abiotic elements/organisms of the area.

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                              Community- All the various populations of living organisms living in the same area.

                                        Population- A group of species (genetically similar organisms) that live in a particular habitat at a specific time

                                                  Species- A group of genetically similar organisms that can produce offspring that can produce offspring. . . READ MORE


Ecosystem Cycles

There are three primary cycles that are found in every ecosystem (biom).  They are the water cycle, the carbon dioxide-oxygen cycle, and the nitrogen cycle.  Each of these cycles moves materials around and through the ecosystem; whether that be water or gases.  The movement of these materials helps to keep an ecosystem/environment healthy and living.

THE WATER CYCLE

The water cycle is probably the best know of the cycles.  Starting with precipitation (water that falls from the sky- rain, snow, sleet, hail, etc.) the water leaves the atmosphere and collects on the Earth (in rivers, streams, puddles, lakes, oceans, ponds, etc.).  As the sun warms the earth evaporation happens and the water returns to the atmosphere.  In addition, the action of plants doing respiration also allows water to leave through the stomates.  This is called transpiration.  As the warm water vapor rises, it cools off and condenses into clouds.  When the condensation reaches a maximum saturation, the cycle moves back to precipitation . . . . READ MORE


Food Chains and Food Webs

Food Chains and Food Webs

One of the biggest relationships of an ecosystem is the food chain.  A food chain is a series of "who eats who".  In other words, a food chain will tell you where the energy of an environment starts, goes, and ends.  Food chains always start with the SUN.  From there the energy goes to a producer (plants) then a primary consumer (herbivore) then a secondary consumer (omnivore or carnivore), and so on.  When the speces at top of the food chain dies, the enegy goes to scavengers and finally decomposers where the left over body parts are decomposed back to their original elements and returned to the ecosystem.

So....  Sun --> Grass --> Deer --> Coyote / Crow --> Fungi and Bacteria

So...   Sun --> Algae --> Minnow --> larger fish --> Bass --> Snake --> Hawk / Possum --> Fungi and Bacteria

So....  Sun --> Gazelle --> Lion / Vulture --> Fungi and Bacteria

The great thing about being at the top of the food chain is that nothing is looking to eat you! . . . . READ MORE


Limiting Factors

Limiting Factors are things in an ecosystem that limit the size a population of organisms grow to.  Limiting factors are very important in maintaining the stability of an ecosystem.  Some examples of limiting factors that are most common are food, space to live, shelter, and water.  Some limiting factors that are not so obvious are access to sunlight, minerals, predators, disease, competition, human actions such as development of housing and roads, minging, clear cutting, pollution, habitat damage, national parks, etc.

In our squirrel activity you established a fake forest of 10 oak trees.  Those trees, depending on size and acorn production, limited how many squirrels could live there (the carrying capacity).  The number of acorns (or food amounts) was the limiting factor.  In the real world, there are many more limiting factors which influence the carrying capacity. . . . . READ MORE