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Ecology Booklet Project
Trey FitzMorris
2rd Period

Interrelationships Among
Organisms In An Ecosystem

Ecosystem – community of living and nonliving things that interact with one another to function as a system

Stable Ecosystem – an ecosystem that is able to maintain its structure and function over a long period of time

Niche – an individual’s place within an ecosystem, or a species location in an ecosystem relative to other species


Predation – one animal killing and eating others to provide themselves with adequate nutrients

Predation is an important relationship between animals. It provides the predator with a source of energy that allows it to exist in that certain ecosystem. Predation also limits the predator and prey relationship because if the prey did not exist the predator could not exist, and if the predator did not exist the population of the prey would be able to become overpopulated.


Competition – individuals of a species fighting each other for a limited amount of resources needed to survive

Competition is an important interspecies interaction, because it limits the size of a population. Animals that do not have a predator do not have to worry about their population being limited by another species. However what the limit lacks in predation it makes up in competition. When individuals of a species do not have enough resources to go around they must compete with one another to obtain these resources. Only the strongest or best fitted individuals will survive and pass on their good traits while to weak animals die before they can reproduce.


Parasitism – relationship between two species where the parasite benefits and the host is weakened

Parasitism is a bad interspecies interaction between organisms. Although it benefits the parasite by providing nutrients, it is extremely harmful to the host. In this picture the mosquito attaches to the human arm and uses its needle like mouth to pierce the skin and withdraw blood through the stout. It provides a source of food for the parasite, however the host is damaged. The host has lost blood that is needed to power its own body. Without a sufficient amount of its nutrients the host body will shut down and the organism will die.


Mutualism – relationship between two species where both the parasite and host benefit

Mutualism is an important interspecies interaction because it benefits both the parasite and the host. In the picture the little sharks are cleaning the belly of the whale, providing them with food. The whale also provides protection for the sharks from other predators due to their ability to hide under the whale’s belly. The sharks benefit the whale by cleaning its belly so it is free of harmful parasites so that the whale is able to stay healthy.


Commensalism – relationship between two organisms where the parasite benefits and the host is unaffected

Commensalism is an important relationship between organisms because it allows parasites to obtain a source of food from another organism that does not hurt the host. The barnacles on the back of the turtle clean the turtle’s shell. The barnacles attach to the back of the shell because they are safe and able to obtain nutrients by cleaning the shell. This does not either benefit the turtle or hurt it, it is unaffected by the barnacles.

Populations Are Affected
By Limiting Factors

Population – the total amount of individuals of a species that are located within a certain ecosystem

Population Density – the concentration of individuals located within a certain area

Density Dependent vs Density Independent

Density Dependent: * How this factor affects a population depends on the size of that population * A rabbit population of 10 is affected differently than a rabbit population of 1000 * Examples: * Competition * Predation * Parasitism * Disease * When a population become too crowded they must compete for a limited amount of resources that limits the population * Predation limits population size due to the loss of individuals through the food chain

Density Independent: * This factor affects all populations in similar ways regardless of size * A rabbit population of 10 is affected the same way as a rabbit population of 1000 * Examples: * Abnormal weather * Natural disasters * Seasonal cycles * Human influence * The monsoon season in India affects all species the same due to a widespread increase in the amount of rain across India * Natural disasters can cause a widespread loss of all populations regardless of size

Biotic vs Abiotic


Biotic: * Mosses have rhizoids instead of roots * Willows have hairs to protect from cold * Polar Bears have special feet to keep toes warm * Hares dig deep holes in ground to keep warm * Caribou have hooves that act as snowshoes

Abiotic: * Strong winds * Little precipitation * Short summer days * Cold summer * Long winters * Cold winters * Poor soil * Permafrost * Rocky environment * Cloudy

How Limiting Factors Affect Population Size

The size of a population is dependent on the amount of resources available to the individuals of that population. With a limited amount of food, water, and shelter available in an ecosystem, organisms are forced to compete with one another for these resources. If an ecosystem becomes overpopulated, individual organisms will begin to starve due to lack of resources. The limited resources in a population allows for an equilibrium where only the organisms best fitted for the environment survive, and the others die. Without limited resources, populations would grow out of control, and any organism would be able to survive. This could be disastrous for a population because if the population got a disease, the organisms would not be able to fight it due to the sedentary life they are used to. However if a population has limited resources, the individuals of that population would be constantly competing for the available resources, causing only the fittest to survive. So if the limited resources population experienced a widespread disease, the individuals of that population would be better equipped to fight it. Limited resources in nature are used to control the population of a species so it does not grow out of control.

Processes Of Succession In Ecosystems

Ecological Succession – the process of an ecosystem undergoing change that affects its organisms causing them to evolve

Primary Succession – the colonization of previously inhabitable ecosystems that occurs over a long period of time

Pioneer Species – species that are first to colonize an ecosystem that has recovered from a destructive natural process

Climax Community – the endpoint of ecological succession characterized by organisms living in a state of equilibrium

Secondary Succession – the recolonization of a thriving ecosystem that was destroyed by a natural process

Primary And Secondary Succession

Primary Succession – the process of a previously uninhabited ecosystem becoming inhabited, such as an area where a volcano becomes extinct and the lava begins to harden and create a rocky basin allowing for pioneer plants to move in and create a thriving ecosystem

The Hawaiian Island chain is an example of primary succession because a few million years ago the islands emerged from the sea as a chain of volcanos in a state of constant eruption. But slowly over time the volcanos became less active and the lava was able to harden and form a rocky basin that allowed for plant life to emerge on the island.

Secondary Succession – the process of a previously inhabited ecosystem that was destroyed by a natural disaster becoming recolonized, such as an area that has been destroyed by a fire but previously had thriving vegetation and a dirt basin that allows for the area to be recolonized

The Imperata Grassland in Indonesia is an example of secondary succession because it is well known as an area that suffered widespread slash and burn that ravaged the land leaving only dirt. Over time the area had time to regrow and undergo reforestation that restored the destroyed land to its previous glory that allowed for it to be recolonized.

The Role Of Organisms Is
The Geochemical Cycles

Organisms such as plants and animals play a huge part in the water, carbon, and nitrogen geochemical cycles. Without these organisms these processes would not be able to occur. In the water cycle, plants release water vapor during the transpiration phase. This water vapor then rises into the sky and begins to condense. Once condensed, the water precipices and falls back down to earth and reabsorbed by plants thus completing the cycle. During the carbon cycle plants use energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide from the air into organic material that then becomes part of the plant. The carbon is then passed from one organism to another through the food chain. This carbon is reabsorbed into the atmosphere through the decomposition of the organic material. In the nitrogen cycle primarily bacteria primarily passed nitrogen to one another. This nitrogen is mostly in the form of ammonium during the cycle. First, bacteria made of nitrogen release ammonia during their life cycles. This ammonia is then transformed into ammonium by the addition of hydrogen ions found in the soil. Some of the ammonium is taken by plants but most is used by bacteria as an energy source. This process is known as nitrification.

Water Cycle

Carbon Cycle

Nitrogen Cycle

Human Activities Affect The
Physical And Chemical Cycles
And Processes Of The Earth

Carrying Capacity – the maximum size of a population that an ecosystem is able to support, carrying capacity is calculated based on the amount of food, water, shelter, and other necessities that organisms of a species require to survive

Sustainability – the ability of the environment to provide sufficient means of resources for its population over a long period of time, sustainability can be obtained by humans by cutting down the amount of pollution, or only using resources that are needed and then recycling these resources so they can be used many times

Technology – using science to create stuff that makes life easier, the invention of the car provided humans with a more efficient mean of transportation, however it also created widespread pollution, the introduction of the assembly line allowed for factories to mass produce products, making them cheaper for consumers, but also creating even more pollution

Renewable Resources – resources that are able to be reused again and again to provide humans with basic necessities, such as wind power, solar power, and hydroelectric power

Non Renewable Resources – resources that once used cannot be used again, such as coal power, oil power, and natural gas power

The Future Of Non Renewable Resources

The United States relies on non renewable high polluting resources such as coal, oil, and natural gas to provide 83 percent of our energy needs. With this high dependency on resources that are both inefficient and extremely dangerous to the environment, change must occur now. This diagram depicts how coal ash left over from after using coal to produce energy directly affects us. Once coal has been burned, the ash left over must be deposited. The ash often ends up in a landfill that does not meet state or federal codes for depositing waste. The ash then seeps into the ground and contaminates our drinking water. The ash also contaminates rivers that can have a drastic effect on the fish population. With dirty water in our bottles and dead fish floating atop the river, it destroys towns.

Works Cited

Hall, Charles. "Ecology." The Encyclopedia of Earth. Boston Univeristy, 26 Oct. 2014. Web. 29 Dec. 2014. <>.

"Ecology Global Network." Ecology Global Network. Ecology Global Network, 16 Nov. 2014. Web. 29 Dec. 2014. <>.

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