ENV 1003 Lecture

ENV 1003 Lecture: Fundamentals of Ecology (9009)
Total Points: 8
Due date: Before or on 10/17/2018

Physical environment
1. Weather is a short-term state that includes many pheromones, such as temperature, humidity, precipitation, wind…etc. at a specific place or time, whereas Climate consists of a long-term average pattern of weather. Microclimate is a set of atmospheres that has a different condition than its surrounding areas. The most important one for individual organisms is microclimate, because, for example, a park will have much cooler temperature than its surrounding area because the plants and trees are going to absorb the majority of the heat.
2. The amount of rainfall and the composition of vegetation differ greatly on the opposite sides of a mountain range because of the orographic effect. When the cool air flows into the windward side, it will reach the dew point and leads to precipitation. Therefore, after the precipitation ended, there will be a rainfall which fertile the plants. After the cool air flows over and down to the leeward side, it will become a warm, dry air, which pulls moisture from the surface

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3. Estuary is the transition zone between saltwater and freshwater (between river and sea). If estuary zone is horizontal, the lowest salinity is at the river mouth, and the highest salinity is at the seaside. If estuary zone is vertical, saltwater will be denser than the freshwater and can be mixed by winds and currents. The importance of the estuary ecosystem is it allows some organism to reproduce themselves. For example, Salmon needs to reproduce in the river, and live in the ocean when they grow up.

4. Three ecological zones within a rocky shore are intertidal zone, estuaries, and mangrove ecosystem. Firstly, The intertidal zone is a marine shoreline that exposes to air at low tide, and cover with seawater in high tide. The intertidal zone includes many different species like rockweed, limpets, snail, hermit crabs…etc. Since intertidal animals only feed when they are submerged, when low tide occurs, starvation will become a big problem. Secondly, Estuaries is a transition zone between freshwater and saltwater. Species like Salmon and Oyster needs this transition to adapt their species. For example, Salmon needs to reproduce in the river, and live in the ocean when they grow up. Finally, the mangrove ecosystem is a tidal swamp ecosystem. It contains mangroves trees that are well-adapted to live in the saline and brackish environment. When it is high tide, their roots allow them to absorb oxygen by growing their root on the water surface. Also, they have a complex filtration system to filter the salt in the water as well.

5. Mangrove trees are usually found in the intertidal zones of coastlines. They have a well-adapted to live in the salty and brackish environment. They filter saltwater twice-daily inundation due to changing tides. Furthermore, they have a complex root system that can extend above or below the water line and stabilize themselves and prevent erosion to the coastline.

6. The tropical rain forest has a rainfall of 200-400 cm annually with relatively constant rainfall. They are rich in the growth of moss, fern, and orchids. The dry tropical forest has a rainfall of 150-200 cm annually with a greater seasonality in precipitation in dry and wet periods. During the dry season, drought-deciduous plants drop their leaves. During the wet season, the plants will turn into green.

7. Savanna has a much difference with desert. Although they are somewhat similar, it can only be considered as a transition land between woodland and desert. Savanna has a range of vegetation types in the drier tropics and subtropics. It contains a ground cover of grasses with shrubs and trees, which means it has seasonal precipitation with an average of 30-40 cm annually and it has an average temperature of 24-29 Celsius. The unique characteristic of the desert region is it lacks precipitation with less than 30 cm per year. In the desert, it has a temperature in Max.: greater than 50 Celsius, and Min. less than 30 Celsius. Compare to Savanna; desert does not have many blades of grass or trees but only a few cacti.

Evolution and Adaptation
8. Lizards have an adaption called camouflage. Camouflage is a type of coloration trait that helps animals to hide from its predator or catch preys. Camouflage relates to natural selection by maintaining and increasing the fitness of the organism under its set of environments. For Example, peppered moth requires darker coloration to camouflage because of the industrial pollution that darkened tree trunks. Since the predators are able to spot the lighter colored moth more easily, the well-camouflaged (darker moth) are more likely to survive and reproduce due to the environment changing.


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