Questions tagged [ecology]

Interactions and relationships among organisms and their environment. This includes biotic and abiotic (non-living/environmental) factors that impact organisms.

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26
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7answers
5k views

What prevents predator overpopulation?

I've often heard that a population, human or otherwise, will continue to grow as long as there is food available (assuming nothing else is killing them off). It makes sense: if you have food you can ...
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2answers
855 views

Smallest viable reproducing population

What is the smallest viable reproducing population, such as in a human population. By viable I mean a population which keeps genetic defects low (enough). A very strongly related question: what is ...
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1answer
652 views

Body size, what are the evolutionary trade-offs?

Background Considering just the "Kingdom Animalia" branch of organisms. It is clear that bigger does not necessarily mean better - there is large variation in body size... From the 94 µm long ...
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1answer
658 views

Parasitism and mimicry

I was reading this article which states this: Classical Batesian mimicry, in which an undefended mimic evolves to look like a toxic model, is a parasitic relationship in which the mimic gains ...
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2answers
7k views

How does ecology differ from biology?

What precisely is ecology? How does it differ from biology? Because I never studied biology after high school, please explain as if I were 10 years old. I only know that ecology is a subset of biology ...
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3answers
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Is there a hypothesis that attempts to explain patterns of species richness along all three energy-related environmental gradients?

My question is related to one of the oldest question in ecology: "What determines global patterns of species richness?". However, I want to focus on one particular part of this question, which has ...
7
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1answer
554 views

Effects of selection on effective population size

Background The effective population size ($N_e$) is a central concept of evolutionary biology and is influenced by several parameters. For example: sex ratio bias affects $N_e$ $\left(N_e = \frac{...
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2answers
8k views

How will rising carbon dioxide levels in the troposphere affect photosynthetic producers?

Much discussion has been had about the affects of climate change on plantlife, but how will rising carbon dioxide concentrations affect the photosynthetic process itself? Since CO₂ is a reagent in ...
5
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2answers
116 views

References concerning the relative population sizes of predator and prey

In an ecosystem, say there are two species in a predator-prey relationship. What is the most typical ratio of these species' population densities? For instance, it could be that for every fox, there ...
13
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2answers
845 views

What is Growing on These Tree Leaves? (Image)

I found a seemingly diseased tree when I was out playing tennis yesterday... What is growing on this tree leaf? Is this a disease? If so, is it contagious? I have zero knowledge in botany, but I'm ...
19
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3answers
253 views

Where can I find historical data on world-wide ecology parameters?

I hope this is the right StackExchange forum for such a question. I'm looking for large data sets on world-wide ecology parameters, such as annual temperatures by latitude, annual rainfall, CO₂ and O₂...
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2answers
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Does rainwater contain many fewer micro-organisms than river water?

From watching many documentaries on micro-organisms, I can tell water typically contains quite a lot of them. But what about rainwater? (before it hits the ground). I know nothing about any micro-...
15
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1answer
749 views

Do invasive species cause long-term damage to ecosystems they invade?

Growing up in the U.S., I was warned at various times of the dire consequences of a variety of introduced pests (usually insects). Japanese beetles, gypsy moths, and most recently the brown ...
14
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4answers
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When are population dynamics models useful?

When are population dynamics models useful? There seems to have been a lot of research about it, but how does it help? If I need data about how a population will evolve under what conditions, I need ...
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4answers
1k views

Why are the fertility rates of large predators kept low?

Predators at the top of a food chain, like lions, seem to have a relatively low fertility rate, which fits well to the ecosystem and avoids overpredation. But what is the mechanism that keeps the ...
4
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2answers
94 views

Interspecies competition and pathogen

Following my answer to this question, a debate ensued on whether the loss in population of one species (namely red squirrels) due to its lesser resistance to a pathogen brought by a competing species (...
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1answer
415 views

How to compare diversity between different ecosystems?

I've used the Shannon Wiener Diversity Index for a single ecosystem (species as categorical variables). Do you know any alternative indices, especially ones that compare diversity between different ...
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1answer
288 views

How to determine the relationship of competition or cooperation?

I am currently studying the interaction of Twitter memes (two or many), such as competition and cooperation. Is there any model or method in biology that can identify the types of the relationship, ...
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2answers
252 views

Can galls be formed from mutualistic relationships?

According to Wikipedia, galls (cecidia) are formed by parasitic insects and mites like gall wasps (Neuroterus albipes). At some metamorphic stage, these organisms alter cell division processes in ...
2
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1answer
405 views

Is apparent competition a suitable term in situations where one species is not negatively affected?

When two prey (or resource) species share a common predator (consumer), they can be in apparent competition. An increase in one prey species can increase the common predator density, which negatively ...
14
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2answers
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Can humans transdermally absorb minerals from ocean water, and if so how much?

According to several studies quoted here, chemicals can be absorbed by the skin transdermally, at least under certain conditions. When it comes to elements in seawater like sodium, magnesium, ...
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1answer
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Does the cell internal temperature changes in response to a change in external temperature?

Background Some species are homeotherm (internal temperature is not affected by a change in external temperature) and some are poikilotherm (internal temperature changes in response to external ...
10
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2answers
938 views

How did zootoxins evolve?

I've always wondered how toxins in certain organisms have evolved. Particularly, organisms that produce toxins as a deterrent to predators as opposed to organisms that use it to paralyze their prey. ...
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3answers
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Recommendation of Ecology books

What are some of the standard books to study : Biological Interactions: Symbiosis, Mutualism...etc Concept of Limiting factors Niche concept Resource partitioning Concepts of community change ...
7
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1answer
863 views

What are the branches of system ecology?

What are the branches of system ecology that scientists research in nowadays? Or what can system ecology can applied to, or be used? I have read its Wikipedia page, but sadly it doesn't answer my ...
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1answer
211 views

Does an old growth forest ecosystem produce more oxygen than it consumes?

I would like to consider an old growth forest ecosystem such as a large part of the Amazonian forest. It is common to refer to such beautiful forests as a source of oxygen for the world. For example, ...
5
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1answer
364 views

History: Do evolutionary and ecological processes occur at the same timescales?

Classically, it was thought that evolutionary processes occurred at a much slower pace than demographic/ecological processes. Nobody, ever thought about incorporating both processes into the same ...
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1answer
186 views

Does gross production (P) and biomass (B) mean the same?

From fundamentals of ecology, Odum 2005: ... autogenic succession usually begins with an unbalanced community metabolism, where gross production, P, is either greater than or less than community ...
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2answers
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What is the mechanism behind plants losing their leaves? [duplicate]

Do plants that lose their leaves (i.e., deciduous plants) do so because of external conditions (e.g., drought, cold), or because of an internal process? Another way of looking at it: if you take a ...
6
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1answer
183 views

Are there any animals that gradually approaches the predator to search for food?

I was wondering if there is an animal (or insect, bird, etc.) that eventually comes close to its predator to search for food, but only does so if it couldn't find food in the environment it is in. So ...
6
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1answer
557 views

Selection Pressure on Orca Whale Coloration

What is the proposed selection pressure that leads to the distinctive coloration of Orca whales? I can find nothing in the literature.
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2answers
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How do we call a “burst of evolution”?

I have in mind that evolution is not a constant / continuous process and that there are bursts of evolution. Are there terms to refer to the concepts of fast vs slow evolution rates?
4
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1answer
352 views

In a typical model ecosystem, what might the percentage of plants be to top predators and everything inbetween?

I'm not sure if this will be a simple question that is almost a natural law for an ecologist, or a complex serious of assumptions. I vaguely remember from school that only 10% of the energy is ...
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0answers
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Classification of degree of infested areas by pine processionary moth on regions

I'm making a thesis about pine processionary moth distribution on the regions of algeria! i'm making tests about if there are spatial autocorrelation of this insects on the regions. and i'm doing ...
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1answer
522 views

How does Vibrio cholerae benefit from infecting its host?

As far as I know, V. cholerae secretes a toxin called choleragen into the intestinal lumen which affects the intestinal epithelial cells causing release of Na+ and Cl- ions into the lumen and reducing ...
2
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1answer
150 views

How is the Energy Systems Language used in ecology?

Is the Energy Systems Language useful in systems ecology? It is developed by Howard T. Odum, "the father of system ecology", to make analogies between ecological systems and electronic circuits. But ...
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1answer
515 views

How to define a 'trait' objectively?

I'm coming across an increasing number of papers that use trait-based approaches for risk assessment, like this one . This paper defines a trait as follows: Traits are the physiological, ...