An Essay About Invasive Species
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Aquatic Invasive Alien Species (also known as INNS - Invasive Non Native Species)
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Post fire disturbance the tree provides shade due to its dense growth enabling the regrowth of other plant species in the community, This growth prompts the return of invertebrates and microbes which are needed for decomposition. Whitebark pine seeds provide food for grizzly bears. Keystone species have a disproportionate influence on the community than most species. Keystone species tend to be at the higher trophic levels, often being the apex predator. Removal of the keystone species causes top-down trophic cascades. Wolves are keystone species, being an apex predator. In Yellowstone National Park the loss of the wolf population through overhunting resulted in the loss of biodiversity in the community. The wolves had controlled the number of elks in the park, through predation.
Without the wolves the elk population drastically increased, resulting in overgrazing. This negatively affected the other organisms in the park; the increased grazing from the elks removed food sources from other animals present. Wolves have since been reintroduced to return the park community to optimal functioning. See Wolf reintroduction and History of wolves in Yellowstone for more details on this case study.
A marine example of a keystone species is Pisaster ochraceus. This starfish controls the abundance of Mytilus californianus , allowing enough resources for the other species in the community. An ecosystem engineer is a species that maintains, modifies and creates aspects of a community. They cause physical changes to the habitat and alter the resources available to the other organisms present. Dam building beavers are ecological engineers. Through the cutting of trees to form dams they alter the flow of water in a community.
These changes influence the vegetation on the riparian zone , studies show biodiversity is increased. This aids the movement of other organisms in the community such as frogs. Community structure is the composition of the community. It can be measured through species richness , species evenness. These measures help to understand the biodiversity of the community. Holistic theory refers to the idea that a community is defined by the interactions between the organisms in it. All species are interdependent, each playing a vital role in the working of the community. Due to this communities are repeatable and easy to identify, with similar abiotic factors controlling throughout.
Clements developed the holistic or organismic concept of community, as if it was a superorganism or discrete unit, with sharp boundaries. Formation of communities is non-random and involves coevolution. The Holistic theory stems from the greater thinking of Holism ; which refers to a system's with many parts all of which are required for the functioning of the system. Gleason developed the individualistic also known as open or continuum concept of community, with the abundance of a population of a species changing gradually along complex environmental gradients.
Varying environmental conditions and each species' probability of arriving and becoming established along the gradient influence the community composition. Individualistic theory proposes that communities can exist as continuous entities, in addition to the discrete groups referred to in the holistic theory. Hubbell introduced the neutral theory of ecology. Within the community or metacommunity , species are functionally equivalent, and the abundance of a population of a species changes by stochastic demographic processes i. Ecological drift leads to species' populations randomly fluctuating, whilst the overall number of individuals in the community remains constant. When an individual dies, there is an equal chance of each species colonising that plot.
Stochastic changes can cause species within the community to go extinct, however, this can take a long time if there are many individuals of that species. Species can coexist because they are similar, resources and conditions apply a filter to the type of species that are present in the community. Each population has the same adaptive value competitive and dispersal abilities and resources demand. Local and regional composition represent a balance between speciation or dispersal which increase diversity , and random extinctions which decrease diversity.
Species interact in various ways: competition, predation , parasitism , mutualism , commensalism , etc. The organization of a biological community with respect to ecological interactions is referred to as community structure. Species can compete with each other for finite resources. It is considered to be an important limiting factor of population size , biomass and species richness. Many types of competition have been described, but proving the existence of these interactions is a matter of debate. Direct competition has been observed between individuals, populations and species, but there is little evidence that competition has been the driving force in the evolution of large groups. Predation is hunting another species for food. This is a positive-negative interaction, the predator species benefits while the prey species is harmed.
Some predators kill their prey before eating them, also known as kill and consume. For example, a hawk catching and killing a mouse. Other predators are parasites that feed on prey while alive, for example, a vampire bat feeding on a cow. Parasitism can however lead to death of the host organism over time. Another example is the feeding on plants of herbivores , for example, a cow grazing.
Predation may affect the population size of predators and prey and the number of species coexisting in a community. Predation can be specialist, for example the least weasel predates solely on the field vole. Or generalist, e. Species can be solitary or group predators. The advantage of hunting in a group means bigger prey can be taken, however, the food source has to be shared. Wolves are group predators, whilst tigers are solitary. Predation is density dependant , often leading to population cycles. When prey is abundant predator species increases, thus eating more prey species and causing the prey population to decline. Due to lack of food the predator population declines.
Due to lack of predation the prey population increases. See Lotka—Volterra equations for more details on this. A well-known example of this is lynx - hare population cycles seen in the north. Predation can result in coevolution — evolutionary arms race , prey adapts to avoid predator, predator evolves. For example, a prey species develops a toxin that will kill its predator, predator evolves resistance to the toxin making it no longer lethal.
Mutualism is an interaction between species in which both benefit. An example is Rhizobium bacteria growing in nodules on the roots of legumes. This relationship between plant and bacteria is endosymbiotic , the bacteria living on the roots of the legume. The plant provides compounds made during photosynthesis to the bacteria, that can be used as an energy source. Whilst Rhizobium is a nitrogen fixing bacteria, providing amino acids or ammonium to the plant. Insects pollinating the flowers of angiosperms , is another example. Many plants are dependent on pollination from a pollinator.
A pollinator transfers pollen from the male flower to the female's stigma. This fertilises the flower and enables the plant to reproduce. Bees, such as honeybees , are the most commonly known pollinators. Bees get nectar from the plant that they use as an energy source. Un-transferred pollen provides protein for the bee. The plant benefits through fertilisation, whilst the bee is provided with food. Commensalism is a type of relationship among organisms in which one organism benefits while the other organism is neither benefited nor harmed. The organism that benefited is called the commensal while the other organism that is neither benefited nor harmed is called the host.
For example, an epiphytic orchid attached to the tree for support benefits the orchid but neither harms nor benefits the tree. This type of commensalism is called inquilinism , the orchid permanently lives on the tree. Phoresy is another type of commensalism, the commensal uses the host solely for transport. Many mite species rely on another organism, such as birds or mammals, for dispersal. Metabiosis is the final form of commensalism. The commensal relies on the host to prepare an environment suitable for life. For example, Kelp has a root like system, called a holdfast , that attaches it to the seabed. Once rooted it provides molluscs , such as sea snails, with a home that protects them from predation.
The opposite of commensalism is amensalism , an interspecific relationship in which a product of one organism has a negative effect on another organism but the original organism is unaffected. An example is an interaction been tadpoles of the common frog and a freshwater snail. The tadpoles consume large amounts of micro-algae. Making algae less abundant for the snail, the algae available for the snail is also of lower quality.
The tadpole, therefore, has a negative effect on the snail without a gaining noticeable advantage from the snail. The tadpoles would obtain the same amount of food with or without the presence of the snail. An older, taller tree can inhibit the growth of smaller trees. A new sapling growing in the shade of a mature tree will struggle to get light for photosynthesis. The mature tree will also have a well-developed root system, enabling it to outcompete the sapling for nutrients. Growth of the sapling is therefore impeded, often resulting in death.
The relationship between the two trees is amensalism, the mature tree is unaffected by the presence of the smaller one. Parasitism is an interaction in which one organism, the host, is harmed while the other, the parasite, benefits. Parasitism is a symbiosis , a long-term bond in which the parasite feeds on the host or takes resources from the host. Parasites can live within the body such as a tapeworm. Or on the body's surface, for example head-lice. Mosquitos get the parasite by feeding on an infected vertebrate. Inside the mosquito the plasmodium develops in the midgut's wall. Once developed to a zygote the parasite moves to the salivary glands where it can be passed on to a vertebrate species, for example humans.
The parasite tends to reduce the mosquito's lifespan and inhibits the production of offspring. A second example of parasitism is brood parasitism. Cuckoos regularly do this type of parasitism. Cuckoos lay their eggs in the nest of another species of birds. The host, therefore, provides for the cuckoo chick as if it was their own, unable to tell the difference. Rearing for young is costly and can reduce the success of future offspring, thus the cuckoo attempts to avoid this cost through brood parasitism.
In a similar way to predation, parasitism can lead to an evolutionary arms race. The host evolves to protect themselves from the parasite and the parasite evolves to overcome this restriction. Neutralism is where species interact, but the interaction has no noticeable effects on either species involved. Due to the interconnectedness of communities, true neutralism is rare.
Examples of neutralism in ecological systems are hard to prove, due to the indirect effects that species can have on each other. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Associated populations of species in a given area. For human community organized around economic and ecological sustainability, see ecovillage. This article duplicates the scope of other articles. Please discuss this issue on the talk page and edit it to conform with Wikipedia's Manual of Style.
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