Questions and Answers
The oak foliage gleaning guild consists of five different populations of birds like Vireo huttoni, Vireo gilvus, Vireo celata, Pareo inornata and Polioptila caerulea. The dietary habits of these bird species consists of insects (same class of resource) that resides on the leaves of the oak tree. Thus, this guild exploits the same natural resource for the same food item. However, the existence of the guild ensures that none of the bird species are competitively excluded from the ecology and all are able to survive successfully in the ecological niche.
The species in a particular ecosystem get established by the process of ecological succession. In the different phases of the succession process, the primary colonizers change or modify the existing conditions of the ecosystem concerned, and make it more favorable for the survival of the secondary colonizers, who then, inhabit the ecosystem. In this way, one or more species start coexisting in a particular ecosystem. On experiencing moderate disturbance, be it natural or artificial, ‘gaps’ are created in the ecosystem, which are capable of housing associated but different species of the colonizers that were already residing in the place. In this way, the species diversity of the concerned ecosystem flourishes, when an intermediate disturbance occurs. An example is the occurrence of hurricanes of medium intensity and the changes in the species inhabiting the coral reefs of the oceans.
Fig: Graph for demonstrating the relation between the species richness and the habitat it abounds Source: (Sergio et al., 2014)
Fig: Graph and equation for species diversity and the relationship with the area it abounds
Source: (Sergio et al., 2014)
In modern ecology, the concept of metapopulation and the study of metapopulation dynamics is the leading current approach. The metapopulation exists in a stochastic equilibrium between the colonization of the empty patches with suitable population and the species that gets extinct locally (Palmer, Zedler & Falk, 2016). The distance and the spatial configuration of the land that is to be taken up by the migrant populations determine the metapopulation dynamics. The modern theory of metapopulation assumes that the young generations within the population get dispersed randomly in the habitat and metapopulations in homogenous habitat get divided into subpopulations. Metapopulations are able to stay stable in the habitat for extensive period of time, owing to their property of getting dispersed over different habitats (Odling-Smee et al., 2013). The rate of growth of one subpopulation is independent of the other subpopulations and the qualities of the local environments where the subpopulations are dispersed are negatively correlated to one another.
Examples of metapopulation are butterflies, fishes in the coral reefs and populations of mountain sheep. The different species of the butterflies and coral reef fishes are found in a dispersed fashion, all over the ecosystem. Since they are significant metapopulations, their populations are quite stable and do not easily gets demolished from the ecological systems.
GPP refers to the Gross Primary Production
R refers to Respiration
When the respiration cost that the plant has to pay for their cellular functions, enzymatic and metabolic activities and elimination of wastes is taken away from the gross production of carbon that is fixed into sugars, by the process of photosynthesis, in the plant body, the amount of energy that remains is the NPP (Harfoot et al., 2014). In ecosystem too, the energy taken away by the consumers from the producers, leaves back the NPP.
A greater total amount of energy passes through the trophic levels in the forest ecosystem, since the number of producers in the forest ecosystem is more, as compared to the other ecosystems. The forest ecosystem, owing to its open access to sunlight, is also capable of tapping greater proportions of energy from the sun and thus, passes on more energy through successive trophic levels.
Higher NPP would be observed in lake ecosystem, since the loss through the process of respiration and for maintenance of other physiologic functions requires less energy and oxygen as compared to other ecosystems. Thus the NPP in the primary producers is significantly higher. The number of primary producers that is the phytoplankton is more than the primary consumers, zoo planktons. This is another reason for accumulation and transfer of more NPP across successive trophic levels in case of this ecosystem.
Source: (Trebilco et al., 2013).
The number of autotrophs or the primary producers in the aquatic ecosystem is huge (phytoplankton). As we move up on the trophic level, the number of primary consumers, secondary consumers and tertiary consumers continuously decrease (Trebilco et al., 2013). This is the reason why the biomass pyramid is inverted in case of the aquatic ecosystem.
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