Midterm Exam 1

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Aldo Leopold

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Aldo Leopold

  • Hired as chair of game management at UW-Madison in 1933

  • Created first academic program in wildlife management

  • First professor of our 318 course (then 118) starting in 1939

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Leopold’s Contributions

  • Author of Game Management and A Sand County Almanac

  • Wilderness advocate

  • “The Shack”

  • Habitat Conservation

  • First to apply science of ecology to practice of conservation

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The relationships between organisms and their environment

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Wildlife Ecology

  • Applied ecology of wild terrestrial vertebrates and their plant and animal associates

  • The science behind the practice of wildlife management

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Basic Science

Increase knowledge and understanding without immediate benefit or practical application

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Applied Science

Motivated by a specific need for information

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Applied Ecology

  • Natural resource management (wildlife, fisheries, forestry, range, etc.)

  • Conservation biology

  • Restoration ecology

  • Landscape ecology

  • Agroecology

  • Urban ecology

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Wildlife Management

The art and science of manipulating populations, habitats, and people to achieve some desired outcome

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Goals of wildlife management

  • Increase rare or threatened species

  • Decrease overabundant, invasive, or nuisance species

  • Stabilize sustainable harvest of game species

  • Monitor - do nothing, but keep track of species

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Ecology at the individual level

Focus: Interactions between individual organisms and their biological and physical environment

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Properties of Individual Organisms

  • Genotype

  • Phenotype

  • Anatomy

  • Morphology

  • Physiology

  • Behavior

  • Fitness

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  • Genetic contribution of an individual to future generations

  • Natural selection acts on individual organisms by favoring those with greater fitness

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Ecology at the population level

  • Population = group of individuals of the same species in the same area at the same time

  • Basic unit of evolution

  • Population dynamics = changes in population size over time

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Properties of populations

  • Population size

  • Population density

  • Geographic range

  • Sex ratio

  • Age structure

  • Birth and death rates

  • Immigration and emigration

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Ecology at the community level

  • Community = group of interacting species in the same area at the same time

  • Interactions between species: Interspecific competition, predation, mutualism, etc.

  • Food chains and food webs

  • Variation over time: Succession

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Properties of communities

  • Composition

  • Structure

  • Species richness

  • Relative abundance pattern

  • Diversity

  • Stability

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Ecology at the ecosystem level

  • Ecosystem = all organisms in an area and their physical environment

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Properties of ecosystems

  • Biotic environment = living organisms

  • Abiotic environment = soil, water, climate, geology, etc.

  • Energy production

  • Nutrient cycling

  • Carbon sequestration

  • “Ecosystem services”

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Scientific Method

  • Make an observation

  • Ask a question

  • Form a hypothesis

  • Conduct an experiment

  • Accept / reject hypothesis

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Hypothesis formation

  • Start out with an observation of a natural pattern

  • Pose a research question to explain the observed pattern

  • Propose hypothesis as possible answer to research question

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What makes a good hypothesis

  • Simple

  • Well-defined

  • Testable

  • Falsifiable (possible to disprove)

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Why can’t hypotheses be “proved”

We collect data and conduct experiments to either support or refute our hypothesis

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Descriptive research (observational study)

  • Observe events occuring in nature and describe patterns

  • Much of wildlife research before 1980s was descriptive

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Experimental research

  • Look at the response of one variable to changes in some other variable(s)

  • Compare manipulated “treatment” froups with “control” groups to measure the magnitude of change resulting from experimental treatments

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Advantage of experimentation

Only way to determine cause-effect relationship

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Manipulative experiments

  • Vary conditions in treatment groups and compare to control groups with no variation

  • Usually conducted in the laboratory, but can also be conducted in the field

  • Limited scope of inference

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Natural Experiments

  • Take advantage of natural variation in the environment, rather than manipulating conditions

  • Not “true” experiments

  • Example: Compare burned to unburned areas following burn

  • Most wildlife research involves natural experiments

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What makes a good experiment?

  • Clearly articulated hypothesis

  • Systematic variation

  • Replication

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Systematic variation

Experiments involve varying one factor to determine its effect on another factor, while holding all other factors constant

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Types of variables

  • Independent (treatment) variables = those that you manipulate

  • Dependent (outcome) variable(s) = what you measure to determine the effect of manipulating an independent variable

  • Potentially confounding variables = those that are held constant in an experiment

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Groups to compare in an experiment

  • Experimental group = independent variable manipulated

  • Control group = baseline condition of the independent variable

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  • Experimental unit = entity to which an experimental treatment is applied

  • Experimental and control treatments should be applied to multiple experimental units

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Forms of replication

  • Multiple experimental units in each group

  • Multiple measurements of the dependent variable(s)

  • Multiple runs of the entire experiment

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Why is replication important?

  • Avoid drawing conclusions from misleading results

  • Increase scope of inference of an experiment

  • Allow us to determine the degree of variability in the data

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Ecology of individual animals - themes

  • Adaptions to maximize fitness

  • Trade-offs

  • Economy - balancing gains and losses

  • Effects of body size and shape

  • Effects of climate

  • Differences among vertebrate groups

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Physiological ecology

  • Study of physiological functioning of organisms in relation to their environment

  • How species adapt to their environments and how environmental conditions restrict where species can live

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Factors that affect where species live

  • Tempterature

  • Precipitation

  • Amount of sunlight

  • Nutrient availability

  • pH

  • Other species

  • Soil conditions

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Potential evapotranspiration (PET)

  • Total amount of evapotranspiration that would take place if there were enough water available

  • Affected by temperature, isolation, and wind

  • PET in mm = 2X avg. temperature in degrees C

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Actual evapotranspiration (AET)

  • Actual amount of evapotranspiration that takes place given temperature and water availability

  • AET = PET when the ground is wet and there is sufficient precipitation

  • AET = precipitation when precipitation is scarce

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Liebig’s Law of Minimum

Growth and reproduction are limited by the availability of the scarcest resource

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  • Physiological tolerances = limits on environmental conditions that an organism can tolerate

  • Geographic range of a species is largely determined by its tolerances to environmental variables

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Shelfold’s Law of Tolerance

Abundance or distribution of an organism depends on its range of tolerance for various environmental factors

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Reactions to changing environments

  • Geographic range shift

  • Extinction

  • Acclimation

  • Adaptation

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Any heritable trait that increases and individual’s fitness

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Adaptions can be

  • Behavioral = action

  • Morphological = structure

  • Physiological = function

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  • Genetic contribution of an individual to future generations

  • Trade-off: maximize number of offspring vs. maximize offspring survival

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Maintaining constant internal conditions independent of the external environment

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Surface area-to-volume ratio (SA:V)

  • High SA:V means more exposure to the environment, more heat and water loss

  • As body size increases, SA:V decreases

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Water Budget Formula

Wnet= Inputs - Outputs

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Inputs: ingestion, Wing

Water obtained from drinking or from eating food with a high moisture content (“performed” water)

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Inputs: metabolic water, Qmet

Water obtained as a byproduct of the breakdown of nutrients

  • C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O + energy

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Outputs: secretion, Wsec

Elimination of waste products, including urine and feces

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Nitrogenous wastes: uric acid vs. urea

  • Birds and most reptiles = uric acid

    • Requires less water to excrete

  • Mammals and most amphibians = urea

    • Requires less energy to produce

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Outputs: evaporation, Wevap

  • Water lost directly from skin or from respiratory tract as animal exhales

  • Includes water loss through panting or sweating

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Input or Output: Osmotic exchange, Wosm

  • Direct absorption (freshwater) or loss (saltwater) of water through osmosis in aquatic animals

  • Important in fish, but insignificant in terrestrial mammals

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Complete water budget

  • Wnet = Inputs - Outputs

  • Wnet = Wing +Wmet +- Wosm - Wsec - Wevap

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Behavioral adaptations to desert life

  • Active at night

  • Live in burrows

  • Seek food with high preformed or metabolic water content

  • Aestivation = summer or dry season dormancy

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Morphological adaptations to desert life

  • Body parts adapted for fat storage

  • Long extremities for dissipating heat

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Physiological adaptations to desert life

  • Dry feces

  • Concentrated urine (long loops or Henle - where water reabsorption occurs back into the bloodstream)

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Physiological adaptations to desert life

Cooling and condensation in nasal passages reduce water loss during exhalation

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Gloger’s Rule

Endotherms of a given species tend to be darker in humid environments and lighter in arid environments

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Adaptations to marine environment

  • Salt glands of reptiles and birds

  • Marine mammals produce concentrated urine and avoid drinking sea water

  • Milk of lactating marine mammals is very concentrated

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Heat source: endo vs. ectotherms

  • Endotherms use an internal heat source to thermoregulate

  • Ecotherms use an external heat source to thermoregulate

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Constancy: Homeo- vs. poikilotherms

  • Homeotherms maintain a constant body temperature

  • Poikilotherms have a body temperature that varies with environmental temperature

  • Heterotherm - under certain conditions can allow their body temperature to flucuate

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Advantages of endothermy

  • Tolerate wider range of conditions

  • Can be active day or night, year round

  • Aerobic metabolism - sustain longer activity

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Advantages of ectothermy

  • Greater efficiency

  • Lower energy demands

  • Able to survive long periods of low food availability

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Metabolic rate and BMR

  • Metabolic rate = rate of heat production or energy expenditure

  • Basal (standard) metabolic rate (BMR) = lowest rate of energy expenditure of resting, fasting animal in its comfortable temperature range

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Thermoneutral Zone

Temperature range over which a homeotherm can maintain a constant body temperature without raising its metabolic rate

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Heat budger

Hnet = Inputs - Outputs

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Absorbed solar radiation, Hsr (input)

Heat gained depends on exposed surface area, intensity of solar radiation, and the proportion of radiation that is absorbed

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Metabolic heat, Hmet (input)

  • Heat generated through energy expenditure

  • Varies with body size and activity level

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Thermal radiation, Htr (input or output)

  • Animals constantly both emit and absorb thermal radiation from their surroundings

  • Depends on animal’s body temperature, surface area, and emissivity

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Conduction, Hcond (input or output)

Animals can either gain heat or lose heat to the ground and the surrounding air, depending on their relative temperatures

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Convection, Hconv (inout or output)

  • Animals can gain or lose heat depending on relative temperature of animal and fluid

  • Heat transfer increases with wind speed

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Evaporative cooling, Hevap (output)

  • Heat is released when water changes from liquid to gas (latent heat)

  • Animals cool off by sweating or panting

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Heat Balance equation

Hnet = Hsr + Hmet +- Htr +- Hcond +- Hconv - Hevap

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Bergmann’s Rule

Individual of a given species are larger in colder climates than in warmer climates

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Allen’s rule

Individuals of a given species have shorter extremities in cold climates than in warm climates

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Inefficiency of food consumption

  • 2nd law of thermodynamics

  • Net energy = gross energy - cost of extraction - feces - urine

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  • Most of net energy consumed is devoted to self-maintenance

  • Includes cellular activity required to maintain BMR and physical activities required for survival

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Self-maintenance energy demands

  • Looking for food

  • Processing food

  • Predator avoidance

  • Growth

  • Locomotion

  • Themoregulation

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  • Energy left over after self-maintenance needs are met is devoted to reproduction

  • Trade-off: allocating energy to reproduction reduces survival probability

  • Animals will forego reproduction when short on energy

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Reproduction energy demands

  • Courtship

  • Territorial defense

  • Nest or den construction

  • Gamete production

  • Egg laying or bearing live young

  • Lactation

  • Parental care

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Time-energy budget

  • Recordof how an animal divides its time and energy expenditures among different activities to maximize net energy gain

  • Studies show that animals prioritize among activities in predictable ways

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Field work

Observe animals in the field and record how much time they spend on different types of activities - time budget

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Lab work

Have animal run, fly, or swim in the laboratory and measure its rate of O2 consumption to estimate energy expenditure

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Environmental factors: Temperature

  • Energy required for thermoregulation increases as temperature decreases

  • Animals must eat more or or expend less energy in cooler weather

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Environmental factors: Food availibility

  • Influences how much time and energy an animal must spend looking for food

  • Varies daily, seasonally, yearly

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Intrinsic factors: body size

  • Small animals must eat much more relative to their body mass than large animals

  • Chickadees in winter must spend >90% of daylight time and energy looking for food

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Intrinsic factors: Type of locomotion

Energetic cost: swimming < flying < running

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Essential nutrients

  • Water

  • Carbohydrates

  • Fats

  • Proteins

  • Vitamins

  • Minerals

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Macro- vs. micro-

  • Macronutrients = needed in relatively large quantities

  • Micronutrients = nutrients needed in very small quantities

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Energy and nutrition for carnivores

  • Nutritionally balanced diet

  • Little variation in food quality

  • More difficult to get enough food, than to get a balanced diet

  • Face undernourishment

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Energy and nutrition for herbivores

  • Food more abundant, but lacking in some nutrients, especially proteins and minerals

  • Food quality is highly variable

  • Face malnourishment

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Nutritional quality for herbivores

seeds > fruit > buds > young leaves > old leaves > stems and branches > bark

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Animals with specialized diets: hummingbirds

  • Diet: nectar (mostly carbohydrates)

  • Nectar very low in protein, vitamins, or minerals

  • Also eat insects and spiders to balance diet

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Animals with specialized diets: vampire bats

  • Diet: blood (mostly protein)

  • Blood very low in fat or carbohydrates

  • Minimal nutrient storage - most consume and excrete large amounts of liquid

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Animals with specialized diets: porcupines in winter

  • Diet: mostly tree bark (low in nutrition)

  • Low energy demands

  • Digestive microbes increase protein intake

  • Attracted to anything salty

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Daily periodicity

  • 24-hour cycle of light and dark periods caused by earths rotation

  • Animal activity patterns follow daily fluctuations in environmental conditions

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Environmental factors that fluctuate daily

  • Daylight

  • Temperature

  • Relative humidity

  • Precipitation

  • Food availability

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