Drivers and Dynamics of Population

 The two types of reproduction, sexual and asexual, result in different patterns of population growth. Simple organisms like bacteria multiply and reproduce through asexual reproduction causing the population to double each time the bacteria reproduce (see figure 1), whereas mammals such as humans reproduce through sexual reproduction and consequently follow a different pattern of population … Continue reading Drivers and Dynamics of Population

Understanding Patchiness and Scale?

 Patchiness and scale refers to the distribution of species in a given environment and the ecological patterns and processes that occur at different spatial and temporal scales.  The three main spatial elements of patchiness (see Figure 1) are the patch (the specific habitat), the matrix (the background, underlying ecosystem) and the corridors (the connectors between … Continue reading Understanding Patchiness and Scale?

What are Keystone Species?

  A keystone species is essential to an ecosystem or food web. If you remove it, like the keystone in an arch, the whole ecosystem collapses.  Keystones can be identified by removing certain species from a food web and observing the effects this has on the ecosystem, as seen in Robert Paine’s studies in which … Continue reading What are Keystone Species?

What is an Ecological Niche?

 A niche can be defined simply as the area in which an organism inhabits. However, more specifically, it is an area occupied by a species within an ecological community which shapes and is shaped by, its surrounding environment. Food, shelter, predation, temperature, reproduction, and behaviour are all factors which contribute to the construction of a … Continue reading What is an Ecological Niche?

An Introduction to Biodiversity

 Biodiversity can be defined as the variation of life at all levels of biological organisation, from genes to species to ecosystems.  Within biodiversity, there are three main categorisations: genetic, organismal and ecological. First of all, genetic diversity refers to variations in the genetic coding that determines an individual's characteristics within and between species -with such … Continue reading An Introduction to Biodiversity