ECOLOGICAL MANAGEMENT: INTRODUCTION, TYPES OF ASSOCIATION, TOLERANCE AND ADAPTATION, XEROPHYTES

Ecological management is the management of the ecology. This entails the management of the trees, river, estuaries, aquatic bodies, habitat, etc. The proper management of the ecology brings about an improved well being in the standards of both the organisms and humans. There are associations that abounds in the ecology and these associations makes it possible for the different organisms to thrive in successively. There are different associations that abound in the ecological system and they are listed below;

1. COMMENSALISM: This is an association between two organisms in which one benefits while the other neither loses nor gains. E.g. Remora and Shark. Remora attaches itself temporarily to the shark and feeds on scraps the shark fails to consume.
2. PARASITISM: This is a close association between two organisms in which one called the Parasite obtains mainly food from the other called the Host and at the same time harms it. E.g. tapeworm in the intestine of man obtains digested food and protection from man while man derives no benefit from the association but suffers.
3. SYMBIOSIS: This is an association between two organisms of different species which benefits from each other. E.g. lichen (alga and fungus). The alga supplies photosynthetic products to the fungus while the fungus provides water and support for the alga.

TOLERANCE AND ADAPTATION
Tolerance is the ability of an organism to stand minor unfavorable changes in its living conditions.
Minimum and maximum range is the limit of tolerance to different environmental factors which living things have.
Ecological range is the range of environmental conditions in which the individual of a specie can survive.
Geographical range is an area which most living things can live successfully or the limit of ecological range.

ADAPTATION
Adaptation is the modification of structure, function, and behavior which make organisms able to survive in a particular habitat or environment.

Adaptations of Animals to an Aquatic Environment
1. Organisms have a streamlined Shape for ease in movement of water.
2. The Scales are used to reduce any resistance during movement in water and are also for protection and prevention of heat loss.
3. Fins are used for swimming and balancing in water.
4. Gills are used for breathing in water.
5. The Swim bladder is used for altering the pressure or specific gravity in water.
6. Lateral line perceives vibrations in water and also detects differences in pressure.
7. Reproduction happens when eggs are laid and fertilization occurs in water. The production of several eggs is for ensuring survival.
8. Webbed Limbs are used for swimming . E.g. frogs.

ADAPTATIONS OF ANIMALS TO DRY ENVIRONMENT
1. Animals in dry areas conserve water by possession of
a. scales on the body surface. E.g. snakes and Agama lizard
b. A cuticle on the body surface as in insects.
c. Shells which covers the body. E.g. land snails.
d. Kidney to regulate water loss. E.g. vertebrates.

2. Animals adaptations to dry areas based on their functions are:
1. Excretion of semi solid urine. E.g birds
2. Ability to absorb water in air at very high relative humidity.
3. Having plant tissues with high water content (cactus) to increase water intake.

Adaptations of plants to fire:
Plants resist fire by:
1. Having thick bark,e.g. Lophira.
2. Possession of underground stems (rhizomes and suckers), e.g. lilies and grass.
3. Ability to shed their leaves, e.g. Vitex and Doniana.
4. Re-growing again after being burnt by fire, e.g. Guinea grass.

ADAPTATIONS OF BIRDS FOR FLIGHT
Features which adapt birds for flight include:
1. light bones since they are thin, hollow and marrowless to reduce weight.
2. streamlined body to reduce air resistance.
3. possession of feathers and wings for flight.
4. high metabolic rate for rapid release of energy during flight.
5. acute vision for efficient vision during flight.
6. possession of tail feathers for steering and braking.

ADAPTATIONS OF PLANTS TO WATER AVAILABILITY
Hydrophytes are plants which live in fresh water or in most very habitats. They show the following adaptations:
1. Stomata are on the exposed surface of the leaves to increase the transpiration rate. e.g lilies.
2. Some plants have a waxy cuticle on the leaves to prevent wetting.
3. Some plants have porous tissues. e.g. water lettuce, reduced bodies. e.g. duck weed; and air bladder, e.g. bladderworm to improve the buoyancy in water.
4. While mangrove have breathing roots since they grow in water logged soil which is air deficient.
5. Some water plants have reduced conducting and strengthening tissues.
6. The root system is greatly reduced as they serve mainly for anchorage and some floating ones have no roots at all.

XEROPHYTES
Xerophytes are plants which grow on dry land. These xerophytes have the following adaptive features;
1. They have very long tap roots to absorb water from great depth.
2. Possess thick leaves, succulent stems, e.g. cactus and spines to conserve water.
3. Posses waxy cuticularised, small, hairy, scaly, and spiny leaves to reduce transpiration.
4. Some have rolling leaves to reduce transpiration.
Examples of xenophytes are Euphorbia, Cactus, Stone crops Eucalyptus.

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