• Primary goal: How do abiotic and biotic factors influence the distribution and abundance of organisms?
Where are the organisms found?
How many organisms are there? What do the organisms do?
• Want to explain/understand ecological processes
- most interested in the processes of birth, death and migration
• Two classes of explanation:
• Proximal: patterns explained by the present environment
Eg. How did the weather (eg. rain) this summer influence plant growth in the region?
• Ultimate: patterns explained by the past environment (i.e. ecological experiences of ancestors through evolution)
Eg. How has the climate over the past 1000 years influenced the plant species present in the region?
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