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Homeostasis and Ecological Relationships Help

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Aug 30, 2011

Introduction to Homeostasis and Ecological Relationships

Recall that homeostasis is a relative constancy of some particular aspect of the body’s internal environment. The maintenance of a relative constancy of glucose level within the bloodstream was cited as a definite instance of homeostasis. Such conditions of homeostasis are especially important within the group of organisms called mammals ( MAM -als) – animals with “breasts” ( mamm ) used to give milk to their young. Thus, cats, dogs, monkeys, and human beings are all mammals in which the blood glucose concentration is tightly regulated within a state of homeostasis. The glucose in the blood eventually becomes glucose within the breast milk, which in turn provides vital nutrition for the nursing youngsters.

Patterns of Life Homeostasis versus Ecological Relationships

The S-shaped pattern of homeostasis indicates a type of up-and-down balance within the body’s internal environment. Homeostasis is therefore restricted to the organism level and below, within the Pyramid of Life.

Ecology is the “study of the household affairs” or relationships between different organisms and the total external environment. Such ecological (e-koh- LAHJ -ih- kal ) relationships also represent a type of balance. But this balance exists at the levels of biological organization lying beyond the organism. That is, ecological relationships exist at the population, community, and ecosystem levels. Consider, for example, a so-called “population balance.” This phrase represents the idea that, when the number of births occurring within a certain population equals the number of deaths in that population, over, say, a period of one year, then that population is “balanced” or “stable.” It is neither greatly increasing nor greatly decreasing in size over time. This rough balance in the number of births versus deaths of particular organisms (such as humans) also greatly influences the surrounding environment. A stable human population essentially means a fairly stable consumption of food and water, as well as a stable excretion of waste products into the external environment.

 

Practice problems for these concepts can be found at: Patterns of Life Test

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