Ecology Definitions. Kakapo. Takahe

Topics: New Zealand, Kakapo, Birds of New Zealand Pages: 16 (5882 words) Published: May 20, 2011
Anthony Dove

72196 Introduction to New Zealand Ecology

Assignment 1

Task 1

Ecology is the study of ecosystems and environment. The first definition of ecology was provided by the German zoologist Ernst Haeckel. Haeckel describes ecology as – 'The body of knowledge concerning the economy of nature - the total relations of the animal to both its inorganic and organic environment.'(History of Ecology,(n.d.)). A more complete and modern definition is given by the Cory Institute of Ecosystems Studies, their definition is as follows: The scientific study of the processes influencing the distribution and abundance of organisms, the interactions among organisms and the interactions between organisms and the transformation and flux of energy and matter.(Cory Institute of Ecosystems Studies n.d.). This definition is somewhat less concise than Haeckel’s original and perhaps more fitting to ecology as we know it now, better defining the broad scope and complexity of ecology as a science and ecosystems in general. In broad terms ecology could be defined as the study of life forms, their relationships and interactions with each other and the environment in which they live and any influences, be they natural or otherwise, on these as a whole or in part.

Cory Institute of Ecosystem Studies. (n.d.). Defining ecology. Retrieved March 2nd, 2011, from History of Ecology summary. (n.d.) Ecology, History of. Retrieved March 2nd, 2011, from

According to biology online, an ecosystem is defined as: A system that includes all living organisms (biotic factors) in an area as well as its physical environment (abiotic factors) functioning together as a unit. (Ecosystem n.d.) Ecosystem then is the term used to describe the living community of creatures in a certain area, its non-living habitat and their interactions as a whole. It includes the living species that the community consists of, the non-living features of which their habitat is comprised, and the life sustaining interactions between them all. A pond, for example. All the inhabitants of a pond interact with each other and the elements of which the pond consists, forming an ecosystem. Through these interactions life is sustained and the ecosystem of the pond defined and preserved. The boundaries of an ecosystem are not fixed in any objective way, they are usually chosen for practical reasons having to do with the goals of a particular study (The concept of the Ecosystem, n.d.).

Biology Online. (n.d.). Ecosystem. Retrieved March 2nd, 2011, from The Concept of the Ecosystem. (n.d.). Introduction - What is an Ecosystem? Retrieved March 2nd, 2011, from

Task 2

Scientific name:
Strigops habroptilus
Common names(s):
Kakapo, parrot of the night, owl parrot.

Species description:
The kakapo, (Strigops habroptilus), is a large, flightless nocturnal parrot native to New Zealand. Adult kakapo weigh between 1.2 and 3.5kg, the females generally weighing more than the males (Low et al. 2006), making them sexually dimorphic in body size. The kakapo has large wings and a short, prominently hooked beak with bare shaft feathers, like whiskers, protruding on each side (BBC, 2005). They are moss green on the upper parts of their body and greenish yellow on their undersides, mottled with fine brown and yellow bars (Olliver, 2005) and have an owl like facial disk of sensory feathers (Kakapo Recovery, 2008). Kakapos also have a distinctive smell, described as sweet smelling like honey, flowerlike (TerraNature Trust, 2009). The males of the species do not breed until about four years of age and the females until at least six. Breeding...
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