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Ch 17: Ecology Principles & Community Ecology

About This Chapter

This chapter surveys key ecological principles, breaking down related concepts, terms and processes. The diverse array of material is presented in a step-by-step format that allows you to study one topic at a time and then test your understanding of it with a practice quiz before moving on.

Ecological Principles - Chapter Summary

Use this chapter to look at the systems, relationships and theories central to the study of ecology. The lessons guide you through the functions of ecological communities, dissecting topics such as food chains, carrying capacity, ecological succession, and more. You can use the dashboard feature to stay organized through the course of the chapter and explore related content to supplement your studies. By the time you're through these lessons, you can expect to have a stronger hold on:

  • What differentiates the levels of ecology and ecosystems
  • The significance of habitats, ecosystems and ecological niches
  • How energy flows through an ecosystem
  • The functioning of interspecific competition and competitive exclusion
  • How predators and prey interact
  • The characteristics of symbiotic relationships
  • Classifying populations
  • How migration, carrying capacity and dispersion works
  • Ways colonization occurs
  • The concepts of food chains, energy flow and ecological succession
  • Key traits of conservation biology, habitat fragmentation and metapopulations
  • Ecological balance and how it can be altered

12 Lessons in Chapter 17: Ecology Principles & Community Ecology
The Environment, Levels of Ecology and Ecosystems

1. The Environment, Levels of Ecology and Ecosystems

Do you know the difference between an environment and an ecosystem? In this lesson, you'll find out what makes an environment, and what makes an ecosystem. You'll also learn what ecology is and some of the ways that scientists study ecology using organisms, populations, communities, ecosystems and even the entire biosphere.

Ecosystems, Habitats and Ecological Niches

2. Ecosystems, Habitats and Ecological Niches

Check out this video lesson to understand the many complex aspects of an ecosystem. See how animals live in habitats and survive amongst their surroundings.

Food Chains, Trophic Levels and Energy Flow in an Ecosystem

3. Food Chains, Trophic Levels and Energy Flow in an Ecosystem

In this lesson, you'll learn about food chains, food webs, and the different roles that organisms play in an ecosystem. You'll also learn about how energy flows through an ecosystem.

Interspecific Competition, Competitive Exclusion & Niche Differentiation

4. Interspecific Competition, Competitive Exclusion & Niche Differentiation

What happens when two similar species that consume the same resources occupy the same space? Interspecific competition, that's what! Watch our video lesson to learn about the outcomes of this ecological battle.

Predator/Prey Interactions, Camouflage, Mimicry & Warning Coloration

5. Predator/Prey Interactions, Camouflage, Mimicry & Warning Coloration

You probably know that skunks can be quite stinky, bees sting and monarch butterflies are pretty, but do you know why? This lesson will introduce you to the reasons why some animals look or act the way they do and how these things relate to the predator/prey relationship.

Symbiotic Relationships: Mutualism, Commensalism & Parasitism

6. Symbiotic Relationships: Mutualism, Commensalism & Parasitism

If your cat or dog has ever had fleas, you've witnessed symbiosis in action. In this lesson, learn the many types of symbiosis in biology, and how these relationships can have a positive, negative, or neutral effect on the individual species.

Populations: Density, Survivorship and Life Histories

7. Populations: Density, Survivorship and Life Histories

Have you ever wondered how biologists determine the populations of animals in a particular geographic area? Watch this video lesson to find out, and discover how scientists look at the survivorship and life histories of many different species.

Carrying Capacity, Migration & Dispersion

8. Carrying Capacity, Migration & Dispersion

Have you ever wondered why some types of birds fly south in the winter or why some animals form territories? Watch this video to learn about a species' maximum growth capabilities, the way its members group themselves and why they might migrate to new locations every year.

Dispersal, Colonization, and Island Biogeography

9. Dispersal, Colonization, and Island Biogeography

Have you ever gone in your backyard and discovered a wild raspberry bush that has never been there before? How did it get there? Why is there only one bush year after year? In this lesson, you'll study how plant and animal species colonize in new areas through dispersal and immigration and how some species thrive in a new area while others fail.

Conservation Biology, Habitat Fragmentation, and Metapopulations

10. Conservation Biology, Habitat Fragmentation, and Metapopulations

It's becoming harder to conserve large, unbroken tracts of wilderness. Is there another way for conservation biologists to ensure the survival of a species? In this lesson, you'll learn about habitat fragmentation and metapopulations.

Ecological Succession: From Pioneer to Climax Communities

11. Ecological Succession: From Pioneer to Climax Communities

Just as people grow and change so, too, do ecosystems. Watch this lesson to learn about ecological succession from the beginning stages of development to a community's ultimate destination, or climax.

How Introduced and Invasive Species Alter Ecological Balance

12. How Introduced and Invasive Species Alter Ecological Balance

What happens to your block when a new neighbor moves in? Something changes, right? Now think about that on an ecological scale: what happens to an environment when a new SPECIES moves in?

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