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Ch 2: Ecosystems

About This Chapter

Watch online video lessons, and learn about the different aspects of ecosystems. Use the self-assessment quizzes that come with each lesson to gauge your understanding of the material.

Ecosystems - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Ecosystems are an important part of the environment. They enable organisms to survive and thrive by providing what they need. Within the various types of ecosystems, there are communities of organisms. Some of them may be too small to see and others can be large animals; but regardless of size, they all serve a purpose within the ecosystem. In this chapter, we will take an in-depth look at ecosystems. Lessons will introduce you to the concept of ecosystems and help you to see how they fit into the global environment. You will also find lessons that cover some basic concepts that relate to ecosystems, such as thermodynamics and the nitrogen cycle. Other topics that will be covered in these lessons include:

  • Levels of ecology
  • Ecological niches
  • Biodiversity
  • Food chains
  • The phosphorus cycle
  • Fossil Fuels

VideoObjective
The Environment, Levels of Ecology and Ecosystems Examine the larger picture of how ecosystems fit into the levels of ecology and the environment as a whole.
Ecosystems, Habitats and Ecological Niches Take a look at the details of ecosystems, including habitats and ecological niches.
The Laws of Thermodynamics Get an overview of the laws of thermodynamics.
Global Ecology: Definition and Overview Analyze the definition of global ecology and what it means.
What is Biodiversity? - Definition and Relation to Ecosystem Stability Study the concept of biodiversity and relate it to ecosystem stability.
Food Chains, Trophic Levels and Energy Flow in an Ecosystem Discover the way an ecosystem functions through food chains, trophic levels and energy flow.
Biogeochemical Cycling and the Phosphorus Cycle Explore the phosphorus cycle and biogeochemical cycling.
The Nitrogen Cycle, Acid Rain and Fossil Fuels Find out more about the relationship between the nitrogen cycle, acid rain and fossil fuels.
The Carbon Cycle and Long-Term Carbon Storage Learn about the carbon cycle and long-term carbon storage.
Fossil Fuels, Greenhouse Gases and Global Warming Examine the impact of fossil fuels in relation to greenhouse gases and global warming.

11 Lessons in Chapter 2: Ecosystems
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.

The Laws of Thermodynamics

3. The Laws of Thermodynamics

Learn about the first and second laws of thermodynamics. Find out how energy is generated, how it converts from one form to another, and what happens to energy in a closed system.

Global Ecology: Definition and Overview

4. Global Ecology: Definition and Overview

A large oil spill in the middle of the ocean and the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere are examples of environmental problems that can influence the entire planet. This lesson will explore the study of environmental problems occurring on a global scale, including the impact of globalization and current major global environmental problems.

What is Biodiversity? - Definition and Relation to Ecosystem Stability

5. What is Biodiversity? - Definition and Relation to Ecosystem Stability

Imagine making a list of all of the species you have ever heard of; it would be an enormous list! There are many different species on this planet. This lesson will explore the diversity of species, as well as the different types of diversity and how diversity of life is essential for maintaining healthy ecosystems.

Food Chains, Trophic Levels and Energy Flow in an Ecosystem

6. 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.

Biogeochemical Cycling and the Phosphorus Cycle

7. Biogeochemical Cycling and the Phosphorus Cycle

In this video lesson, we'll take a look at how elements large and small use other elements to grow. This is achieved through cycles. We'll look at macronutrients, trace elements and the biogeochemical and phosphorous cycles.

The Nitrogen Cycle, Acid Rain and Fossil Fuels

8. The Nitrogen Cycle, Acid Rain and Fossil Fuels

Do you know the difference between nitrite and nitrate? Do you have any clue how all the nitrogen in the atmosphere becomes usable? If you can't answer these questions, then you need to watch this lesson on the nitrogen cycle.

The Carbon Cycle and Long-Term Carbon Storage

9. The Carbon Cycle and Long-Term Carbon Storage

All living organisms have a role in the carbon cycle. Do you know you understand how humans, animals and plants use carbon? This lesson will introduce you to the carbon cycle and explain how it functions on a global scale.

Fossil Fuels, Greenhouse Gases, and Global Warming

10. Fossil Fuels, Greenhouse Gases, and Global Warming

In this video lesson, you'll learn what roles fossil fuels and greenhouse gases play in global warming, as well as what life on Earth can expect due to rising carbon dioxide levels within Earth's atmosphere.

What is a Decomposer? - Definition & Examples

11. What is a Decomposer? - Definition & Examples

Decomposers are an often overlooked part of the natural world, but their job is an important one. Learn what decomposers are, what role they have in the environment and how people use them.

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