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Ch 15: Changing Ecosystems

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons that discuss changing ecosystems and the reasons for some of those changes, such as those that occur naturally or are caused by humans.

Changing Ecosystems - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Ecosystems may be discussed in such a way that it's easy to think of them as a single entity, but they're actually quite complex, and influenced by a variety of factors, many of them man-made. In this series of video lessons, learn about biodiversity, endangered and threatened species, extinction, invasive species, and specialized types of biology and ecology that are dedicated to changing ecosystems. At the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Define biological diversity, and explain its effect on an ecosystem
  • Explain the difference between a threatened species and an endangered species
  • Explain the two kinds of extinction
  • Define conservation biology, and provide examples
  • Define restoration ecology, and provide examples

Video Objective
Species Richness: Definition and Determining Factors Define the concept of species richness, and discuss what influences it.
Ecosystems of Oceans and Freshwater: Biological Diversity and Water Describe biodiversity in coral reefs, the intertidal zone, lakes, rivers, and estuaries/salt marshes.
Biological Diversity and the Forest: Ecosystems of the Rainforests and Temperate Forests Describe biodiversity in coniferous forests, deciduous forests, and tropical rainforests.
Desert Ecosystems: How Biodiversity Impacts Hot and Cold Deserts Learn what types of plants and animals can survive in the harsh conditions of deserts.
What Is Extinction? - Defining Background and Mass Extinction Define extinction, and distinguish between these two kinds.
Differences Between Endangered Species and Threatened Species Describe the distinguishing characteristics of these two groups.
Pollution and Habitat Destruction: The Human Factors Contributing To Endangerment and Extinction Discuss how habitat fragmentation and anthropomorphic pollution destroy habitats; explain their roles in animal endangerment and extinction.
What Is an Invasive Species? - Definition, List, and Effects Define an invasive species; explain how one affects an ecosystem, and discuss humans' role in introducing invasive species.
Over-Exploitation: How Humans Affect Ecosystems By Decreasing Species Populations Define over-exploitation and summarize how it affects ecosystems.
What Is Conservation Biology? - Definition, Principles, and Quiz Define conservation biology; discuss in situ and ex situ conservation.
Ecology Restoration: Foundations, Projects, and Goals Define restoration ecology, and give examples of its application.
The Endangered Species Act and The World Conservation Strategy: Goals and Purposes Explain these two efforts; give examples of successes and failures, and describe benefits and shortcomings.

12 Lessons in Chapter 15: Changing Ecosystems
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Species Richness: Definition & Determining Factors

1. Species Richness: Definition & Determining Factors

In this lesson, you'll learn what species richness is and what factors can influence the index of species richness. You'll also discover why it is an important index to measure in terms of conservation.

Ecosystems of Oceans and Freshwater: Biological Diversity and Water

2. Ecosystems of Oceans and Freshwater: Biological Diversity and Water

In this lesson, you'll learn about the biodiversity of ecosystems based on water. You will discover that marine, freshwater and a mixture of salt and freshwater create very different ecosystems, which in turn influence the amount of biodiversity that is found in these habitats.

Biological Diversity and the Forest: Ecosystems of the Rainforests and Temperate Forests

3. Biological Diversity and the Forest: Ecosystems of the Rainforests and Temperate Forests

In this lesson, you'll learn about three main types of forests found on earth: coniferous, deciduous and tropical rainforests. You'll also discover how the ecosystems where these trees are located affect the biodiversity within them.

Desert Ecosystems: How Biodiversity Impacts Hot and Cold Deserts

4. Desert Ecosystems: How Biodiversity Impacts Hot and Cold Deserts

In this lesson, you'll learn about the biodiversity that makes up a desert ecosystem. You will discover what makes a desert a desert and study the different plant and animal life that inhabit both hot and cold deserts.

What Is Extinction? - Defining Background and Mass Extinction

5. What Is Extinction? - Defining Background and Mass Extinction

In this lesson you'll discover what the term 'extinction' means as well as learn the two different types of extinction: mass extinction and background extinction. You will also discover how humans contribute to extinction events.

Differences Between Endangered Species and Threatened Species

6. Differences Between Endangered Species and Threatened Species

In this lesson you'll learn about two terms that describe species with very low population numbers: threatened and endangered. You'll discover why species numbers decline and how we can keep the species that are threatened or endangered from going extinct.

Pollution and Habitat Destruction: The Human Factors Contributing To Endangerment & Extinction

7. Pollution and Habitat Destruction: The Human Factors Contributing To Endangerment & Extinction

In this lesson you will learn about two ways humans contribute to species extinction. We break up habitats by building roads and clearing land, and we pollute both land and water. You will also learn about the specific terms used to describe the processes, habitat fragmentation and anthropogenic pollution.

What Is an Invasive Species? - Definition, List & Effects

8. What Is an Invasive Species? - Definition, List & Effects

This lesson focuses on a group of organisms called invasive species. You'll learn what makes a species invasive and see some examples of invasive species. You'll also discover why invasive species are considered a problem and explore the impacts they have on the environment, the economy and on humans.

Over-Exploitation: How Humans Affect Ecosystems By Decreasing Species Populations

9. Over-Exploitation: How Humans Affect Ecosystems By Decreasing Species Populations

In this lesson, you'll learn how humans overexploit or overharvest species. You will discover the primary way in which humans are responsible for overfishing. You will also learn about how this negatively impacts ecosystems.

What Is Conservation Biology? - Definition & Principles

10. What Is Conservation Biology? - Definition & Principles

Conservation biology aims to reduce the human impact on the environment by looking for the causes and possible solutions to these problems. In this lesson, you'll learn about conservation biology and the different types of conservation.

Ecology Restoration: Foundations, Projects and Goals

11. Ecology Restoration: Foundations, Projects and Goals

In this lesson you will learn how humans have damaged various ecosystems on the planet and how a branch of ecology, restoration ecology, aims to restore these ecosystems. You will discover the main goal of restoration ecology as well as some of the ways habitats are restored.

The Endangered Species Act & The World Conservation Strategy: Goals & Purposes

12. The Endangered Species Act & The World Conservation Strategy: Goals & Purposes

In this lesson, you will learn about the Endangered Species Act, an environmental law that protects endangered species. You will also discover how the ESA works and how species are protected under it. Finally, you will learn how a World Conservation Strategy can help endangered and threatened species worldwide.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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