Ch 32: Ecology and the Environment

About This Chapter

Watch ecology and the environment video lessons to learn about ecosystems, populations, biomes and much more. Each lesson is accompanied by a short multiple-choice quiz you can use to check your understanding of these topics.

Ecology and the Environment - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Find out what ecology is and examine the differences between an ecosystem and an environment in this chapter. Learn about the plant and animal life found in various ecosystems and study food chains, conservation biology, ecological succession and the phosphorus cycle. Professional instructors will lead you through lessons on predator and prey interactions, migration and dispersion. You'll also get details on different types of biomes and definitions for key terms like colonization, mutualism, niche differentiator and more. This chapter is designed to teach you about:

  • Ecology levels
  • Habitats
  • Energy flow
  • Interspecific competition
  • Introduced and invasive species
  • Conservation biology

Video Objectives
The Environment, Levels of Ecology and Ecosystems Identifies levels of ecology and defines biosphere, ecosystem and other key terms. Introduces environmental factors and describes how scientists study ecology.
Ecosystems, Habitats and Ecological Niches Uses the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem to describe the different aspects that make up an ecosystem. Explains how population density in an ecosystem is determined and how it can be measured.
Food Chains, Trophic Levels and Energy Flow in an Ecosystem Describes how a food chain works and depicts the various trophic levels that make up a food chain. Defines a food web and shows you how energy flows through it.
Interspecific Competition, Competitive Exclusion & Niche Differentiation Uses a graph to illustrate how interspecific competition works. Provides an overview of competitive exclusion and local extinction and identifies the six types of ecomorphs.
Predator/Prey Interactions, Camouflage, Mimicry & Warning Coloration Examines methods like camouflage and chemical warfare that prey organisms use to avoid detection. Details offensive strategies used by predators.
Symbiotic Relationships: Mutualism, Commensalism & Parasitism Defines symbiosis and introduces various symbiotic relationships found in nature. Discusses mutualistic relationships, amensalism, commensalism and parasitism.
Populations: Density, Survivorship and Life Histories Presents methods that scientists use to measure population density. Describes the survivorship curve and theories on differences in life histories.
Carrying Capacity, Migration and Dispersion Looks at factors that determine the carrying capacity of different populations. Introduces different dispersion types and defines intraspecific competition.
Dispersal, Colonization, and Island Biogeography Lists mechanisms that organisms use for dispersal and describes habitat fragmentation. Analyzes the theory of island biogeography.
Conservation Biology, Habitat Fragmentation, and Metapopulations Explains the history of conservation biology, and discusses how present-day biologists work to save different species. Analyzes metapopulation theory.
Ecological Succession: From Pioneer to Climax Communities Identifies ways that ecosystems change over time. Uses examples to show how secondary succession and primary succession occur.
How Introduced and Invasive Species Alter Ecological Balance Describes what happens to an environment when new species are introduced and when new species invade an area. Defines ecological balance and local extinction.
Biomes: Desert, Tropical Rainforest, Savanna, Coral Reefs & More Discusses the different types of biomes that exist around the world and what factors determine their location. Examines the characteristics of each biome.
Biomes: Tundra, Taiga, Temperate Grassland, and Coastlines Details how oceans and elevation determine types of biomes that exist in certain areas. Lists characteristics of different biomes.
Biogeochemical Cycling and the Phosphorus Cycle Examines the elements that make up living organisms. Explains how macronutrients and trace elements work. Reviews the processes in the biogeochemical cycle and the phosphorus cycle.

15 Lessons in Chapter 32: Ecology and the Environment
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
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?

Biomes: Desert, Tropical Rainforest, Savanna, Coral Reefs & More

13. Biomes: Desert, Tropical Rainforest, Savanna, Coral Reefs & More

Take a trip around the world and learn all about different biomes. Why can you only find certain plants and animals in specific places? What are the most fertile climates on Earth? Watch on to answer these and other questions.

Biomes: Tundra, Taiga, Temperate Grassland, and Coastlines

14. Biomes: Tundra, Taiga, Temperate Grassland, and Coastlines

Take a trip with us in this lesson, starting in the Pacific Ocean, traveling across California through the Central Valley and up to the peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains. We'll learn how oceans, elevation, and people can determine which types of biomes are found in different areas and check out the Earth's most massive and oldest organisms.

Biogeochemical Cycling and the Phosphorus Cycle

15. 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.

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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