About This Chapter
Ecology & Environment - Chapter Summary
An ecosystem can be described as a complex system of the living elements of an environment, characterized by the many interactions between them. With this in mind, it's no wonder why ecology can be a complex subject to study. This chapter helps you improve your understanding of ecosystems, the various relationships between the living organisms that inhabit them and conservation biology. These lessons can help you:
- Define environment, ecosystem and ecology levels
- Detail habitats and ecological niches
- Share information about trophic levels and energy flow in ecosystems
- Understand the function of competition in ecosystems
- Describe patterns of predator/prey interactions
- Differentiate between mutualism, commensalism and parasitism
- Explain population density, carrying capacity and population dispersal
- Relate key information about conservation biology and ecological succession
- Explore levels of ecology and the various types of biomes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
Earning College Credit
Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.
To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page
Transferring credit to the school of your choice
Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.
Other chapters within the Biology: High School course
- Basic Terms & Skills in Biological Science
- Analyzing Scientific Data
- Inorganic and Organic Chemistry for High School Biology
- Enzyme Function, Interactions & Regulation
- Cell Biology
- Bacterial Biology Overview
- Intro to Viruses
- Metabolic Biochemistry for High School
- Cell Growth & The Process of Cell Division
- Nucleic Acids: DNA & RNA
- Requirements of Biological Systems
- The Transcription and Translation Process
- Mendelian Genetics & Mechanisms of Heredity
- Types & Effects of Genetic Mutations
- DNA Technology and Genomics
- Basic Molecular Biology Laboratory Techniques
- Geologic Time Scale
- Evolution Overview
- Plant Biology
- Plant Growth and Reproduction
- Introduction to Fungi
- Introduction to Invertebrates
- Introduction to Vertebrates
- Physiology: Circulatory, Respiratory, Digestive, Excretory, Muscuskeletal Systems
- Physiology: Nervous, Immune, Endocrine Systems
- Animal Reproduction & Development
- Animal Populations and Behaviors
- Teacher Resources for High School Biology
- Student Resources for High School Biology