About This Chapter
Below is a sample breakdown of the Ecology Overview chapter into a 5-day school week. Based on the pace of your course, you may need to adapt the lesson plan to fit your needs.
|Day||Topics||Key Terms and Concepts Covered|
|Monday|| Environment, levels of ecology and ecosystems|
Ecosystems, habitats and ecological niches
Food chains, trophic levels and energy flow in an ecosystem
Interspecific competition, competitive exclusion and niche differentiation
|Definition of ecology, environmental factors, abiotic factors, biosphere, ecosystem|
Habitat, predictor, niche, density-dependent and density-independent factors
Producers and consumers, trophic levels, food web, herbivores, carnivores, detritivores
Populations densities, definitions of interspecific competition, competitive exclusion and niche differentiation, fundamental and realized niches
|Tuesday|| Predator/prey interactions, camouflage, mimicry and warning coloration|
Carrying capacity, migration and dispersion
|Examples of camouflage, warning coloration, Batesian mimicry, Mullerian mimicry|
Symbiotic and mutualistic relationships, parasitism, amensalism
Population density, life history, survivorship curve, r/K selection theory
Exponential growth, carrying capacity, range, logistic population growth, dispersion, migration
|Wednesday|| Dispersal, colonization and island biogeography|
Conservation biology, habitat fragmentation and metapopulations
How introduced and invasive species alter ecological balance
|Dispersal mechanisms, zygotes, habitat fragmentation, island biogeography, immigration|
Conservation biology, habitat fragmentation and metapopulation theory
Primary and secondary succession, biomes, pioneer community, climax community
Native and introduced species, locally extinct, invasive species
|Thursday|| Desert, tropical rainforest, savanna, coral reefs|
Tundra, taiga, temperate grassland and coastlines
Biogeochemical cycling and the phosphorus cycle
The nitrogen cycle, acid rain, fossil fuels
| Various types of biomes, where they are found and factors that determine where they can exist|
Other types of biomes, including estuaries and extreme desert
Macronutrients, trace elements, phosphorus cycle, description of the biogeochemical cycle and the phosphorus cycle
Nitrogen fixation, nitrification, denitrification, eutrophication, example of the nitrogen cycle
|Friday||Fossil fuels, greenhouse gases, global warming|
The carbon cycle, long-term carbon storage
Human influence on the environment
|Impact of rising levels of greenhouse gases, global warming, how humans have impacted the carbon cycle|
Definition of the carbon cycle, photosynthesis, cellular respiration
Consequences of human intervention into the ecosystem, such as global climate change, loss of habitats and overharvesting
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. 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. Human Impacts on the Environment
The human population continues to grow, but the size of Earth and the resources available for our use are limited. Humans greatly impact the world around them, and our actions can and often do have dramatic and long-lasting consequences.
20. Human Environmental Impact & Ecological Conservation
The Earth has only so much space for us and our non-human neighbors. In this lesson, we will learn about how humans impact the environment, what causes habitat fragmentation, and what ecological conservation can do to help.
21. What is a Food Chain? - Examples, Overview
Energy is never created nor destroyed, but it can be passed from one organism to another. A food chain shows how this energy flow occurs. This lesson will define what a food chain represents, go through specific examples of food chains, and compare and contrast a food chain with a food web.
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