About This Chapter
Who's it for?
This unit of our High School Biology Homeschool course will benefit any student who is trying to learn about ecological processes. There is no faster or easier way to learn about ecology and the environment. Among those who would benefit are:
- Students who require an efficient, self-paced course of study to learn the difference between environment and ecosystem, how energy flows through an ecosystem, types of symbiotic relationships, how ecological succession works, and types of biomes.
- Homeschool parents looking to spend less time preparing lessons and more time teaching.
- Homeschool parents who need a biology curriculum that appeals to multiple learning types (visual or auditory).
- Gifted students and students with learning differences.
How it works:
- Students watch a short, fun video lesson that covers a specific unit topic.
- Students and parents can refer to the video transcripts to reinforce learning.
- Short quizzes and an ecology and the environment unit exam confirm understanding or identify any topics that require review.
Ecology and the Environment Unit Objectives:
- Explain the difference between ecosystems and the environment.
- Define habitat, and describe how it fits into an ecosystem.
- Describe the role of food chains and trophic levels in the energy flow of an ecosystem.
- Understand the role of niche differentiation in interspecific competition and competitive exclusion.
- Explore the role of camouflage, mimicry, and warning coloration in predator/prey interactions.
- Define the following symbiotic relationships: mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism.
- Discuss the roles of density, survivorship, and life histories in populations.
- Examine how carrying capacity, migration, and dispersion influence a species' maximum growth.
- Explain the theory of island biogeography, and the role played by dispersal and colonization of species.
- Discover how conservation biology is applied to instances of habitat fragmentation and the theory of metapopulations.
- Look at the process of ecological succession, from pioneer to climax communities.
- Detail how introduced and invasive species alter ecological balance.
- Describe the characteristics of the following biomes: desert, tropical rainforest, savanna, and coral reef.
- Name the characteristics of the following biomes: tundra, taiga, temperate grassland, and coastlines.
- Explain how elements move through the biogeochemical cycle and phosphorus cycle.
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.
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Other chapters within the High School Biology: Homeschool Curriculum course
- Science Vocabulary & Basics: Homeschool Currilum
- Science Lab Skills: Homeschool Curriculum
- Inorganic Chemistry Review: Homeschool Curriculum
- Organic Chemistry Introduction: Homeschool Curriculum
- Functions & Reactions of Enzymes: Homeschool Curriculum
- Cell Biology: Homeschool Curriculum
- Requirements of Biological Systems: Homeschool Curriculum
- Cell Communication: Homeschool Curriculum
- Metabolic Biochemistry: Homeschool Curriculum
- Cell Division: Homeschool Curriculum
- Nucleic Acids: Homeschool Curriculum
- DNA Replication: Homeschool Curriculum
- Transcription & Translation: Homeschool Curriculum
- Principles of Heredity: Homeschool Curriculum
- Genetic Mutations: Homeschool Curriculum
- DNA Technology & Genomics: Homeschool Curriculum
- Bacterial Biology: Homeschool Curriculum
- Introduction to Viruses: Homeschool Curriculum
- The Origin of the Universe: Homeschool Curriculum
- Geologic Time: Homeschool Curriculum
- Evolution Overview: Homeschool Curriculum
- The Classification of Organisms: Homeschool Curriculum
- Plant Biology: Homeschool Curriculum
- Plant Reproduction & Growth: Homeschool Curriculum
- Introduction to Fungi: Homeschool Curriculum
- Introduction to Invertebrates: Homeschool Curriculum
- Introduction to Vertebrates: Homeschool Curriculum
- The Circulatory & Respiratory Systems: Homeschool Curriculum
- The Immune & Endocrine Systems: Homeschool Curriculum
- Animal Reproduction & Development: Homeschool Curriculum
- Human Reproductive Systems: Homeschool Curriculum
- The Environmental Impact of Humans: Homeschool Curriculum
- Animal Behavior: Homeschool Curriculum
- Molecular Biology Lab Techniques: Homeschool Curriculum
- Analyzing Scientific Data: Homeschool Curriculum