Ch 17: Ecology & the Environment

About This Chapter

In this chapter, become acquainted with topics related to ecology and the environment. You can gauge your knowledge of these environmental science concepts by using our self-assessment quizzes, which ask questions about important keywords, definitions, practical examples, and problem-solving.

Ecology & the Environment - Chapter Summary

When you study Earth science, you will no doubt review ecology and the environment, and this chapter can help you learn or brush up on these topics. The lessons cover a multitude of concepts, including techniques for studying living organisms, animal habitats and survival, ecological battles over resources, food webs, nitrogen fixation, and global climate change. At the end of the chapter, you should possess the skills and knowledge necessary to do the following:

  • Examine the inner workings of ecosystems, ecology levels, and the environment
  • Explain the significance of ecological niches, habitats, and ecosystems
  • Point out connections between adaptations in organisms and environmental changes
  • Offer examples of niche differentiation, competitive exclusion, and interspecific competition
  • Show how warning coloration, mimicry, and camouflage affect predator/prey interactions
  • Establish the characteristics of an ecosystem
  • Evaluate the purpose of the phosphorus cycle, carbon cycle and the nitrogen cycle
  • Identify characteristics that describe populations and factors that affect populations

We offer video lessons throughout many of the chapters on our site, and each video lesson is paired with its own lesson transcript. Transcripts are the word-for-word versions of the video lessons. They include all of the important details mentioned in the videos, such as explanations of concepts, vocabulary words, examples, and more. Many of our users read the transcripts after watching the videos, since it can help keep all the important information fresh in your mind.

14 Lessons in Chapter 17: Ecology & 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.

Environmental Changes & Adaptation in Organisms

3. Environmental Changes & Adaptation in Organisms

In this lesson, we will discuss what happens when an organism is forced to deal with environmental changes. You will learn what adaptation is and how organisms benefit from it.

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.

What Is an Ecosystem? - Definition & Explanation

7. What Is an Ecosystem? - Definition & Explanation

Similar to a car engine that is made up of multiple parts working together, an ecosystem has interacting parts that support a whole. But how do we define an ecosystem and what are the components they consist of?

Food Chains, Trophic Levels and Energy Flow in an Ecosystem

8. 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.

Three Types of Ecological Pyramids: Number, Biomass, & Energy

9. Three Types of Ecological Pyramids: Number, Biomass, & Energy

This lesson is on ecological pyramids. In this lesson, we'll go over what a ecological pyramid based on numbers, biomass, and energy looks like and give examples of each.

Cycles of Matter: The Nitrogen Cycle and the Carbon Cycle

10. Cycles of Matter: The Nitrogen Cycle and the Carbon Cycle

Matter is constantly cycled between living and nonliving parts of the environment. Processes like photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation allow the carbon and nitrogen cycles to regenerate needed substances by recycling Earth's atoms.

Phosphorus Cycle: Steps, Definition & Diagram

11. Phosphorus Cycle: Steps, Definition & Diagram

Phosphorus is an essential element to all living organisms. It is part of our DNA and RNA, and it forms the molecule ATP, which gives all living things energy. This lesson explains its importance and will walk you through the steps of the phosphorus cycle.

Populations: Density, Survivorship and Life Histories

12. 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.

How Birth, Immigration, Emigration & Death Affect Populations

13. How Birth, Immigration, Emigration & Death Affect Populations

Populations change based on the births, deaths, immigrations, and emigrations that occur within the group. These additions and subtractions all affect population size, but do so in different ways.

Global Environmental Issues: Types & Treaties

14. Global Environmental Issues: Types & Treaties

The following lesson defines and then discusses examples of global environmental issues, such as global climate change and pollution. A short quiz will follow the lesson to check your understanding.

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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