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Ch 21: Ecology

About This Chapter

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

Ecology

Ecology is the study of the environment. While it may seem cut and dry, ecology actually covers a range of interesting topics, from food chains to vectors. Let our ecology instructors guide you through lessons designed to help you understand what the environment consists of, changes that happen in the environment, and different ecosystems within the environment. After completing this chapter, you should be able to identify:

  • The levels of ecology
  • Energy flow in ecosystems
  • Different aspects of populations, including survivorship, dispersion and growth
  • Predator and prey relationships

VideoObjective
The Environment, Levels of Ecology and Ecosystems Learn about concepts like population, community, the biosphere and abiotic factors.
Food Chains, Trophic Levels and Energy Flow in Ecosystem Explore the concept of the food chain, including discussions on producers, consumers and decomposers.
Populations: Density, Survivorship and Life History See how density, life history and the survivorship curve relate to populations.
Carrying Capacity, Migration and Dispersion Discover how exponential growth, carry capacity, logistic population growth, range and immigration relate to the population.
Dispersal, Colonization and Island Biogeography Explore terms related to the title topics, such as immigration, species, extinction and native.
Conservation Biology, Habitat Fragmentation, and Metapopulations In addition to the title topics, study wildlife corridors.
Ecological Succession: From Pioneer to Climax Communities Analyze the change in an ecological community's species structure.
Interspecific Competition, Competitive Exclusion & Niche Differentiation Examine an ecological community, including aspects like predator, prey, camouflage and mimicry.
Predator/Prey Interactions, Camouflage, Mimicry and Warning Coloration Study different ways prey and predators interact, including the use of things, like camouflage and mimicry, by prey to protect themselves against predators.
Symbiotic Relationships: Mutualism, Commensalism, & Parasitism Explore the ideas of competition, host, parasite, symbiosis mutualism, commensalism and amensalism.
Social Behavior: The Cost-Benefit of Altruism and Kin Selection See how the concepts of cost-benefit, altruism, kin selection, territory and community relate to social behavior.
Vectors Examine biological vectors and pathogens, along with common arthropod vectors and vectored diseases.

10 Lessons in Chapter 21: Ecology
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.

Food Chains, Trophic Levels and Energy Flow in an Ecosystem

2. 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

3. 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

4. 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

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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

9. 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

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.

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