About This Chapter
Population Ecology Basics - Chapter Summary
These short lessons outline important topics related to population ecology, including factors that influence population growth, how the food chain functions in an ecosystem and ways to predict ecosystem changes. Each lesson is followed by a multiple-choice quiz that you can use to assess if you're ready to move on in the chapter. Go back and review any topics that you need to in a video lesson by using the video tabs feature. If you need any help, you're welcome to contact a professional instructor for assistance. This chapter is designed to help you achieve the following objectives:
- Explain factors that limit population growth
- Describe carrying capacity within animal populations
- Predict changes in the ecosystem by using popularion graphs
- Define ecology producer, ecology consumer and decomposer
- Discuss trophic levels, food chains and energy flows within an ecosystem
- Give an example of an energy pyramid
- Explain the nitrogen and carbon cycles
- Analyze ecological succession
1. The Limiting Factors of Population Growth
Is it possible for any one population to grow so large it takes over the planet? In this lesson you will learn the answer to that question. You will learn about the limiting factors of population growth and how it controls population numbers.
2. Carrying Capacity within Animal Populations
How many animals can an ecosystem support? This is the question scientists ask themselves when they are trying to determine the carrying capacity of an area. Learn how scientists evaluate factors that limit carrying capacity.
3. Using Population Graphs to Predict Ecosystem Changes
Learn how to predict the changes in the population size of a species using predator-prey relationships, carry capacity, and population density. Don't worry if you're unfamiliar with any of these terms, since this lesson will also explain them and more.
4. Ecology Producer: Definition & Explanation
This lesson will define what a producer is and what its role is in an ecosystem. It will also discuss the different kinds of producers and give some specific examples of them.
5. Ecology Consumer: Definition & Explanation
This lesson will discuss the role of consumers in an ecosystem. It will describe their place in a food chain and how they interact with other organisms. Specific types of consumers will be presented.
6. What is a Decomposer? - Definition & Examples
Decomposers are an often overlooked part of the natural world, but their job is an important one. Learn what decomposers are, what role they have in the environment and how people use them.
7. 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.
8. What is an Energy Pyramid? - Definition & Examples
When organisms eat other organisms, energy is transferred. An energy pyramid can be used to diagram this flow of metabolic energy. Here we will examine the definition of an energy pyramid, look at some examples, and finish with a brief quiz.
9. 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.
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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