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BIO102: Introduction to Evolutionary Biology and Ecology

Unit 8: Ecosystems   The term “ecosystem” is all-encompassing.  It can be used to describe all the living and non-living things in an environment and is therefore a relative term.  It can describe a park that covers a city block, or an entire tropical island that covers several thousand square miles!  You need to understand the flow of energy and matter within an environment in order to truly understand what an ecosystem is all about.  Most often, this flow of matter is cyclical, which explains why we talk about “the carbon cycle,” “the nitrogen cycle,” and so forth.  The flow of energy is usually unidirectional (that is, from the sun to the “top” carnivores) and is typically represented by a food chain or food web, terms that you have most likely known since elementary school.

Unit 8 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 6.75 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 8.1: 1.5 hours
 
☐    Subunit 8.2: 1.5 hours
 
☐    Subunit 8.3: 1.75 hours
 
☐    Subunit 8.4: 1.5 hours

☐    Assessment: 0.5 hours

Unit8 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Explain what processes will be affected by a disruption in the water cycle, carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, or phosphorous cycle. - Distinguish between autotrophs and heterotrophs, even in unfamiliar situations (for example, an ecosystem involving chemosynthetic bacteria). - Explain why there are fewer large secondary consumers than there are primary producers. - Demonstrate an understanding of the complexity of most food webs and the disproportionate effects that some species can have on them (for example, keystone species). - Demonstrate an understanding of the effects of temperature and humidity on biodiversity in land biomes. - Identify different types of marine biomes, those where life is more abundant, those where it is more diverse, and why.

8.1 Flow of Matter: Water Cycle, Carbon Cycle, Nitrogen Cycle, and Phosphorus Cycle   - Reading: Dr. Michael J. Farabee’s Online Biology Book: Chapter 57 “The Biosphere and Mass Extinctions” Link: Dr. Michael J. Farabee’s Online Biology Book: “Chapter 57: The Biosphere and Mass Extinctions” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and read the section
titled “Biogeochemical Cycles.”  

 Reading this section and taking notes should take approximately 30
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.2 Flow of Energy: Heterotroph vs. Autotroph, Food Chain, Ecological Pyramid   - Reading: Dr. Michael J. Farabee's Online Biology Book: “Chapter 56: Community and Ecosystem Dynamics” Link: Dr. Michael J. Farabee's Online Biology Book: “Chapter 56: Community and Ecosystem Dynamics” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read the section entitled “Ecosystems and
Communities.”  

 Reading this section and taking notes should take approximately 30
minutes.  

 *Note: The lecture that covers the material in Subunit 8.2,
Professor Stearns’ “Ecological Communities,” also covered Subunit
7.3.5.  Please look under Subunit 7.3.5 for the link to watch this
lecture.*  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Activity: Robert E. Ricklefs and Gary L. Miller’s Ecology: “Flash Card Supplement” Link: Robert E. Ricklefs and Gary L. Miller’s Ecology: “Flash Card Supplement” (Shockwave)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above and test your knowledge of ecosystem concepts using the flashcards for Chapters 10, 14, 15, 16, and 20.

    Completing this activity should take approximately 1 hour.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

8.3 Land Ecosystems and Biomes   - Reading: Dr. Michael J. Farabee’s Online Biology Book: “Chapter 56: Community and Ecosystem Dynamics” Link: Dr. Michael J. Farabee’s Online Biology Book: “Chapter 56: Community and Ecosystem Dynamics” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read the sections titled “Classification of
Communities” and “Community Density and Stability.”  This reading
will cover the material in Subunit 8.4.  

 Reading these sections and taking notes should take approximately
45 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

8.4 Marine Ecosystems   - Web Media: Chris Huh’s “Oceanic Divisions” Link: Chris Huh’s “Oceanic Divisions” (PNG)

 Instructions: This diagram of marine zones will complement the
description you read in the material in subunit 8.3.  

 Reviewing this diagram and taking notes should take approximately 5
minutes.  

 Terms of Use: The material above is in the public domain.
  • Reading: NOAA Ocean Explorer: Steve Gaines and Satie Airame’s “Upwelling” Link: NOAA Ocean Explorer: Steve Gaines and Satie Airame’s “Upwelling” (PDF)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above and read the section titled “Effects of Upwelling.”  Study the diagrams to understand more about the upwelling process, which is vitally important in maintaining marine ecosystems.

    Reading this section and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This material is in the public domain.  It can be viewed in its original form here.

  • Reading: Michael J. Farabee’s Online Biology Book: Chapter 56: “Community and Ecosystem Dynamics” Link: Michael J. Farabee’s Online Biology Book“Chapter 56: Community and Ecosystem Dynamics” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read the chapter, which covers the marine ecosystem, as a review.

    Reading this chapter and taking notes should take approximately 1 hour.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

Unit 8 Review and Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 8 Review” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 8 Review” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please click on the link above and work through the
questions. When you are finished, check your work against The Saylor
Foundation’s [“Unit 8 Review Answer
Key”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/BIO102_Unit_8_Review-ANSWER-KEY-FINAL.pdf)
(PDF).  

 Completing this assessment should take approximately 30 minutes.
  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation's “Unit 8 Assessment” Link: The Saylor Foundation's “Unit 8 Assessment” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please complete the linked assessment.
     
    You must be logged into your Saylor Foundation School account in order to access this quiz.  If you do not yet have an account, you will be able to create one, free of charge, after clicking the link.