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BIO309: Zoology

Unit 4: Animal Ecology   In this final unit, we will learn how animals fit into the global ecology. Remember that ecology is the biological study of organisms’ interactions with their environments. The abundance and distribution of animals depends on abiotic factors, such as climate and habitat, as well as biotic factors, such as species’ interactions with other organisms. In this unit you will learn about the factors affecting global animal distributions, the interrelationships among organisms within communities, and the relationship of animals to energy and carbon cycles.

Unit 4 Time Advisory
Note: This unit will take you roughly 11.5 hours to complete

☐    Subunit 4.1: 5.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.1.1: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 4.1.2: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 4.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 4.4: 2 hours

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • distinguish between logistic and exponential growth and know when one type of growth would occur vs. the other (e.g. density-dependent vs. density-independent growth);
  • identify factors that influence carrying capacity and show that they understand that the carrying capacity for a single population can change over time depending on the presence/abundance of resources;
  • identify the point of maximum sustainable yield within a population based on its size and growth rate;
  • describe and identify the differences between K- and r-selected species;
  • identify the type of migration behavior that would occur under given conditions;
  • explain and describe the effects that competition and predation have on populations’ sizes, distribution, and niches;
  • discuss the complexity of most food webs, including the disproportionate effects that some species can have on them (e.g. keystone species) and the reduction of assimilation efficiency up a food chain;
  • compare and contrast the relative levels of biodiversity in each biome and explain what traits of biomes cause these differences in biodiversity;
  • identify which reproductive isolating mechanism(s) would be operating under given circumstances; and
  • identify where carbon is sequestered within a system, how/where it is released, and its effect in the environment.

4.1 Global Ecology   4.1.1. Animal Dispersion around the World   - Reading: Estrella Mountain Community College: Dr. Michael Farabee’s The Online Biology Book: “Community and Ecosystem Dynamics” Link: Estrella Mountain Community College: Dr. Michael Farabee’s The Online Biology Book: “Community and Ecosystem Dynamics (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read from “Classification of Communities” up to but not including the section “Changes in Communities over Time.” 
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Blue Planet Biomes: “World Biomes” Link: Blue Planet Biomes: “World Biomes (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the entire webpage. Also, explore the map, and read more information about each different type of biome by clicking on the names of each biome (i.e. Tundra, Taiga, Grasslands, etc.) in the map’s key. This resource covers the topics outlined in subunits 4.1.1.1-4.1.1.6.
     
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  • Reading: University of California, Berkeley’s Museum of Paleontology: “The World’s Biomes” Link: University of California, Berkeley’s Museum of Paleontology: “The World’s Biomes (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the entire webpage, and click on the image for each biome to read more. Pay particular attention to the “Freshwater” and “Marine” sections. The “Desert,” “Forest,” “Grassland,” and “Tundra” sections will reinforce what you have learned in the Blue Planet Biome readings. This resource will cover the topics in subunits 4.1.1.1 - 4.1.1.7.
     
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4.1.1.1. Rainforest   Note: This topic is covered by the readings in subunit 4.1.1

4.1.1.2. Deciduous Forest   Note: This topic is covered by the readings in subunit 4.1.1.

4.1.1.3. Grassland   Note: This topic is covered by the readings in subunit 4.1.1.

4.1.1.4. Coniferous Forest   Note: This topic is covered by the readings in subunit 4.1.1.

4.1.1.5. Tundra   Note: This topic is covered by the readings in subunit 4.1.1.

4.1.1.6. Desert   Note: This topic is covered by the readings in subunit 4.1.1.

4.1.1.7. Marine and Freshwater   Note: This topic is covered by the readings in subunit 4.1.1.

4.1.2 Animal Abundance and Distribution   4.1.2.1 Carrying Capacity   - Reading: Dr. John Kimball’s Biology Pages: “Checks on Population Growth” Link: Dr. John Kimball’s Biology Pages: “Checks on Population Growth (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read from “The Carrying Capacity of the Environment” to the end of the webpage. This will cover the material in 4.1.2.1 - 4.1.2.2.
 
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4.1.2.2 K- and r-Selected Species   Note: This topic is covered by the reading beneath subunit 4.1.2.1.

4.1.2.3 Factors that Affect Migration   - Reading: National Parks Service: “Migration Basics” Link: National Parks Service: “Migration Basics (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this page in its entirety.
 
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4.1.2.4 Invasion of New Habitat   - Reading: The Nature Conservancy’s “The Threat of Invasive Species” and The Habitable Planet’s “Invasion by Exotic Species” Link: The Nature Conservancy’s “The Threat of Invasive Species (HTML) and The Habitable Planet’s “Invasion by Exotic Species (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read these pages in their entirety to learn about how species become invasive and what impact they have on native environments and species.
 
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4.2 Animal Communities   - Reading: Estrella Mountain Community College: Dr. Michael Farabee’s The Online Biology Book: “Population Ecology” Link: Estrella Mountain Community College: Dr. Michael Farabee’s The Online Biology Book: “Population Ecology (HTML)
 
Instructions: Scroll down to the section titled “Several Basic Controls Govern Population Size”; read from this section up to but not including “Population Decline and Extinction.” This reading will cover the topics outlined in subunits 4.2.1 - 4.2.5.

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displayed on the webpage above.
  • Lecture: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Stephen C. Stearns’ “Ecological Communities,” from Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior Link: YouTube: Yale University: Professor Stephen C. Stearns’ “Ecological Communities,” (YouTube) 
     
    Also available in: Flash, Quicktime, Transcript, MP3
     
    Instructions: Watch Lecture 28 “Ecological Communities”. Note that the terms “trophic cascades” and “trophic levels” refer to food webs and food chains. This reading will cover the topics outlined in subunits 4.2.1-4.2.5.

    Watching this video should take approximately 1 hour.
     
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  • Interactive Lab: The Habitable Planet’s “Ecology Lab” Link: The Habitable Planet’s “Ecology Lab (HTML and Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Click on the instructions for the first activity, “The Producers,” to understand the premise of the model. Read all steps, then click to open the simulator and run the model. This interactive lab will allow you to visualize the community interrelationships of niche partitioning and competition and see how these relationships are affected by predators (in this case, the introduction of an herbivore to the two-plant community).
     
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4.2.1 Competition   Note: This topic is covered in the reading beneath subunit 4.2.

4.2.2 Predation   Note: This topic is covered in the reading beneath subunit 4.2.

4.2.3 Symbiosis   Note: This topic is covered in the reading beneath subunit 4.2.

4.2.4 Niche Partitioning   Note: This topic is covered in the reading beneath subunit 4.2.

4.2.4.1 Specialization   Note: This topic is covered in the reading beneath subunit 4.2.

4.2.4.2 Generalization   Note: This topic is covered in the reading beneath subunit 4.2.

4.3 Speciation   - Reading: University of Michigan’s Global Change Course: “The Process of Speciation” Link: University of Michigan’s Global Change Course: “The Process of Speciation (HTML)
 
Instructions: Scroll down to “What is a Species?” and read from this section to the end of the webpage. This reading will cover topics outlined in subunits 4.3.1-4.3.4.
 
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4.3.1 Prezygotic Isolation Mechanisms   Note: This topic is covered in the reading beneath subunit 4.3.

4.3.2 Postzygotic Isolation Mechanisms   Note: This topic is covered in the reading beneath subunit 4.3.

4.3.3 Allopatric Speciation   - Reading: Dr. John Kimball’s Biology Pages: “Speciation” Link: Dr. John Kimball’s Biology Pages: “Speciation (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this entire webpage. This reading will cover topics in both subunits 4.3.3 and 4.3.4.
 
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4.3.4 Sympatric Speciation   Note: This topic is covered in the reading beneath subunit 4.3.3.

4.4 Resource Cycling   4.4.1 Energy Cycle   - Reading: Estrella Mountain Community College: Dr. Michael Farabee’s The Online Biology Book: “Community and Ecosystem Dynamics” Link: Estrella Mountain Community College: Dr. Michael Farabee’s The Online Biology Book: “Community and Ecosystem Dynamics (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the section “Ecosystems and Communities” in its entirety. Resource cycling is important to maintain sustainability of the biosphere. The trophic levels, biogeochemical cycles play a crucial role in resource cycling.
 
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  • Interactive Lab: The Habitable Planet’s “Ecology Lab” Link: The Habitable Planet’s “Ecology Lab (HTML and Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Click on the instructions for the second activity, “Food Web,” to understand the premise of the model. Read all steps, then click to open the simulator and run the model. This interactive lab will allow you to visualize the community dynamics of animals at different trophic levels in a food web.
     
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4.4.2 Carbon Cycle   - Reading: Dr. John Kimball’s Biology Pages: “The Carbon Cycle” Link: Dr. John Kimball’s Biology Pages: “The Carbon Cycle (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this page in its entirety.
 
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Unit 4 Assessment   - Assessment: Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 4 Quiz” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 4 Quiz (PDF)

 Instructions: Download the quiz linked above, and answer each
question before checking your answers against the Saylor
Foundation’s [“Unit 4 Quiz Answer
Key](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/BIO309-Unit-4-Answer-Key-FINAL.pdf)[”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/BIO309-Unit-4-Answer-Key-FINAL.pdf) (PDF)