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Unit Ecology AP

Page history last edited by Shu-Yee Chen 7 years ago

Unit: Ecology



Big Idea:

Biological systems interact, and these systems and their interactions possess complex properties.


Enduring Understanding:

4.A.5: Communities are composed of populations of organisms that interact in complex ways.

4.A.6: Interactions among living systems and with their environment result in the movement of matter and energy.

4.B.3: Interactions between and within populations influence patterns of species distribution and abundance. 

4.B.4: Distribution of local and global ecosystems changes over time.

4.C.3: The level of variation in a population affects population dynamics.

4.C.4: The diversity of species within an ecosystem may influence the stability of the ecosystem. 


Required Reading:

  • Campbell: Chapter 56, 52, 53, 54, 55


    • Human Population Grows Up by Joel E. Cohen

    • Belly Button Mystery by Rob Dunn

    • Current Environmental Issues Presented by students 


Learning Objectives:By the end of this unit, you should be able to.... 


Describe the three main levels to assess when thinking about biodiversity. (56.1)


Explain the four major threats to biodiversity and give examples of each. (56.1)


Explain how extinction vortex occurs. (56.2)


Provide examples of how conservation biology can be a complicated process. (56.2) 


Describe habitat fragmentation and the issue associated with it. Provide suggestions to sustain biodiversity in certain biodiversity hot spots. (56.3) (56.5)


Explain ways that human activities can affect environment drastically, including Greenhouse effect, Ozone depletion, Acid rain, desertification, deforestation, pollution, and reduction to biodiversity. (56.4)  

7. Use life tables, survivorship curves, and reproductive tables to explain population changes. (53.1)
8. Explain why the population size, density, distribution pattern, and age structure are all important factors to consider when studying a population. (53)
9. Compare and contrast exponential growth and logistic growth in relation to a population. Explain ways the graphs can be changed given a specific population and its environment. (53.2/53.3) 
10. Explain the validity of the data collected based on the sample technique and the size of the population. (52.1) 
11.  For Chapter 52, See the concept check questions and be able to identify the major biomes when given characteristics/data related to the biomes.  (52) 
12.  Use examples to explain how interspecific interactions are classified and what effects they have on the species involved. (54.1)
13.  Explain why and how resource partitioning occurs as a result of competition and natural selection. (54.1)  
14.  Use mathematical model to describe species richness and relative abundance to determine the stability of a biological community. (54.2)  
15. Use the energetic hypothesis model and the dynamic stability hypothesis model to explain trophic structures. (54.2)
16. Predict the impact of different species within a community and explain the effect it has when certain species are removed from the ecosystem. (54.2) 
17. Analyze the type of control (Bottom-Up vs. Top-Down) within a community and what actions can be done to solve an ecological problem within that community. (54.2
18. Explain how disturbances contribute to specie diversity and characterize how early species facilitate later species in succession. (54.3) 
19. Interpret graphs of how biogeographic factors can affect community diversity. (54.4)
20. Explain the effects of pathogen on a community and provide suggestions to monitor and control pathogens within a community. (54.5)
21. Utilize the laws of conservation of energy and conservation of mass to explain how energy and matter moves through the trophic levels within an ecosystem. (55.1)
22. Distinguish between gross primary production and net primary production. (55.2)
23. Compare and contrast productivity in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and describe the limiting nutrients for each ecosystem. (55.2)
24. Use the model of trophic efficiency to predict the amount of energy available for organisms in a community. (55.3)
25. Describe the four nutrient reservoirs and the process that transfer the elements between reservoirs. (55.4) 
26. Explain the important organisms that play key roles in the nutrient cycles. (55.4)
27. Be able to write and interpret the equation for photosynthesis and respiration and explain how these processes play a role in the cycles of matter. (55.4)
28. Explain the difference between bioremediation and biological augmentation and use the concept to suggest possible solutions for an ecosystem. (55.5)





Below is a list of vocabularyterms used in this unit. By the end of the unit, you will be able to write a working definition of each term and correctly use each term. 


endangered species threatened species introduced species
extinction vortex minimum viable population effective population size
movement corridor biodiversity hot spot zoned reserve
biological magnification greenhouse effect sustainable development
density dispersion life tables
survivorship curve reproductive table exponential growth
carrying capacity logistic growth semelparous
iteroparous k-selection r-selection
density-dependent dnsity-independent metapopulation
age structure ecological footprint climate
macroclimate abiotic biotic
microclimate climographs biomes
disturbance thermocline dispersal
interspecific interactions competition (competitive exclusion principle)  predation
herbivory symbiosis facilitation
parasitism mutualism commensalism
competitive exclusion resource partitioning niche
species diversity biomass trophic structure
food chain food web energetic hypothesis
dominant species keystone species ecosystem engineers
bottom-up model top-down model intermediate disturbance hypothesis
succession primary succession secondary succession
species-area curve pathogens zoonotic pathogens
ecosystem conservation of mass primary production (gross, net)
net ecosystem production production efficiency trophic efficiency
bioremediation biological augmentation  





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