Ecology and the Biosphere Resources
Ecology is the study of the interactions of living organisms with their environment. One core goal of ecology is to understand the distribution and abundance of living things in the physical environment. Attainment of this goal requires the integration of scientific disciplines inside and outside of biology, such as mathematics, statistics, biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology, evolution, biodiversity, geology, and climatology.
Learning Objectives (Biology II TAGs)
1. Explain how regulatory mechanisms at the level of the whole organism ensure
balance in living systems that interact continuously with their environments; compare regulatory mechanisms within and across species.* (III)
2. Describe the relationship between life forms and their environment and ecosystems.
Recommended Textbook Resources
OpenStax: Biology 2e
Ecology is the study of how organisms interact with their environment. Within the discipline of ecology, researchers work at four general levels, which sometimes overlap. These levels are organism, population, community, and ecosystem. At the organismal level, researchers are interested in the adaptations that enable individuals to live in specific habitats. These adaptations can be morphological, physiological, and behavioral. The study of population ecology focuses on the number of individuals in an area and how and why population size changes over time. Community ecologists are interested in the interactions within and among species, the processes driving these interactions, and the consequences of these interactions. Ecosystem biologists ask questions about how nutrients and energy are stored and how they move among organisms and through the surrounding atmosphere, soil, and water.
Student Assessment Activities
Assessment Activity #1:
Distribute the “Global Climate Change: What Does it Look Like?” case study to class ~1 week prior to in-class case study time. Have students get into groups of 3-4 students or assign students into groups of 3-4 students. Have students discuss the case study amongst their group. Each group submits a paper with their respective group’s answers to each of the questions.
You can also distribute the case study part by part so the case study work can encompass several weeks (weeks dependent on how often class meets, etc.). Give students ~20-30 minutes per class to work on the respective part.
Or this case study can be distributed as the instructor sees fit.
Access the case study by using this link - http://sciencecases.lib.buffalo.edu/cs/collection/detail.asp?case_id=624&id=624
Assessment Activity #2:
Have students prepare the review questions and critical thinking questions at the end Chapter 44. Put them into groups and have them discuss.
You can also have them prepare and turn in these questions for a homework grade.