Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • Animal Behavior
  • Community Ecology
  • OSC0032
  • Population Ecology
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    Population and Community Ecology Resources


    Populations are dynamic entities. Populations consist all of the species living within a specific area, and populations fluctuate based on a number of factors: seasonal and yearly changes in the environment, natural disasters such as forest fires and volcanic eruptions, and competition for resources between and within species. Populations rarely, if ever, live in isolation from populations of other species. In most cases, numerous species share a habitat. The interactions between these populations play a major role in regulating population growth and abundance. All populations occupying the same habitat form a community: populations inhabiting a specific area at the same time. The number of species occupying the same habitat and their relative abundance is known as species diversity. Behavior is the change in activity of an organism in response to a stimulus. Behavioral biology is the study of the biological and evolutionary bases for such changes.

    Learning Objectives

    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


    3. Describe the different types of relationships that exist between living organisms.*

    4. Explain how populations grow and how this can be described mathematically. 

    6. Describe and explain various types of animal behavior.*

    7. Describe advantages and disadvantages of social behavior. 




    Recommended Textbook Resources

    Chapter 45: Population and Community EcologyBiology 2e

    OpenStax: Biology 2e

    Chapter 45, Population and Community Ecology, covers population ecology including demographics, life histories, population growth, population dynamics, and population regulation. It also covers community ecology which includes interspecific interactions, defense mechanisms, and community dynamics. Chapter 45 also covers behavioral biology which includes innate and learned behaviors, movement and migration behaviors, communication, and courtship behaviors. 

    Student Assessment Activities

    Student Assessment Activities are below; instructors can also view the Population and Community Ecology Activity #1 Google Doc and the Population and Community Ecology Activity #2 Google Doc.

    Project 1:

    Distribute the “The Case for the Missing Sea Otters” 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. 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. 

    "The Case of the Missing Sea Otters" Case Study


    Project 2: 

    Have students prepare the review questions and critical thinking questions at the end of Chapter 45. Put them into groups and have them discuss. 

    You can also have them prepare and turn in these questions for a homework grade.