An ecosystem in biology is the first level of organization that includes biotic and abiotic (non-living) components. Ecosystem types vary widely, and ecologists study their structure and dynamics through field work and computer-based modeling. Understanding how energy flows through and materials are cycled within ecosystems.
(BIOLOGY I: V. SYSTEMS SLOs and BIOLOGY II: II. STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION SLO’S, III. INFORMATION FLOW, EXCHANGE AND STORAGE, IV. PATHWAYS AND TRANSFORMATIONS OF ENERGY AND MATTER SLOs and V. SYSTEMS SLOs)
● Ecology of Ecosystems (BIO II: V-2. Describe the relationship between life forms and their environment and ecosystems. V-3. Describe the different types of relationships that exist between living organisms. V-5. Describe the basic principles of conservation biology.)
● Energy Flow through Ecosystems (BIO I: V-5. Describe the process of energy transfer from its source (the sun) through biological systems. BIO II: IV-1. 1. Explain how energy moves through an ecosystem.)
● Biogeochemical Cycles (BIO II: V-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) V-2. Describe the relationship between life forms and their environment and ecosystems. V-3. Describe the different types of relationships that exist between living organisms. V-5. Describe the basic principles of conservation biology.)
Recommended Textbook Resources
OpenStax: Biology 2e
This chapter includes an overview of basic ecosystem types and describes how energy flows through ecosystems. The energy flow section includes food webs as well as calculation of productivity, trophic efficiency, assimilation, depiction of ecological pyramids, ecosystem modeling and the concept of biomagnification. Processes and reservoirs for the water, nitrogen, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur are described in detail.
Student Assessment Activities
Review Evolution CONNECTION, Three-spined Stickleback in Chapter 46. Then visit the following HHMI Biointeractive website to complete an online lab. To begin the lab click on the “Launch Interactive” tab under the title.
Explore Food web dynamics by clicking on the following link. Under “Food web” click “Step 1” read, then click “Step 2”.
Review “How Organisms Acquire Energy in a Food Web” (Chapter 46.2) with a focus on chemoautotrophs and hydrothermal vent ecosystems. Prepare a food web for this ecosystem and appropriately label each trophic level with arrows depicting the pathway for energy transfer. Compare this food web to a marine ecosystem at the ocean surface.