Ecology Unit Objectives Essential Question

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Advanced Placement Biology                                                                   Mr. Dixon

                                            Ecology Unit Objectives

Essential Question:

How can we better understand the nature of life on earth by studying the interrelationships among
organisms, species, and the non-living environment?

By the conclusion of this unit, you should be able to:
Chapter 50: The Scope of Ecology
  1.   Define ecology and identify the two features of organisms that ecologists try to explain. Discuss examples
       of experiments that examine these features.
  2.   Distinguish between the abiotic and biotic components of the environment.
  3.   Describe the relationship between ecology and evolutionary biology.
  4.   Distinguish among organismal ecology, population ecology, community ecology, ecosystem ecology, and
       landscape ecology.
  5.   Define the precautionary principle and illustrate its usefulness with regard to the ecological issues facing
Factors Affecting Distributions of Organisms
  6.   Describe the flowchart of inquiry used to determine what limits the geographic distribution of a particular
  7.   Describe the problem of introduced species and the specific problems posed by the introduction of African
       bees and zebra mussels.
  8.   Explain the "tens rule."
  9.   Explain how habitat selection can limit the range of otherwise suitable habitats.
  10. Describe and illustrate biotic and abiotic factors that affect the distribution of organisms.
  11. Explain how climate affects the geographic distribution of organisms.
  12. Define and illustrate the concept of a microclimate.
  13. Explain how the retreat of North American glaciers 16,000 years ago influenced the distribution of trees.
Aquatic and Terrestrial Biomes
  14. Distinguish among the various zones found in aquatic biomes.
  15. Define and compare the many types of freshwater and marine biomes.
  16. Describe the characteristics of the major terrestrial biomes: tropical forest, savanna, desert, chaparral,
      temperate grassland, temperate forest, taiga, and tundra.
The Spatial Scale of Distributions
  17. Explain why the distribution of a species is often not easily accounted for.
Chapter 51: Introduction to Behavior and Behavioral Ecology
 1.   Define behavior.
 2.   Distinguish between proximate and ultimate questions about behavior.
 3.   Explain how genes and the environment contribute to behavior. Explain what is unique about innate
 4.   Define fixed action patterns and give examples in fish and humans.
 5.   Explain how mayflies are threatened by an inappropriate response to an environmental stimulus.
 6.   Describe the evolutionary basis for behavioral ecology. Explain why these adaptations may result in
      suboptimal behavior.
 7.   Explain why it is useful to use evolutionary principles as a guide to behavioral research.
 8.   Explain the optimal foraging theory and illustrate it with examples.
 9.   Explain how learning, maturation, and habituation influence behavior.
 10. Define imprinting and explain the importance of the sensitive period. Illustrate these concepts using
     examples from bird song.
 11. Distinguish between classical conditioning and operant conditioning.
 12. Define play and describe several possible adaptive advantages of this behavior.
Animal Cognition
 13. Describe the ultimate bases of learning.
 14. Describe and illustrate with examples kinesis, taxis, landmarks, cognitive maps, and migration.
 15. Explain the problems of defining and studying consciousness.
Social Behavior and Sociobiology
 16. Define sociobiology and describe the development of this field of behavior.
 17. Define agonistic behavior, dominance hierarchy, and territories; give examples of each.
 18. Describe the typical circumstances associated with the defense of territories.
 19. Describe the advantages of courtship.
 20. Explain how parental investment influences the different mating behaviors of males and females.
 21. Define and distinguish between monogamous and polygamous mating relationships and between polygyny
     and polyandry.
 22. Describe how the certainty of paternity influences the development of mating systems.
 23. Describe the various modes of communication.
 24. Relate an animal's mode of communication to its lifestyle.
 25. Explain how honeybees communicate information about the location of sources of food.
 26. Discuss why altruistic behavior might evolve.
  27. Relate the coefficient of relatedness to the concept of altruism.
  28. Define Hamilton's rule and the concept of kin selection.
  29. Define reciprocal altruism.
  30. Describe the premise of sociobiology.
Chapter 52: Characteristics of Populations
  1.   Define the scope of population ecology
  2.   Define and distinguish between density and dispersion.
  3.   Explain how ecologists measure the density of a species.
  4.   Describe conditions that may result in the clumped dispersion, uniform dispersion, and random dispersion
       of populations.
  5.   Describe the characteristics of populations that exhibit Type I, Type II, and Type III survivorship curves.

Life History Traits
  7.   Define and distinguish between semelparity and iteroparity.
  8.   Explain how limited resources affect life histories.
  9.   Give examples of the trade-off between reproduction and survival.
Population Growth
  10. Compare the geometric model of population growth with the logistic model.
  11. Explain how an environment's carrying capacity affects the intrinsic rate of increase of a population.
  12. Distinguish between r-selected populations and K-selected populations.
  13. Explain how a "stressful" environment may alter the standard r-selection and K-selection characteristics.
Population-Limiting Factors
  14. Explain how density-dependent factors affect population growth.
  15. Explain how density-dependent and density-independent factors may work together to control a
      population's growth.
  16. Explain how predation can affect life history through natural selection.
  17. Describe several boom-and-bust population cycles, noting possible causes and consequences of the

Human Population Growth
  18. Describe the history of human population growth.
  19. Define the demographic transition.
  20. Compare the age structures of Italy, Kenya, and the United States. Describe the possible consequences for
      each country.
  21. Describe the problems associated with estimating Earth's carrying capacity.
Chapter 53: What Is a Community?
 1.   Explain the relationship between species richness and relative abundance.
 2.   Define and compare the individualistic hypothesis of H.A. Gleason and the interactive hypothesis of F.E.
      Clements with respect to communities.
Interspecific Interactions and Community Structure
 3.   List four possible specific interactions and explain how the relationships affect the population densities of
      the two species.
 4.   Explain how interspecific competition may affect community structure.
 5.   Describe the competitive exclusion principle and explain how competitive exclusion may affect community
 6.   Define an ecological niche and restate the competitive exclusion principle using the niche concept.
 7.   Explain how resource partitioning can affect species diversity.
 8.   Define and compare predation, herbivory, and parasitism.
 9.   Relate some specific predatory adaptations to the properties of the prey.
 10. Describe the defense mechanisms that evolved in plants to reduce predation by herbivores.
 11. Explain how cryptic coloration and warning coloration aid an animal in avoiding predators.
 12. Distinguish between Batesian mimicry and Mllerian mimicry.
 13. Describe how predators use mimicry to obtain prey.
 14. Distinguish among endoparasites, ectoparasites, and pathogens.
 15. Distinguish among parasitism, mutualism, and commensalism.
 16. Distinguish between a food chain and a food web. Describe the factors that transform food chains into food
 17. Describe two ways to simplify food webs.
 18. Summarize two hypotheses that explain why food chains are relatively short.
 19. Explain how dominant and keystone species exert strong control on community structure. Give several
     examples of each.
 20. Describe and distinguish between the bottom-up and top-down models of community organization. Also
     describe some models that are intermediate between those two extremes.
Disturbance and Community Structure
 21. Describe how disturbances affect community structure and composition. Illustrate this point with several
     well-studied examples.
 22. Give examples of humans as widespread agents of disturbance.
 23. Describe and distinguish between primary and secondary succession.
 24. Describe and distinguish among facilitation, inhibition, and toleration.
 25. Describe the process and pattern of succession on moraines in Glacier Bay.
Biogeographic Factors Affecting the Biodiversity of Communities
 26. Describe and distinguish between species richness and relative abundance.
 27. Describe the data necessary to measure biodiversity.
 28. Describe and explain how species richness varies along the equatorial-polar gradient.
 29. Define the species-area curve.
 30. Explain how species richness on islands varies according to island size and distance from the mainland.
Chapter 54: What Is the Ecosystem Approach to Ecology?
 1.   Describe the relationship between autotrophs and heterotrophs in an ecosystem.
 2.   Explain how decomposition connects all trophic levels in an ecosystem.
 3.   Explain how the first and second laws of thermodynamics apply to ecosystems.
Primary Production in Ecosystems
 4.   Explain why the amount of energy used in photosynthesis is so much less than the amount of solar energy
      that reaches Earth.
 5.   Define and compare gross primary production and net primary production.
 6.   Define and compare biomass and standing crop.
 7.   Compare primary productivity in marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems.
Secondary Production in Ecosystems
 8.   Explain why energy is said to flow rather than cycle within ecosystems. Use the example of insect
      caterpillars to illustrate energy flow.
 9.   Define, compare, and illustrate the concepts of production efficiency and trophic efficiency.
 10. Distinguish between energy pyramids and biomass pyramids. Explain why both relationships are in the
     form of pyramids. Explain the special circumstances of inverted biomass pyramids.
 11. Explain why food pyramids usually have only four or five trophic levels
 12. Define the pyramid of numbers.
 13. Explain why worldwide agriculture could feed more people if all humans consumed only plant material.
 14. Explain the green-world hypothesis. Describe six factors that keep herbivores in check.
The Cycling of Chemical Elements in Ecosystems
 15. Describe the four nutrient reservoirs and the processes that transfer the elements between reservoirs.
 16. Explain why it is difficult to trace elements through biogeochemical cycles.
 17. Describe the hydrologic water cycle.
 18. Describe the nitrogen cycle and explain the importance of nitrogen fixation to all living organisms.
 19. Describe the phosphorus cycle and explain how phosphorus is recycled locally in most ecosystems.
 20. Explain how decomposition affects the rate of nutrient cycling in ecosystems.
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