UNIT 1 ECOSYSTEMS

1.1 Introduction to Ecosystems

  • 1.1a Predator-prey relationships; basic background information on ecosystems; how the availability of resources influences species interactions.
  • 1.1b Symbiotic relationships (mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism); how the availability of resources influences these relationships.
  • 1.1c Competition between species and within a single species; how resource partitioning helps reduce the negative impact of competition on species’ survival.

1.2 Terrestrial Biomes

  • 1.2a The global distribution and principal environmental aspects of major terrestrial biomes.
  • 1.2b The global distribution and principal environmental aspects of major terrestrial biomes.
  • 1.2c Human impact on terrestrial biomes.

1.3 Aquatic Biomes

  • 1.3a Freshwater biomes (streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes); freshwater biomes as a vital resource for drinking water.
  • 1.3b Marine biomes (oceans, coral reefs, marshland, and estuaries).
  • 1.3c Human impact on aquatic biomes.

1.4 The Carbon Cycle

  • 1.4a The movement of carbon between sources and sinks and through photosynthesis and respiration.
  • 1.4b Carbon cycling and sequestration; the role of decomposition and the burning of fossil fuels on the storage and release of carbon.

1.5 The Nitrogen Cycle

  • 1.5a The movement of nitrogen between sources and sinks through the processes of fixation, ammonification, nitrification, assimilation, and denitrification.
  • 1.5b The major processes of the nitrogen cycle, with a focus on reservoir interactions.

1.6 The Phosphorus Cycle

  • 1.6a The movement of phosphorous between terrestrial and aquatic sources and sinks; the concept of phosphorous as a limiting factor in biological systems.

1.7 The Hydrologic (Water) Cycle

  • 1.7a Following water through its cycle transformations of solid, liquid, and gaseous states; identifying sources, sinks, and transformation processes through the use of visual models.

1.8 Primary Productivity

  • 1.8a Primary productivity: The rate at which solar energy (sunlight) is converted into organic compounds via photosynthesis over a unit of time.
  • 1.8b Comparing the primary productivity of biomes.
  • 1.8c How to measure solar energy that is acquired and transferred by living organisms.

1.9 Trophic Levels

  • 1.9a How energy flows and matter cycles through trophic levels.
  • 1.9b How biogeochemical cycles are essential for life; how each cycle demonstrates the conservation of matter.

1.10 Energy Flow and the 10% Rule

  • 1.10a How energy decreases as it flows through ecosystems.

1.11 Food Chains and Food Webs

  • 1.11a Depicting the flow of energy and nutrients in two or more food chains; understanding a food web as a model of an interlocking pattern of food chains.
  • 1.11b How a trophic cascade results in both positive and negative impacts on food webs.
  • 1.11c Human impacts on food webs.

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