ECOLOGY
 
 
1. Define and explain the difference between a population, community, and ecosystem, and biosphere.
 
2. Know the four parts of the ecosystem.
 
3. Discuss the importance and concept of the flow of energy through an ecosystem as represented by food chains (webs), different trophic levels, producers (autotrophs), consumers (primary, secondary, etc., herbivores, carnivores, omnivores), decomposers.  Relate this to pyramids of energy, biomass, or numbers.   Explain why the flow is one way (Two Laws of Thermodynamics and the effect of entropy) and be able to give examples of decomposers.
 
4. Discuss the concept and importance of the cycling of elements into and out of the ecosystem.
 
5. Explain the types of limiting factors that control where species live, and how large the population will be.  Explain the law of tolerance, and the terms euryoecious, and stenoecious.
 
6. Define and explain the different types of species interactions.
Intraspecific relationships:  territories,  groups, dominance hierarchies.  Know basic different forms of communication.  Interspecific relationships:  competition, predation (plant defense mechanisms, animal defense mechanisms – crypsis, aposemasis, Batesian and Mullerian mimicry), amensalism (allopathy), symbiosis:  commensalism, mutualism, parasitism.   Facultative vs. obligatory.
 
7. Define the terms niche and habitat and relate this to Gause’s  Rule (law):  the Competitive Exclusion Principle.   Relate this to the difference between sympatric and allopatric species.  Explain the results of interspecific competition.
 
8. Population Ecology: define growth rate, density, age distribution, migration patterns, birth rate, death rate, survivorship (mortality) and the factors controlling them.  Explain, recognize the Type I, II, and III survivorship curves, and give examples of representative organisms.  Explain the difference between the biotic potential (exponential growth rate) and the carrying capacity.  Explain the different types of population checks that prevent the attainment of the biotic potential.  Population checks: density independent and density dependent population checks - density triggered or conditioned, scramble vs. contest competition.  Explain the difference between opportunistic (r selected) and equilibrium (K selected) life history strategies.
 
9. Define and explain what a succession is and why it occurs.  Know what determines the pattern of a succession.  Discuss the changes that occur in an ecosystem as it matures and moves toward the climax type.  Terms: primary succession, secondary succession, sere, seral stage, climax community, pioneer community.  Know examples of successions.
 
10. Define the term biome.  Explain what determines where the different biomes exist.  List the major biomes of the world and know their major distinguishing factors – tundra, taiga (boreal forest), temperate deciduous forest, temperate grasslands, savanna, chaparral, tropical rain forest, fresh water biomes, marine biomes.
 
11. Define, name and distinguish between the biogeographical regions of the world  -   the Australian, Oriental, Palearctic, Ethiopian, Neotropical, and Nearctic realms.