Based on temperature and ____________


Virtual World Biomes



-rainfall and climate:

-warm, dry, descending air creates desert bands at 30 degrees N and S

-sparse but species-rich community dominated by shrubs and small trees

-dominant plants
        adaptations to conserve water and protect from predation

-dominant animals:


-human disturbances
        slow to recover because of harsh climate



-rainfall and climate:
        seasonal cycles for temperature and precipitation

-located in continental interiors

-dominant plants:
        frequent grass fires

-dominant animals:


-human disturbances
        fire suppression
        conversion into farmland, wind erosion



-rainfall and climate:

-located at far North and South latitudes and high elevations

-dominant plants:

-dominant animals:




-human disturbances
         slow to heal
         oil and natural gas wells in the arctic
         truck ruts and tracks


Boreal/Taiga (Coniferous) Forest

-rainfall and climate:

-between 45 and 50 degrees North latitude
-many lakes, potholes, bogs, and fens

-dominant coniferous trees:

-dominant animals:


-human disturbances
        timber, oil drilling



Temperate Deciduous Forest:

-rainfall and climate:

-four seasons- requires adaptations for the frozen season

-dominant trees:

-dominant animals:


-human disturbances- most hard hit by man
        trees harvested for timber



Tropical Rain Forest:

Cover only 6% of the Earth's surface- about the size of the contiguous US, but houses over 1/2 of the known plant and animal species

-rainfall and climate:

-located near the Equator

-dominant plants:

-dominant animals:


-subtype cloud forests

        high in the mountains
      fog and mist keep vegetation wet

-human disturbance


Principles of Ecology

Crash Course on Ecology

Ecology: the study of how organisms interact with the living and ___________ things that surround them

Biotic- _________ parts of the ecosystem

ex. bacteria, plants and animals

Population: a group of individuals of the ________ species

Communities: two or more populations of ____________ species in the same area

Abiotic- non-living parts of the environment

ex. soil, water, light, temperature, oxygen, organic and inorganic nutrients

Biosphere: portion of the Earth in which all living things exist from the bottom of the ocean to many miles up in the sky

Ecosystem: the community and its physical environment

Habitat: a ______ where a particular organisms lives

ex. field, forests, streams, oceans.

Niche: the particular _________ (job) which an organism holds in the environment

Only one animal can fill a niche at any point in time.


Types of Feeding Relationships

  • Autotroph- (producers) make their own food by ________________ (plants)
  • Heterotroph- (consumers) must eat something to survive. Can not make their own food.
    • Herbivores- animals that feed on ____________
    • Carnivores- animals that feed on other animals
    • Omnivores- animals that feed on both plants and animals
  • Decomposers- break down dead animals and plants and return their nutrients back to the soil. They are the _________ in the ecosystem.

    Matter is constantly recycled through the ecosystem by decomposers such as ___________ and fungi. This is called Decomposition. The raw material formed by the break down of wastes and dead bodies of organisms is recycled and reused by ____________.


Symbiosis- a relationship between two or more species

Mutualism- both members of the partnership ___________. 

Commensalism- one organisms clearly __________ and the other is neither benefited nor harmed.

Parasitism- the parasite benefits at the expense of the ___________.

Neutralism- __________ party benefits or are harmed



Food chain: a series of organisms showing who eats who! Food chains begin with producers/autotrophs, followed by herbivore and then carnivores.

  • Arrows always go the direction of energy flow!

Food web: the complex __________ of food interrelationships between plants and animals in the ecosystem. It is like interlocking food chains! Why is a food web more accurate than a food chain?

Removal on one species from the food chain or food web can have a drastic effect on the balance of other organisms in an area.

ex. Removing the wolves and our excessive _________ population. This in turn has effected the health of our forests as these animals have stripped the ground of wildflowers and tree saplings.

The SUN is the primary source of life energy on Earth.   


The Energy Pyramid  

Trophic levels form an Energy Pyramid
            Level 1: Autotroph/Producers= Plants
            Level 2: Herbivore
            Level 3: Carnivore

The biomass of each level of the energy pyramid is _______% less than the one below it! Only _____% of useable energy is transferred up to the next trophic level because so much is lost.


      1. Some of the food source many be __________ or indigestible. (In which case decomposers would extract the last bit of energy from the dead organism)

      2. Energy may be expended catching the _________

      3. Energy is degraded through normal ______________ processes

A self sustaining ecosystem requires:

  1. A constant source of energy (the ______!)

  2. A process to capture and store sunlight (_______________)

  3. A way to recycle elements back into the ecosystem (decomposers)


Ecology of Populations:

  • the study of how populations interact with their environment

Biodiversity: is a measure of the ________ of different species in an ecosystem. (It also can describe the genetic richness of a species).

The more species present in an ecosystem the _______ the biodiversity.
** As biodiversity increases, the stability of an ecosystem __________.

Evolutionary processes are constantly at work in nature, the more varieties of each species in the ecosytem the more likely ________ members will survive in the event of a drastic environmental change.

ex. An insect eating a monoculture of corn versus attempting to find food in a polyculture of different plants together such as on a small family farm.

Abundance is the number of ________ in a population and diversity is the number of _________species in a community.

  • As you go farther North, the abundance of wildlife __________ while the biodiversity ____________

We are presently going through our 6th Mass Extinction on Earth. Biodiversity is under threat by HIPPOS!


1. Habitat Destruction- destroying the natural environment through cutting down _________ and planting a monoculture or building houses.
2. Invasive species from _________ habitat- example: purple loosestrife; zebra mussels; dandelions
3. Pollution- a harmful change in the __________ make up of the air, soil and water.
4. Population- the incredible population _________ of humans has stressed the Earth's health
5. Over harvesting- the depletion (Endangerment) or loss (Extinction) of a species by over ________. Endangered species are in such low numbers that they are threatened with extinction.

Medical science is developing techniques to analyze and utilize healing properties of plants (and animals) to treat diseases. Undiscovered plants are being lost to HIPPOs before we have time to test their curative properties.

The genetic information of the medicinal plant is isolated and then cultured in the laboratory in order to maximize the production of the desired medicinal chemical. The specific gene might also be isolated and spliced into the genome of a common _________ in order to reduce the _________ and ________ of the production.

Relationships and Biodiversity State Lab


Population Growth

  • Biotic Potential- ___________ growth rate of a population given unlimited resources in the environment.
    • A female human can have up to _______ children!!
  • Competition: the struggle for limited resources among organisms
    • Interspecies competition is when two _________ organisms try to inhabit the same niche. The weaker species will either leave or _____.
      • ex.
    • Intraspecies competition competition within a species- when the ________ organisms are competiting for limited resources.
      • ex.

Carrying Capacity- ____________ number of individuals a given environment can support.

Limiting factor: the living and non-living things in the environment that limit population size

  • Know the major the limiting factors (any resource that is in short supply) that could influence the population size of a species. It could be biotic or abiotic
    • Examples: space, ________, water (abiotic) or preditors and food (biotic).
    • Critical to the Carrying Capactiy is the rate of turnover of the material components of the ecosystem. Most of this is done by our friend the decomposers in what is known as the Material Cycles.

Organisms are interdependent in an established ecosystem and if one organism starts to overpopulate limiting factors are checks and balances to keep that population in check.

Population curves

  • J-curve- unrestricted, _________ growth. This spells trouble for the environment and the ultimate health of the population because of course nothing can grow forever.
    • Have you seen human population growth curve? It looks exactly like a _____-curve!!!!
  • S-curve- arithmetic growth. The growth rate is _________ as the size of the population approaches the carrying capacity and the population eventually becomes _________.
  • Predator Prey Oscillation Curve. The growth curves oscillate slightly out of synch. These cyclic changes ultimately lead to relatively stable populations of the species overtime.

Material Cycles:

      1. Carbon/ ________ Cycle (Photosynthesis/ Respiration)
      2. Water Cycle (Evaporation, Transpiration, Condensation, ___________)
      3. Nitrogen Cycle (____, nitrogen fixing bacteria, plants, animals, waste)


Ecological Succession

Crash Course on Ecological Succession

Ecological succession is the process by which organisms occupy a site and gradually change it after many years causing the habitats to become more complex.

Primary Succession- occurs when a community begins to develop on a site previously ____________ by living organisms such as an island or new volcanic flow

    Pioneer species- in primary succession, the species that _______ colonizes the new area
    -often microbes, mosses and lichens   

    A typical primary ecological succession in NY is:

    Lichen and ________- Grasses- Shrubs- Small Trees- Hardwood Trees

Secondary Succession- occurs when an ___________ community is disrupted and a new one subsequently ___________ at the site.

Disruption may be caused by natural catastrophe or human activity

Aquatic Succession- succession taking place in a body of __________

Typically a pond will develop by:

Pond (plants and animals die over time)- Sediment builds- Pond gets shallow-Swamp develops-________ Field-Forest




HUMAN IMPACT on the Environment

Crash Course on Human Impact on the Environment

Renewable Resources - resources that can _________ themselves if not abused (ex. planting of trees)

Nonrenewable Resources - resources that take a ______ time to replace or form (like coal, oil)

The Solution: Preserving our resources:

1. Reduce - cut ________ on the amount used (smaller packaging)
2. Reuse - use it for ___________ application (old water jugs as raft float)
3. Recycle - can be used to make the product again (like glass _________)

Human Activities on Ecology:

Impact of technology and industrialization:

1. Industrialization- increases pollution of air and water- uses more energy, water, fossil and nuclear fuels.
2. Water pollution- from human and livestock _________, wastes from homes and factories
3. Toxic wastes- DDT, spent nuclear fuel, mercury
4. Thermal pollution- heat pollution such as from ________ power plants
5. Air pollution- burning fossil fuels is very polluting to the air- it creates both _______ Rain and Global _________.

Acid Rain- Sulfur and nitrogen from factories and car _________ combine with water vapor to form rain with a low pH (acidic). Acid rain kills trees, aquatic animals and destroys historical artifacts.

pH scale: 14 ----- basic ----- 7 ----- acid ----- 0

Global Warming - an increase in the earth’s temperature is caused by an increase the amounts of ______ in the atmosphere. Burning fossil fuels for energy emits carbon dioxide. This is causing glaciers to melt, sea levels to ______, species extinction and massive changes in weather patterns (storm are more massive and droughts more severe).

Ozone Depletion- a hole in ozone layer in the stratosphere is caused by use of _______'s. **Ozone acts as a sun block for all organisms on the earth!!! UV light causes _____ cancer and cataracts.


Some Positive Influences of Humans on the Ecosystem (we all can make a difference)

  • Sustaining endangered species by using habitat protection methods such as wildlife ______ and national parks. (Keep some of your property wild!)
  • Passing wildlife management laws such as hunting restrictions. (Don't eat ______ that are unsustainably harvested)
  • Adding ______ to Adirondack lakes in an effort to neutralize their acid pollution so the original living things in these lakes can be reintroduced. (Or car pool so you don't create as much acid rain).
  • Design new products which meet basic needs without generating _______. (Buy from Green Businesses)
  • Inspection of all materials before entering the country to prevent pest introduction. (Pull ________ weeds)
  • Increased use of biodegradable packaging materials which will _________ quickly to the environment. (When considering a new purchase first: reduce, reuse, recycle)
  • Use fuels which contain less pollutants such as low sulfur coal. (Or insert _______ panels on your home!)
  • Remove pollutants before they enter the air by using such devices as catalytic converters. (Don't smoke or burn ________)