To Those Who Shall Inherit the Earth…
Flow of Energy
Love is energy and energy is everything
What is an Ecosystem?
• Interactions among biotic (living) and abiotic (nonliving) factors
• Let’s try to draw one
How does energy move?
• Essentially all energy comes from the sun
• Moves from autotrophs (plants) to heterotrophs
(not plants)
• Heterotrophs (aka. Consumers) – must consume
energy; cannot make their own
• Autotrophs (aka. Producers) – Produce their own
• Most use radiant energy from the sun to produce
chemical energy in the form of glucose sugar
• What is this process called?
What about the other
• MOST use photosynthesis to produce
• Others use energy from chemical
reactions to produce organic molecules
• Called Chemosynthesis
• Bacteria and archaea
How do other organisms obtain energy?
• Heterotrophs or consumers – take in
energy by breaking down compounds in
organisms they eat
• Trophic levels:
• Producers
• Primary consumers – eat producers
• Secondary consumers – eat primary
• Tertiary consumers – eat secondary
• Quaternary consumers – eat… guess what
they eat?
• Organisms participate in different levels
Primary producer
Secondary consumer
What are decomposers?
• Usually fungi or bacteria
• Decomposers obtain energy from organic
• fallen leaves or dead organisms
• Fungi usually break down plant matter
• Bacteria usually break down animal matter
• Break down complex molecules into
simpler ones
• Helps cycle carbon and nitrogen elements
• Use secreted enzymes to break down food
• Enzymes – special proteins that speed up
Are there ways to show energy flow?
• There are 2!
• Food chains – path of energy from
producer to decomposer
• Food web – chains that interconnect
through multiple feeding relationships
• Arrows point the direction of energy
flow from one organism to the next
(What’s doing the eating)
• Energy travels in 1 direction
• Energy does NOT cycle through the
ecosystem, unlike matter
• What would be the simplest food
chain? Producer  consumer
What types of eating habits are there?
• Herbivore – eats only producers
(eats plants)
• Omnivore – eats both producers and
consumers (eats plants and animals)
• Carnivore – eats consumers (eats
meat only)
Is there a model for energy flow?
• Lets go back to the ecosystem drawing
• Models are visual depictions that make
a feature of the world easier to
understand and are used to make
predictions and test hypotheses etc…
• Food pyramids are models for energy
• Must show feeding relationships in food
chains as well as amount of energy passed
up trophic levels
• 10% of energy is ALL that passes to the
next trophic level
• Use the following food chain to create
an energy pyramid:
Grass  mouse  snake  hawk
• If the amount of energy present in the
producers of this pyramid is 1.35 x 105
kilocalories, identify how much energy
is present in each trophic level
• What if we add decomposers to
consume the hawk after it dies?
• Paper – pencil food chain lab
• Complete the packet – due tomorrow
• Materials
Writing utensil (no red, pink, or green)
Biogeochemical cycles
What goes around comes around
What are biogeochemical
• Bio = life
• Geo = earth
• Chemical = chemical
• So, biogeochemical cycles are the
patterns that elements and chemicals
move through and between biotic
organisms and their abiotic
• 3 major cycles include:
• Carbon – oxygen cycle
• Nitrogen cycle
• Water
How does the carbon-oxygen cycle work?
• C and O exist in all organisms
• Both exist in the atmosphere as CO2
and O2
• Steps
• Plants take in CO2 using _____________
and convert it into carbohydrates
• Plants release O2
• Animals take in O2 and release through
CO2 respiration
• Decomposers break down C stored in
dead organisms and return it to the
What is the “geo” part of the carbon-oxygen
• Carbon is also released into the atmosphere by:
• burning fossil fuels
• Volcanic eruptions
• Human or naturally caused forest fires
Where do fossil fuels come from?
• Carbon in the bodies of deceased organisms that lived millions of
years ago were subjected to heat and pressure deep within Earth
turning them into fossil fuels
• Any combustion reaction (anytime you burn organic things), CO2 and
water vapor are produced AND oxygen is consumed
• Burning fossil fuels
• Burning wood for fuel/forest fires
• Forest fires
What is the nitrogen cycle and why is it
• Movement of nitrogen through the organisms, water, rocks, minerals,
and atmosphere
• Nitrogen is ESSENTIAL to living things as it makes up:
• Nucleic acids and DNA
• Amino acids and proteins
• ATP (high energy molecule used for cellular energy)
How does nitrogen move through the cycle?
• Atmosphere contains
approximately 78% nitrogen…
that most organisms cant use
• Nitrogen fixation into ammonia
(ammonification) changes
nitrogen into a usable form for
organisms done by:
• Soil bacteria
• Certain plants, called legumes,
have a mutualistic relationship
with certain bacteria that allow
nitrogen fixation
• Ex. Peanuts, most beans, and peas
What happens after the nitrogen is fixed?
• Assimilation - Plants absorb nitrogen
once it is in the form of usable nitrates
• Animals obtain nitrogen by eating plants
• Nitrogen in animals is passed through
the food chain and returned to
• In low oxygen environments bacteria
convert nitrogen to gas which returns to
the atmosphere = denitrification
• Marine environments
• Soil
What is the hydrologic cycle?
• Water cycle
• Driven by energy from the sun
• Important steps:
• Evaporation – liquid to gas by energy
from sun or heat
• Condensation – gas to liquid
• Precipitation – falls
• Respiration – water vapor produced
by cells when breaking down glucose
• Transpiration – liquid to gas through
• Vascular plants (large plants) use a
tissue called xylem to move water up
the plant
• Water leaves through holes in leaves
called stomata
• Complete the worksheet for biogeochemical cycles
• Color AND answer questions
• Use the document to help you answer questions
• Materials
• Colored pencils or crayons
• Pencil
• Due tomorrow
Symbiotic Relationships
Living together isn’t always easy
What is the hierarchy
of biological systems?
Atoms – come together to make:
Molecules – come together to make:
Organelles – come together to make:
Cells - come together to make:
Tissues - come together to make:
Organs - come together to make:
Organ systems – come together to make:
Organism - come together to make:
Populations - come together to make:
Communities - come together to make:
Ecosystems - come together to make:
We’ll focus
on these
for now
What are the parts of ecology hierarchy??
• Population - A group of organisms of the SAME species living together
• Community – A group of organisms of DIFFERENT species living
• Ecosystem – A group of living and non-living things in an environment
• Biosphere– all living things on Earth
How do ecosystems remain stable?
• Population of individual species
will cycle regularly and predictably
as energy flow remains fairly
• Organisms live in habitats
• Depends on availability of water,
shelter, and food
• The role and organism plays in its
environment is its niche
• What it eats, where it eats, and its
effect on the environment
Can organisms occupy the same habitat and
• Organisms may have the same
• Organisms may NOT have
exactly the same niche within
the habitat
• 2 plants may both live in the
same habitat – occupy the
same niche – but they may
require different amounts of
Can organisms live together?
• Yes these types of relationships are
called symbiotic/symbiosis
• Symbiosis is an interdependent
relationship between two different
organisms or a different species – at
least 1 of them ALWAYS benefits
• Mutualism – both species benefit
• Commensalism – one organism
benefits and the other is unaffected
• Parasitism – one organism benefits
and one is harmed
Unaffected Harmed
Each X represents a different organism
• Symbiotic relationships cut and paste
• Due tomorrow
• Materials:
• Scissors
• Glue or tape
• Worksheet
What about other
• Predator – prey: one organism kills
and eats another
• Key role in the ecosystem keeping
population sizes balanced
• Populations that are too high are prone
• Starvation
• disease
Prey population
Prey population
What about organisms that require the same
• They compete: interact where
they try to use the same
resources at the same time
• Intraspecific competition –
organisms of the same species
compete for food, water, shelter,
• Interspecific competition –
organisms of different species
compete for food, water, shelter
• Most successful competitors are
best adapted to their ecosystem
• Online virtual lab examining competition
• Found here:
• Materials:
Why do organisms communicate?
• They communicate to their own and to other
• Helps organisms survive by allowing them to:
ID themselves
Attract mates
Warn of predators
Protect living space – territory (can be small or
• Many animals use chemical markers to identify their
• Many animals use sound to warn another animal they
are encroaching
• Many animals will fight to defend their territory
How do organisms communicate?
• Sound
• Ex: Whale songs, wolf howls, your
nonstop chatter
• Visual
• Ex. Waggle dance in bees, courtship
• Chemical
• Ex. Pheromones – chemicals used by
one organism to elicit a response
from another (used by bees, ants,
• Population dynamics worksheet
• Due tomorrow
• Materials:
• Two colored pencils or pens (you may use patterns on your graph to
distinguish between species if you wish to use 1 pencil or pen)
• Graphing worksheet
Population dynamics
What goes up must come down
Brief Review:
• What is a population?
• All the organisms of the same species living in an area
• What is the hierarchy of ecology?
• Organisms  population  community  ecosystems  biosphere
• Tell me the factors discussed so far that determine population
Number of predators
Amount of resources (food, water, shelter)
Number of mates
What makes up an ecosystem?
• Biotic factors – living things
• Other organisms: bacteria,
plants, animals, fungi, protists
(5 kingdoms)
• Abiotic factors - non living
• Rocks, sunlight, temperature,
precipitation, inorganic
chemicals (sodium, nitrogen,
potassium, etc…)
How do populations grow and decline?
• Affected by 4 factors:
• Births
• Deaths
• Immigration – movement of organisms
INTO an area
• Emigration – movement of organisms
OUT OF an area
• Population equation:
• Pop. = (births + immigration) – (deaths +
• When (deaths + emigration
outnumber (births + immigration),
what happens to the population?
What makes birth and
death rates rise?
• Birth rates:
• Usually higher in developing
• Tend to rise when there is a need for
more people to work
• Death rates:
• Usually higher in developing
• Result from lack of food and water
• Also result from lack of medical care
and sanitation (enable rapid spread
of disease)
What makes birth and death rates fall?
• Birth:
• Usually lower in developed countries
• Increase cost in having children
• Death:
Usually also lower in developed countries
Better medical care
Better sanitation and personal hygiene
Better access to food and water
• Changes in population
• If population cannot adapt to changing
environments they decline
• If populations do adapt to changing
environments they increase
Is there selection for survival?
K selection (think kanagaroo)
R selection (think roaches)
• Few babies born to an individual
• High amount of parental care
• Slow maturation
• Long gestation
• Long life span
• Many babies born to an individual
• Little to no parental care
• Quick maturation
• Short gestation
• Short life span
Estimating population lab part 1
Estimating population lab part 2
• Mark and recapture method
• Random sampling
• Materials:
plastic baggie
A lot of white beans
10 black beans
• Materials:
Paper for cutting
2 baggies
Scissors (optional)
What limits population size?
• Most population stabilize over time or reach carrying capacity
• Carrying capacity – number of organisms an environment can support
• Limiting factors – are biotic or abiotic things in the environment that
control population
Number of predators – biotic
Disease – biotic
Amount of food – biotic (food is organic)
Precipitation – abiotic
Sunlight – abiotic
Amount of water – abiotic
What kind of limiting factors depend on
population density?
• Density – dependent limiting factor – limits the population based on
the size of the population
• Biotic factors
• Have more affect on the population when numbers are high
• Include:
• Competition
• What do organisms compete for?
• Predation
• Parasitism
• Disease
• Tuberculosis
What kind of limiting factors don’t depend on
population density?
• Density-independent limiting factors – control growth of population
regardless of density
• Abiotic factors
• Do not depend on the size of the population to control population
• Include:
Forest fires
Other natural disasters
Pollution caused by humans
When does a population stabilize?
• Populations are stable when
they reach their carrying
• Carrying capacity – the
number of organisms an
ecosystem can support due to
limited resources
• Can change as amount of
resources change
• Creates an S shaped curve on
a population graph
• What’s happening to the
factors in the population
How is carrying capacity affected by
• Depends on:
• number of organisms living
• Size of the ecosystem
• Available resources
• Rainforests have higher
carrying capacity than a desert
• Large areas of land have higher
carrying capacities than small
areas of land
What happens when a population does not
• Exponential growth –
population continues to
grow and does not show
presence of limiting factors
• J shaped curve
• Only population known to
currently do this is humans
How does using resources affect the
• Higher population = higher demand on
• Ex: growing human population needs
more energy  more burning of fossil
• What has this done to the carbon-oxygen
• Increased the amount of carbon dioxide in
the atmosphere
• What has this done to the planet?
• Caused the greenhouse effect where heat
from the sun is trapped on Earth instead of
reflected into space
• What has this done the temperatures of the
• Increased carbon dioxide correlates to higher
global temperatures over time
How do ecosystems change over time?
• Population dynamics worksheet
• Due tomorrow
• Materials
• Pencil/pen
• worksheet
How Humans Affect The Environment
A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory
How has human population changed?
• What kind of growth do humans
• Exponential (for the last 200 years or
• What kind of curve does this
growth have?
• J shaped
• What does this mean has happened
to birth and death rates?
• Birth rates have increased and death
rates have decreased
How does population growth affect the
• Higher population = more demand on
• Resources are limited
• Limiting factors will control the size of the
• Population will eventually reach carrying
• Researchers work to address these limits
• Increase energy efficiency and find new energy
• Work to increase agricultural yield
• This increases the carrying capacity
How do humans affect biodiversity?
• Biodiversity – the number of different
organisms living on Earth or in an
• More humans = more demand on
natural resources
• Natural resource - any part or product of
the environment that is used by humans or
other organisms
• Limited
• When humans use them they are
unavailable for other organisms
• May physically change the ecosystem and
harm organisms
• Often results in loss of habitat
• Organisms that can’t move often die
How do habitats get destroyed?
• What is a habitat? What is a niche?
• Place where an organism lives, its job or role
• Deforestation – removal of all trees in an area of forest
Land is cleared for farms, mines, or towns
Wood products needed
Destroys habitats forcing species out
Reduces biodiversity
What if humans don’t affect many organisms?
• Even the removal of 1 specie from an
ecosystem can change it drastically
• Keystone species – species that plays a
critical role in the community of the
• Ex. Eastern oyster on NC coast have 3 major
• Food source
• Filter water
• Build reefs that house as many as 300 other
• Their population has declined by around 90%
due to overharvesting
• Higher pollution and decline in other species
have resulted
How does pollution affect the environment?
• Pollution – the release of harmful
substances or energy into the
• Burning fossil fuels is a major cause of
increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere
• Derforestation also increases CO2
levels as:
• Many trees are burned releasing carbon
• Trees are no longer available to perform
• Increased CO2 may increase global
warming – an increase in average
global temperatures
What else does burning fossil fuels cause?
• Acid rain – rain that has a pH
lower than 5.6
• Produced by nitrogen and sulfur
(both released by burning fossil
fuels) mixing with water in the
• Damages plants
• Harmful to animals feeding on
those plants
• Changes pH of aquatic habitats
What else does pollution do to water?
• Eutrophication - excess nutrients
(like fertilizer) are released into water
causing massive algal blooms
• hog farms in NC are major causes of this
• Steps:
• Nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus) wash into
• *sediment may also block sunlight
Make large algal blooms
Nutrients are used up and algal blooms die
Decomposer populations increase
Decomposers use extra oxygen
Low oxygen levels kill off fish and other
What do pesticides do to the environment?
• Pesticides – are used to kill pest
animals – DDT
• Reduce disease
• Increase food production
• Can sicken or kill animals that are NOT
target pests
• Taken in by organisms as they feed
• Passed up the food chain
• Bioaccumulation – chemicals are stored
and built up in tissues over time
• Biomagnification – chemicals become
more concentrated at higher trophic
• Deadly Links
• You will need:
A picture of your animal (grasshopper, shrew, or owl)
A plastic baggie
Paper chips
How do activities directly impact biodiversity?
• Extinction – permanent dying
out of a species
Land clearing
Introduction of invasive species
• Invasive species – non-native
organism that is introduced to an
area and takes over by out
competing the native organisms
How does activity affect NC ecosystems?
• Piedmont Urbanization:
• Increasing demand for land 
habitat destruction
• Coastal Regions:
• Construction  beach erosion
• Sweeping/raking beach  beach
• Beach erosion makes beaches
more vulnerable to storm
What about fishing and hunting?
• Overhunting – killing organisms
at a rate faster than the
population can renew its
• Tigers
• Whales
• Many many others
• Overfishing – harvesting fish or
shellfish at a rate faster than the
population an renew its numbers
• Eastern oyster
How do invasive species affect ecosystems?
• What is an invasive species?
• Non-native species that is introduced and takes
over an environment
• Sometimes intentionally introduced:
• Garden flowers and vegetables spread
• Pets released into the wild
• Sometimes accidentally introduced:
• Seeds or insects hide in luggage or shipments
• Shipping
• Invasive species can often out compete
native species
• Invasive species usually have few or no
predators as limiting factors
• Investigate the presence of invasive species in NC
• List:
The name of the organisms
The type of organism
The classification (domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species)
Origin and method of introduction
Where found
Environmental impact
• Tell class
• Materials:
• Pencil/pen
• Paper
• laptop
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s
not. ~ Dr. Seuss
What is conservation?
• Conservation – careful use and
protection of resources
• Renewable resources - those that can
be replaced through natural process at
nearly the same rate they are used
Crops – affected by limiting factors
Forests – affected by limiting factors
• Nonrenewable resources – cannot be
replaced through natural processes as
quickly as they are used
• Fossil fuels
• Minerals
Why care about environmental responsibility?
• Stewardship – taking care of
something belonging to others
• Sustainability – ability of an
ecosystem to survive indefinitely
• Using resources to meet current
needs while maintaining enough to
supply future generations –
sustainable development
• Community planning – making things
closer to cut down on travel
• Renewable energy – solar, hydroelectric,
• Eliminating misuse of land/preserving
How do humans help the environment?
• Teach awareness
• Prevent and repair damage
• Limiting hunting and fishing to conserve
• Fuel efficient cars
• Energy efficient appliances and
responsible use
• Turning lights off, low flow bathroom
Plant only native species in gardens
Less paper products
Use less water for lawns and cars
Grow and buy organic foods
What about the current damage?
• Many activities alter
ecosystems so that organisms
can no longer live there
• Endangered species – have a
population so small they are in
immediate danger of
becoming extinct
• Threatened species –
extinction is a threat but not
an immediate one
endangered and threatened species list
How do we protect these organisms?
• Laws are put in place to protect these
• illegal to hunt/harvest
• Restrict chemical use
• Habitat restoration – improves the
conditions of the damaged habitat so they
are similar to before the disturbance
• Researchers look at:
carrying capacity
Interactions of species
How widely distributed organisms are
Oyster population is increasing due to building
new reefs and release of larval oyster from farms
• Ecology project
• Use the guidelines available on the wiki.
• The project is lengthy, 5 phases
• Assign roles to each person within each phase to complete the project in a timely
Resources for pictures
Resources for pictures
Resources for pictures
Informational Resources
• Zierdt-Warshaw, Linda. North Carolina End-of-Course Coach Biology.
New York: Triumph Learning, 2012. Print.

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