Upon completion of the reading and class discussion associated with
this information, the
student will be able to:
1. Explain why the field of ecology is a multidisciplinary
2. Distinguish among physiology, ecology, community ecology, and ecosystem ecology.
3. Describe the relationship between ecology and evolution.
4. Explain the importance of temperature, water, light, soil, gases, and wind to living organisms.
5. Explain the principle of allocation.
6. Describe how environmental changes may produce behavioral, physiological,
morphological, or adaptive responses in organisms.
7. Describe the characteristics of the major biomes: tropical forest, savanna, desert,
chaparral, temperate grassland, temperate forest, taiga, tundra.
8. Compare and contrast the types of freshwater communities.
9. Using a diagram, identify the various zones found in the marine environment.
10. Explain the difference between innate and learned behaviors.
11. Describe the evolutionary basis for behavioral ecology.
12. Describe a fixed-action pattern and a sign stimulus.
13. Explain the nature versus nurture controversy.
14. Explain the effect of maturation on behavioral improvement.
15. Define habituation.
16. Discuss imprinting, imprinting stimulus, and critical period.
17. Define associative learning.
18. Distinguish among classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational learning.
19. Describe and define kinesis, taxis, and migration.
20. Compare generalist and specialist foraging strategies.
21. Explain how a search image is adaptive.
22. Describe optimal foraging strategies in terms of energetics and prey densities.
23. Explain what is meant by a ritual behavior, and describe the evolutionary advantage of ritual behavior.
24. Describe a dominance hierarchy, and explain the advantages to individuals in the hierarchy.
25. Explain how dominance hierarchies and territories may stabilize population densities.
26. Describe the advantages of courtship.
27. Define parental investment.
28. Discuss the ultimate basis for mate selection.
29. Discuss how the needs of the young influence the development of mating systems.
30. Describe some various modes of communication.
31. Discuss why altruistic behavior might evolve.
33. Define kin selection.
34. Describe the premise of sociobiology.
35. Define the scope of population ecology.
36. Distinguish between density and dispersion.
37. Explain how ecologists measure density of a species.
38. Describe conditions which may result in clumped dispersion, random dispersion, and
uniform dispersion of populations.
39. Explain how age structure, generation time, and sex structure of populations can affect
40. Describe the characteristics of populations which exhibit Type I, Type II, and Type III
41. Explain how carrying capacity of the environment affects the intrinsic rate of increase
of a population.
42. Explain how density-dependent factors affect population growth.
43. Describe how weather and climate can function as density-independent factors in controlling
44. Explain how density-dependent and density-independent factors may work together to control a population's
45. List the three major characteristics of a life history and explain how each affects the:
a. Number of offspring produced by an individual
b. Population's growth
46. Explain how predation can affect life history through natural selection.
47. Distinguish between r-selected populations and K-selected populations.
48. Explain how a "stressful" environment may alter the standard r-selection and K-selection characteristics.
49. List four properties of a community, and explain the importance of each.
50. Explain how interspecific competition may affect community structure.
51. Describe the competitive exclusion principle, and explain how competitive exclusion may affect
52. Explain the concept of a niche..
53. Explain how resource partitioning can affect species diversity.
54. Describe the defense mechanisms evolved by plants to reduce predation by herbivores.
55. Explain how cryptic coloration and aposematic coloration aid an animal in avoiding predators.
56. Distinguish between Batesian mimicry and Mullerian mimicry.
57. Describe how predators use mimicry to obtain prey.
58. Explain the role of predators in community structure.
59. Distinguish among parasitism, mutualism, and commensalism.
60. Distinguish between primary succession and secondary succession.
61. Describe how natural and human disturbances can affect community succession.
62. List the factors involved in limiting a species to a particular range.
63. Describe the mechanisms which contribute to the global decline in diversity.
64. Explain the factors which determine what species eventually inhabit islands.
65. Explain the importance of autotrophic organisms with respect to energy flow and nutrient cycling in
66. List and describe the importance of the four consumer levels found in an ecosystem.
67. Explain how gross primary productivity is allocated by the plants in an ecosystem.
68. List the factors that can limit productivity of an ecosystem.
69. Explain why productivity declines at each trophic level.
70. Distinguish between energy pyramids and biomass pyramids.
71. Describe the hydrologic (water) cycle.
72. Describe the carbon cycle, and explain why it is said to result from the reciprocal processes of
photosynthesis and cellular respiration.
73. Describe the nitrogen cycle, and explain the importance of nitrogen fixation to all living organisms.
74. Explain how phosphorus is recycled locally in most ecosystems.
75. Explain why the soil in tropical forests contains lower levels of nutrients than soil in temperate forests.
76. Describe how the carbon cycle differs in terrestrial and aquatic systems.
77. Explain how "cultural eutrophication" can alter freshwater ecosystems.
78. Explain why toxic compounds usually have the greatest effect on top-level carnivores.
79. Describe how increased atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide could affect the Earth.
80. Describe how human interference might alter the biosphere.
81. List some major threats to biodiversity and give example of each.
82. Describe why biodiversity is important to humans.
83. Describe how biodiversity is distributed.
84. Describe the problems presented to conservation by migratory species
85. Describe how habitat fragmentation affects population dynamics.
86. Describe the conflicting demands that arise in conservation management plans.
87. Discuss why nature reserves are important to preserving biodiversity and why conservation efforts will
involve working in landscapes dominated by humans.