Ecology & Ecosystems (energy and nutrients)
What is ecology?
How do you define the environment? How do organisms interact with their environment? Describe ecological hierarchy from the organism to the Biosphere. Which “things” are interacting? What are the general “pathways” of energy and nutrients? What forms do energy and nutrients take? Where does energy come from? How does it flow through communities (particularly trophic levels) Be able to describe/recognize organisms that are 1) producers/autotrophs (occupy the first trophic level), 2) heterotrophs/consumers (occupy many trophic levels and you need to recognize primary consumers, secondary consumers, etc.) What is primary productivity? What is the role of photosynthesis? What factors affect the productivity of an ecosystem? Where do consumers get their energy? What are the different levels of consumers? Know the different names: herbivore, carnivore, omnivore as well as primary consumer, secondary consumer, etc. Be able to recognize, assemble and describe a food chain and a food web. What are detritivores/decomposers? What is their role in the flow of energy and cycling of nutrients? How much energy is transferred from one trophic level to the next? If the producers have 1000 calories, how many of those calories are found in the primary consumer? The secondary consumer? Interaction of Organisms: Be able to recognize (through an example), define, or describe the various species interactions we studied: Predation or parasitism, competition, mutualism, commensalism, and amensalism. What is the effect on the different organisms: positive, negative or neutral (+,-,0)? What are nutrients? What are the common macronutrients (that we covered)? What are micronutrients? What are biogeochemical cycles? What are reservoirs? Are they typically biotic or abiotic? Carbon Cycle: How does carbon enter a community/system, where is it stored biologically and abiotically? How is it released? Why is it a macronutrient? Nitrogen Cycle: Why is nitrogen important to living organisms? Where is most nitrogen found? What is eutrophication? Why does it result from the addition of fertilizers to crops and lawns?
Evolution & Origin of Species
What are the major tenets of Darwin's theory of natural selection? Describe/define evolution by natural selection – how does it occur? How do changes arise (by design or random mutations)? How are traits and the environment connected? What is an adaptation? Which abiotic and biotic components of environments act on adaptation – can you recognize main/specific ones? What is a species? Define it using the biological species concept. How is reproductive isolation between species maintained? Define speciation. What are the 2 factors on which speciation depends? What has to happen for speciation to occur? Be able to recognize allopatric and sympatric speciation examples.
What is systematics? What is phylogeny? What is a phylogenetic tree? What are the 3 domains? What are the 4 kingdoms within the eukaryotic domain? What are the levels of taxonomic hierarchy? Order them from most inclusive to least inclusive. Be able to interpret a simple phylogenetic tree/cladogram and determine which organisms are most closely related – either construction. What is a clade or monophyletic group? What is a paraphyletic group? A polyphyletic group? What features are useful as traits for evaluating phylogeny? What kinds of features can complicate the reconstruction of a phylogeny?
The Evolution of Land Plants
What are some of the key features of land plants?
What is the evolutionary origin of land plants & how have plants adapted to life on land? What are the major groups of plants? Similarities? Differences? Know alternation of generations generally
Be able to describe the evolutionary tree (phylogeny) of land plants – especially be able to identify key features that appeared and distinguished new groups. What are some of the challenges of a...
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