Outline 1:  Ecosystem Structure

Due Sunday by midnight

Use Chapter 2 as Reference




  • Complete using your textbook to find answers to the following questions.  Next week we will spend going over this information and answering any questions that come up.  Good luck and have fun!     


Outline Grading Criteria

  • Outline shows a conscientious effort to be complete and explain the questions posed.  Most answers are correct.


  • Student shows depth of answers by explaining, defining, and giving examples where appropriate.  If there is a sentence or less for each question, this grading criterion is not met.


Empty Outline 1:

Ecosystem Structure

I.  Defining Terms

1. What is the relationship between biotic communities, species, and populations?


II. Ecosystem defined: 


A grouping of plants, animals, microbes (biotic component) that interacts with itself and with the non-living environment (abiotic component).  I think that there are three parts to this definition: 

You do not need to answer these questions:

1) What are the living organisms (components) in an ecosystem,

2) What are the interactions between the living organisms in an ecosystem, and

3) What are the interactions between the living organisms in an ecosystem and the non-living environment. 


We are going to go through the information in an effort to answer these three points.  When you are done, if you put it all together, you should have a pretty good idea of what an ecosystem is.


A.     What are the living organisms (components) in any ecosystem, anywhere?  (desert, tropical rainforest, wetland) all have the same kinds of organisms).

1.      Define Producer: 




a)     Give the chemical equation for photosynthesis:





b)     Explain why photosynthesis is important in terms of the glucose it creates:

  1.  What is an autotroph?





  1.  What types of organisms are heterotrophs?






2.      Define consumer:




a)     Describe the difference between primary, secondary, and tertiary consumers:









b)     An organism can be a primary, secondary or tertiary consumer depending on what it is eating at any given moment.  If that is true how do omnivores fit into the above categories?







c)       What type of organisms are consumers?



3.      Define detritus feeder and decomposer:





a)     What is the importance of detritus feeders and decomposers in ecosystems?






b)  What kind of organisms are detritus feeders and decomposers?



c)     Which of the other two types of organisms depend, directly, on detritus feeders?  Why?





B.    There are several kinds of ways that organisms can interact with each other in ecosystems. I break them into 2 categories:  feeding interactions and non-feeding interactions:

1.      Feeding interactions

a)     Describe the trophic pyramid (biomass pyramid). 














b)     Explain why the biomass pyramids is not shaped as a rectangle.


c)     What is the 10% rule?  Why does it exist (give 2 reasons)?






2.      Non-feeding interactions

a)     What is the importance of non-feeding relationships?



b)  Define mutualism and give an example:






c)      Define parasitism and give an example:



c)       What is meant by competitive relationships?





d)     What determines an organisms habitat?  How about ecological niche?




C.    Ways that the living organisms in an ecosystem interact with the non-living environment:

1.      Describe what optimal levels, ranges of tolerance and limits of tolerance are for species.






2.   What is a limiting factor?




3. What is the relationship between limiting factors and endangered species?



III.  Ecosystems to Biomes

1. Explain what factors contribute to the type of biome found in any particular area.