Ecology Test Hints

Know the homework question from Chapter 50, 52, 53, and 54. Also, know the lectures well. Here are a few additional things to focus on.

1. Be able to state and understand the 1st and 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and how they relate to the flow of energy through ecosystems.
2. Be able to state and understand the conservation of mass and explain how it explains the cycling of matter through ecosystems.
3. Understanding the different trophic levels and how they relate to one another in regards to energy flow and matter cycling: primary producers, primary consumers, secondary consumers, tertiary consumers, detritus/decomposers.
4. Know the difference between and autotroph and a heterotroph.
5. Know the difference between GPP and NPP.
6. Understand standing crop vs. NPP.
7. Know which ecosystems (aquatic and terrestrial) have the highest NPP. Know why this is the case and what the limiting factors are.
8. Understand secondary production and the loss of efficiency between trophic levels.
9. Be able to explain the three pyramids: energy pyramid, pyramid of numbers, pyramids of biomass.
10. Be able to use the pyramids to explain why it might be good for the earth for humans to eat lower on the pyramid.
11. Be able to explain the difference between a food chain and a food web.
12. Know the following biogeochemical cycles: carbon, phosphorus, nitrogen, water.
13. Know what drives the water cycle and why.
14. Understand the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the carbon cycle.
15. Be able to explain why carbon dioxide is building up in the atmosphere and what the consequences of this are.
16. Know the basics of the phosphorus cycle and realize that it is the one cycle in which the element does not spend time in the atmosphere (it is only found in water, land and living things).
17. Listen to "Peace Train" by Cat Stevens and then read the lyrics to "Food Chain." It is a great review and a very clever song parody, plus "Peace Train" is just a great song. Do the same for "Moon Shadow," and read the lyrics for "Rain Shadow."