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Give examples of an environmental system
Define ecology
Define ecosystem, biosphere, population,
community, and individual
Differentiate between the levels of ecology and
explain how they are different.
Understand that ecologists use models to
understand the world, and give examples of
potential ecological models.
What is an environmental system?
In an ecological sense, we can think of the
environmental system as a series of interactions
within the biosphere, which is composed of the
lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere.
Layer of the planet where life exists
Comprised of
 Lithosphere
 Rocky
layer of earth
 Hydrosphere
 All
the waters of the earth
 Atmosphere
 Layer
of gases surrounding the earth
What is ecology?
Ecology is the study of organisms’ relationships with
their environment and each other.
Ecologists study organisms at many different levels
of organization.
Think back to your bio days…
What are some the major levels of organization
within an organism?
 Organism
 Organ System  Organ  Tissue  Cell
In ecology, we also study different levels of
 Biome Ecosystem  Community 
Population  Organism/Individual
 Biosphere
Levels of organization
Levels of Organization
 All
living things and their environment
 Major
regional ecological community of plants and
animals; usually corresponds to plant ecologists’ and
European ecologists’ classification of plant formation
and life zones
 The
biotic community and abiotic environment
functioning as one
Levels of Organization
A group of interacting plants and animals inhabiting a
given area
group of individuals of the same species living in a
given area at a given time
 One
organism of a species existing in the world
Because many of the things ecologists study happen
on a large scale, they use models to garner a better
understanding of how the systems they study work.
For example,
 Ecologists
may be concerned about the way climate
change will impact forests in North America. To make
predictions about what effects climate change may
have on forests, ecologists build a mathematical model
to represent the forest and can change different
climatological variables to predict impacts on the
Take a moment to read through the selected
With a partner, brainstorm different models that
ecologists could use to study systems.