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Populations and Ecosystems The FOSS Populations and Ecosystems Course explores ecosystems as the largest organizational unit of life on Earth, defined by its physical environment and the organisms that live in the physical environment. Students learn that every organism has a role to play in its ecosystem and has structures and behaviors that allow it to survive. Students raise populations of organisms to discover population dynamics and interactions over a range of conditions. They learn that food is the source of energy used by all life forms in all ecosystems to conduct life processes. Reproduction, including limiting factors, heredity and natural selection are explored as ways to understand both the similarity and the variation within and between species. Web Sites http://www.fossweb.com/modulesMS/PopulationsandEcosystems/index.html http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/earth/ecosystems.html&edu=elem http://www.usoe.k12.ut.us/curr/science/sciber00/7th/classify/living/quiz/livingqu.htm http://www.saburchill.com/questions/lanlt001.html#FOSSIL http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/facilities/multimedia/uploads/alberta/Ecosystem.html http://ology.amnh.org/marinebiology/workthesystem/index.html http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/nwepecosystems.htm http://edugreen.teri.res.in/explore/life/ecosys.htm http://members.tripod.com/recalde/ch5.html Concepts An organism is any living thing. An organism’s habitat is where it lives-the place where it can meet all of its requirements for life. A kind of organism that is different from all other kinds of organisms is called a species. An individual is one single organism. A population is all the individuals of one kind (one species) in a specified area at one time. A community is all the interacting populations in a specified area. An ecosystem is a system of interacting organisms and nonliving factors in a specified area. Biotic factors are living elements in an ecosystem; abiotic factors are nonliving elements. Mono Lake is an example of an alkaline lake ecosystem. The sequence of organisms that eat one another is a food chain. All the feeding relationships in an ecosystem define the food web for that ecosystem. The Mono Lake ecosystem is defined by the interactions among the organisms and physical factors that exist in the Mono Lake Basin. Food is energy-rich organic matter that organisms need to conduct their life processes. Energy in food is measured in kilocalories. Photosynthesis is the process by which energy-rich molecules (food) are made from water, carbon dioxide and light. Feeding relationships define trophic levels: producers, consumers, and decomposers Reproductive potential is the theoretical unlimited growth of a population over time. A limiting factor is any biotic or abiotic component of the ecosystem that controls the size of a population. Similar ecosystems occur in areas of similar abiotic conditions on Earth An ecosystem is a group of interacting organisms and nonliving factors in a specified area. All ecosystems have characteristics in common, such as trophic levels – producers, consumers, and decomposers. An adaptation is any trait of an organism that enhances its chances of surviving and reproducing in its environment. A feature is a structure, characteristic, or behavior of an organism, such as eye color, fur pattern, or timing of migration. A trait is the way a feature is expressed in an individual organism, such as brown eyes, small spots, or early migration. Variation is the range of expression of a feature within a population, such as all the different eye colors, all the different fur patterns, and all the dates on which migration starts. The individuals in every population vary from one another in their traits. Heredity is the passing of information from one generation to the next. Chromosomes are structures that contain hereditary information and transfer it to the next generation; they occur in nearly identical pairs in the nucleus of every cell. Genes are the basic units of heredity carried by chromosomes. Genes code for features of organisms. Alleles are variations of genes that determine traits in organisms; the two alleles on paired chromosomes constitute a gene. Alleles can be dominant or recessive. Dominant alleles exhibit their effect if they are present on one chromosome; recessive alleles exhibit their effect only when they are on both chromosomes. An organism’s particular combination of paired alleles is its genotype; the traits produced by those alleles result in the organism’s phenotype. A gene composed of two identical alleles (e.g. both dominant or both recessive) is homozygous; a gene composed of two different alleles (i.e. one dominant and one recessive) is heterozygous. Environmental factors put selective pressure on populations. Natural selection is the process by which the individuals best adapted to their environment tend to survive and pass their traits to subsequent generations. Members of a species are all the same kind of organisms and are different from all other kinds of organisms. Vocabulary Abiotic: Nonliving Adaptation: Any trait of an organism that increases its chances of surviving and reproducing. Alkaline lake: A salty lake where the pH is greater than 7. Allele: Variations of genes that determine traits in organisms; the two corresponding alleles on two paired chromosomes constitute a gene. Aquatic: Of the water. Autotroph: Organisms that make their own food. Biomass: The total organic matter in an ecosystem. Biotic: Living organisms and products of organisms. Carbohydrate: Food in the form of sugar or starch. Carrying capacity: The maximum size of a population that can be supported by a given environment. Chromosome: A structure that transfers hereditary information to the next generation. Community: All the interacting populations in a specified area. Consumer: An organism that eats other organisms. Decomposer: An organism that consumes parts of dead organisms and transfers all the biomass into simple chemicals. Detritivore: An organism that eats detritus, breaking the organic material into smaller parts that a decomposer could use for food. Detritus: Small parts of organic material. Dominant allele: A form of a gene that is expressed as the trait when a dominant allele is present. Ecosystem: A system of interacting organisms and nonliving factors in a specified area. Environment: The surroundings of an organism including the living and nonliving factors. Exoskeleton: A tough, outer covering that insects and other organisms have for protection. Feature: A structure, characteristic, or behavior of an organism, such as eye color, fur pattern, or timing of migration. Food chain: A sequence of organisms that eat one another in an ecosystem. Food pyramid: A kind of trophic-level diagram in the shape of a pyramid in which the largest layer at the base is the producers with the firs-level, second-level, and third-level consumers in the layers above. Food web: All the feeding relationships in an ecosystem. Gene: The basic unit of heredity carried by the chromosomes; code for features or organisms. Genotype: An organism’s particular combination of paired alleles. Herbivore: An organism that eats only plants. Heterotroph: An organism that cannot make its own food and must eat other organisms. Heterozygous gene: A gene composed of two different alleles (a dominant and a recessive). Homozygous gene: A gene composed of two identical alleles (e.g., both dominant). Incomplete metamorphosis: A process of gradual maturing of an insect (egg, nymphal stages or instars, adult). Individual: One single organism Instar: An immature nymphal stage of an insect as it grows into an adult form. Limiting factor: Any biotic or abiotic component of the ecosystem that controls the size of the population. Molting: The process of shedding exoskeleton in order to grow. Morph: A form in a species that occurs in one or more forms (such as colors). Natural selection: The process by which the individuals best adapted to their environment tend to survive and pass their traits to subsequent generations. Omnivore: A consumer that eats both plants and animals. Organism: A living thing. Phenotype: The traits produced by the genotype; the expression of the genes. Photosynthesis: The process by which producers make energy-rich molecules (food) from water and carbon dioxide in the presence of light. Population: All the individuals of one kind (one species) in a specified area at one time. Phytoplankton: A huge array of photosynthetic microorganisms, mostly single-celled protests, that are free-floating in water. Proboscis: A tube like beak for sucking fluids from plants. True bugs have this structure. Producer: An organism that is able to produce its own food through photosynthesis. Recessive allele: A form of a gene that is expressed as the trait only when a dominant allele is not present. Reproductive potential: The theoretical unlimited growth of a population over time. Species: A kind of organism; members of a species are all the same kind of organism and are different from all other kinds of organisms. Terrestrial: Of the land Tertiary: Third level Trait: The specific way a feature is expressed in an individual organism. Trophic levels: Functional role in a feeding relationship through which energy flows. Tufa tower: A naturally occurring, gray, lumpy structure that forms under water in a salt lake because of a chemical reaction between calcium and salt in the water. Variation: The range of expression of a trait within a population. Zooplankton: Microscopic adult animals and larval forms of animals found free-floating in fresh water and seawater. Family Activities Fish Bowl Cake Recipe Rating: Prep Time: 25 min Total Time: 4 hr 55 min Makes: 12 servings Nutrition Information Kraft Kitchens Tips Ratings and comments You may also enjoy 1 pkg. (12 oz.) pound cake, cut into 1-inch cubes 1/2 cup jelly beans 2 cups boiling water 2 pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Brand Berry Blue Flavor Gelatin 4 cups ice cubes 12 bite-size fish-shaped chewy fruit snacks PLACE cake cubes in bottom of clean new 2-qt. plastic fish bowl; top with the jelly beans. Set aside. STIR boiling water into dry gelatin mixes in large bowl until completely dissolved. Add ice cubes; stir until gelatin begins to thicken. Remove any unmelted ice. Pour thickened gelatin into fish bowl. ARRANGE fruit snacks in gelatin to resemble fish swimming in a fish bowl. Refrigerate 4 hours or until gelatin is set. To serve, scoop out the gelatin and cake with a large spoon. Store leftover dessert in refrigerator. KRAFT KITCHENS TIPS Where to Buy a Fish Bowl You can find a plastic fish bowl at any pet store or party store. Be sure to thoroughly wash and dry the fish bowl before using. Family Fun Try using a combination of bite-size fish-, shark- and octopus-shaped chewy fruit snacks. Easy JELL-O® Terrarium Recipe Rating: Prep Time: 10 min Total Time: 55 min Makes: 16 servings, about 2/3 cup each Nutrition Information Kraft Kitchens Tips Ratings and comments You may also enjoy 2 cups boiling water 1 pkg. (8-serving size) or 2 pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Brand Berry Blue Flavor Gelatin 2 cups cold water 16 OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, finely crushed 44 NILLA Wafers, crushed 16 NUTTER BUTTER Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies, coarsely crushed 2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping STIR boiling water into dry gelatin in large bowl at least 2 min. until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water. Pour into large glass bowl. REFRIGERATE 45 min. or until set. TOP gelatin with a layer each of crushed OREO Cookies, NILLA Wafers and NUTTER BUTTER Cookies to resemble a terrarium. Top with whipped topping for "snow." Aquarium Cups Recipe Rating: Prep Time: 15 min Total Time: 1 hr 15 min Makes: 4 servings, about 1/2 cup each Nutrition Information Kraft Kitchens Tips Ratings and comments You may also enjoy 3/4 cup boiling water 1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Brand Berry Blue Flavor Gelatin Ice cubes 1/2 cup cold water 1/2 cup chopped strawberries 4 bite-size fish-shaped chewy fruit snacks STIR boiling water into gelatin in medium bowl at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Add enough ice cubes to cold water to measure 1-1/4 cups. Add to gelatin; stir until slightly thickened. Remove any unmelted ice. If mixture is still thin, refrigerate until slightly thickened. PLACE fruit on bottom of 4 clear plastic cups. Pour thickened gelatin evenly over fruit. Suspend fruit snacks in gelatin. REFRIGERATE about 1 hour or until firm. KRAFT KITCHENS TIPS Great Substitute Substitute your favorite fruit for the strawberries. Under-the-Sea Cake Recipe Rating: Prep Time: 35 min Total Time: 5 hr 35 min Makes: 16 servings Nutrition Information Kraft Kitchens Tips Ratings and comments You may also enjoy 1 pkg. (2-layer size) white cake mix, any flavor 2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, divided 3/4 cup boiling water 1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Brand Berry Blue Flavor Gelatin 2 cups ice cubes 10 NILLA Wafers, crushed 2 chewy fruit snack rolls 15 jelly beans 4 TEDDY GRAHAMS Honey Graham Snacks Decorating gel 7 bite-size fish-shaped chewy fruit snacks PREPARE and bake cake batter in greased foil-lined 13x9-inch baking pan as directed on package. Cool completely. Invert cake onto large platter; remove pan and foil. Use a serrated knife to cut 1/2-inch-wide strip off each side of cake. Cut each strip in half lengthwise; set aside. SPREAD cake with 1-1/2 cups of the whipped topping. Stack cake strips around outside edges of cake to make a rim. Spread rim with remaining 1/2 cup whipped topping. Refrigerate until ready to use. STIR boiling water into dry gelatin mix in large bowl at least 2 min. until completely dissolved. Add ice cubes; stir until gelatin begins to thicken. Remove any unmelted ice. Pour thickened gelatin into center of cake as shown in photo. Refrigerate 4 hours or until gelatin is set. Decorate with remaining ingredients to resemble an aquarium. Store in refrigerator.