Chapter 4
Ecosystems & Communities

Chapter Resources

Is there Life in a Desert of Ice?
Check out this page on life at the North Pole

Our Global Climate System

Climate Lesson Plans

Mutualism (Wikipedia)

Center for Marine Conservation
(Scripps Institute)

Biome Fundamentals

Exploring Biodiversity
(from the Wild Classroom!)



Interdependence in Nature
Q: How do abiotic and biotic factors shape ecosystems?

Think about it - When you think about climate, you might think of dramatic headlines: "Hurricane Katrina floods New Orleans!" or "Drought parches the Southeast!" But big storms and seasonal droughts are better described as weather rather than climate. So, what is climate?

Key Questions Include:

What is Climate?
What factors determine Global Climate?
What is a Niche?
How does competition shape Communities?
How does predation shape Communities?
How do communities change over time?
Do Ecosystems return to "normal" following a disturbance?
What factors affect life in an aquatic ecosystem?
What are estuaries so important?
How do ecolopgists classify marine ecosystems?

The Wolf Effect

During the 1920s, hunting and trapping eliminated wolves from Yellowstone National Park. For decades, ecologists hypothesized that the loss of wolves - important predators of elk and other large grazing animals - had changed the
park ecosystem. But because there were no before and after data, it was impossible to test that hypothesis directly.

Then, in the mid 1990s, wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone...


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