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In this course, we will delve more deeply into topics that were introduced in Science I and Science II to learn about the relationship between organisms and the environment in which they live. Why do some plants and animals exist in one place but not another? By the end of the semester, students should understand how individual organisms are specialized to inhabit specific niches in the limited number of places they are found on Earth.


Unit Essential Questions Habits Of Mind Content Skills and Processes Assessment Resources
Relationship of Organisms to Their Environment

In what ways do organisms "relate" to their environment?

If Environments Change Do Organisms Change too?

How does environment determine which organisms survive?

Separation of ancient Gondwana into separate continents favors different organisms in different places.

What makes Australia different from all other continents?

Why are most marsupials and all egg-laying mammals in Australia and not elsewhere

Students learn to realize that a lof of interrelated factors determine where different organisms are located in the environment.

Use knowledge of wind patterns, seasonal weather, ocean currents to predict local requirements for for organisms.

Learn about continental drift, evidence and results.

See how continental drift and latitude change affect natural selective pressures locally.

See evidence of affect of biotic and abiotic factors on organisms.


Learn to look at the interaction of organisms and their environment with a keener eye. 

Learn how organisms interact with biotic and abiotic factors in vivo.

Unit tests.


Oral presentations.

Journal Articles

UTube, PBS, and National Geographic videos.

Biology - Campbell & Reece, with accompanying PowerPoints

Winds and Currents

What causes wind and ocean currents?

What is the Coriolis effect and how does it affect wind and water currents?

How do variations in wind patterns and ocean currents affect weather and climate?

How do climate and other abiotic factors afect the distribution of living species. 

Students learn to always consider what the different abiotic factors are when studying the distribution of living species.


Insolation, Coriolis, Hadley Cells, Ferrell Cells, Polar Cells, "Deep Ocean Conveyer," "Dead Zones,""The Little Ice Age," Trophic Model forTypes of Lakes, Global Climate Change.

Learn to predict which way predominant winds would be blowing at a particular place on Earth.

Learn how the hydrologic cycle distributes fresh water and how it responds to global climate change, either warmer or colder. 

Learn how oxygen is distributed in lakes and in the ocean, including at great deptths. 


Unit tests.

Homework projects.

"Reader's Guide" question sheets.

Biology - Campbell & Reece

UTube and National Geographic videos.


Population Ecology

What factors determine the density, dispersion and demographics of a population?

What is the Exponential Model of population growth?

What is the "Logistic Model" of population growth?

How does the density of  population affect its growth rate?

Students learn that although the pressures on all populations are the same, there are different ways that organisms can respond to those pressures successfully.


Examining population growth patterns of different kinds of organisms with different demographics.

Learning what factors affect populations and their growth patterns.


Look carefully at specific example organisms to identify different responses to similar pressures. 

See how different organisms have evolved different ways to meet environmental challenges to their populations. 

Learn to offer a good hypotheses about reasons for different survivorship patterns.

Unit tests.

Oral presentations.

Homework projects.

Biology - Campbell & Reece

Journal articles.

PowerPoint Presentations

Community Ecology

What types of interactions are there among members of populations?

Do community interactions always help the community, or do they do harm, or might they have no effect on the community?

What determines how diverse a community might be?

What is the "trophic structure" of a community?

What are "keystone species" and how do they influence the structure of a community?

What are the "top down" and Bottom up" models of population control?

How does disturbance affect a population?

How do biogeographic factors affect the location and diversity of a community?

How are pathogens that affect humans affected by community structure?

Remember that organisms and their populations are intimately dependent of the trophic levels both just above and just below them.

Remember that biogeographic limitations of a particular location may limit the size and diversity of a population. 


Parasitism, commensalism, predation, herbivores, mutualism, symbiosis, and competition. 

Dominant and Keystone species.

Natural disturbances to populations.

Biogeographic factors that limit populations. 

Pathogen travel in communities - epidemiology.

Students learn to identify Parasitism, commensalism, and mutualism.

How to explain changes in community by either the "bottom up" model or the "top down"method.

Students learn to loook carefully at a particular habitat to see what biogeographic factors are going to contribute to community diversity.

Unit tests.

Homework projects. 


Biology - Campbell & Reece

Journal articles.

YouTube videos


How do physical laws govern the flow of energy and mass in ecosystems?

What controls "primary productivity" in an ecosystem?

How is energy transferred between levels of an ecosystem?

How do humans affect ecosystems?

Remember that although organisms are biological, they are still subject to the laws of physics and chemistry.


Conservation of mas and conservation of energy in ecosystems.

Energy flow in an ecosystem.

Primary production in aquatic and terrestrial ecpsystems. 

Learn to graphically present mass and energy flow among species in an ecosystem. 

Learn how to minimize human impact on ecosystems. 

Learn how energy and primary productivity determine population in a particular area. 

Unit tests.

Oral presentations.

Homework projects.

Biology - Campbell & Reece

YouTube and National Geographic videos.