NSDL teaching resources related to “ecosystem”

This resource explains how energy and pollutants move through an ecosystem, how ecosystems are balanced and how they may be affected by human activities. Concepts described include the roles of organisms, food chains and food webs, pyramids of biomass, biological magnification, and biogeochemical cycles such as water, carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous cycles.

Environmental Biology – Ecosystems

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This lesson, provided by Science NetLinks, is the fourth of a sequence of five lessons, teaching students that most of the materials and energy used by a city come from outside the city boundaries. Students will need to have at least a general working understanding of the concepts of flow (as in energy flow) and cycles (as in nutrient cycles) in order to get the most out of this lesson. The class will use various websites to investigate these processes and then create dramatic or musical skits demonstrating their understanding of the “actors” in the urban metabolism.

Urban Ecosystems 4: Metabolism of Urban Ecosystems

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In this extensive online report, the authors give estimated declines of natural ecosystems in the United States, provide a rationale for ecosystem-level conservation, discuss decline and threat as criteria for conservation, and relate ecosystem losses to endangerment at species and population levels. They further recommend that integrated conservation plans for ecosystems be developed in partially disturbed as well as in pristine sites to restore native biodiversity to those areas. Ecosystem conservation is not considered a substitute for species-level conservation.

Endangered Ecosystems of the United States: A Preliminary Assessment of Loss and Degradation

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This United States Geological Survey (USGS) publication discusses the grassland ecosystem with respect to declining bird species. This report is the effort of a number of agencies to develop a strategy for addressing grassland bird information needs. Grasslands are the most imperiled ecosystem worldwide, and birds associated with this ecosystem are on a decline. This report addresses monitoring issues, species in concern, and the effects of habitat and landscape on grassland birds.

Declining Birds in Grassland Ecosystems

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In this activity students will simulate aspects of the Antarctic ice ecosystem, and see how simple life forms respond, thus modeling links between environmental factors and biological responses. Students should recognize the parallels between their work and that done by the Palmer Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) team. Students will conduct a controlled experiment with brine shrimp eggs in order to draw conclusions about this organism’s response to variations in light levels and water temperature.

Modeling Krill Behavior: How Do Brine Shrimp React to Physical Stimuli?

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Users can access information about aquatic ecosystems and the range of organisms found in them, in particular the freshwater aquatic ecosystems of Canada. Topics include how ecosystems work, impacts of toxic substances on the food web, unhealthy aquatic ecosystems and how to restore them, the importance of aquatic ecosystem health to humans, wetlands issues in Canada, and how animals interact with wetland environments.

Water – An Ecosystem Perspective

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During the 1920s Robert E. Park (1864–1944) and Ernest W. Burgess (1886–1966) developed a distinctive program of urban research in the sociology department at the University of Chicago. In numerous research projects focused on the city of Chicago, Park and Burgess elaborated a theory of urban ecology which proposed that cities were environments like those found in nature, governed by many of the same forces of Darwinian evolution that affected natural ecosystems. The most important of these forces was competition.

Robert Park and Ernest Burgess: Urban Ecology Studies, 1925

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