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Organisms require a successful relationship with their environment in order to survive. They have to obtain energy and nutrients effectively from their surroundings, conduct their own life processes, and get rid of metabolic wastes. Plants require sunlight and water for photosynthesis. Fungi will only grow in areas where they can digest and absorb nutrients. Animals need to consume food. Protists and bacteria are all dependent on their environments in some way for nutrients. The wastes that organisms produce become part of the environment, and may impact their own survival or that of others at some time in the future. These considerations are part of the branch of biology called ecology. Ecology includes all the interactions of organisms with their environments.

The Ecology study guide unit introduces several concepts that are fundamental to an understanding of ecology. It starts with succession, then considers food chains, food webs, and energy flows through ecosystems. It includes a discussion of the interdependence between photosynthesis and respiration, dynamics of population biology, and finally interactions between populations.

Ecology is excerpted from our Biology 11 Study Guide, which is the fourth edition of a student study guide written to match the curriculum of British Columbia. The concepts presented are applicable to the biology curricula of other educational jurisdictions as well.

As with each of the biology study guide units in this series, this unit contains:

  • Biological terms linked to a Glossary where they are carefully and contextually defined
  • Biological names in the Glossary linked to a useful Taxonomic Guide
  • Diagrams that display fullscreen views when double-tapped
  • Quiz-view formats of many diagrams in the enhanced version
  • Sets of Concept Check-up questions dispersed in the unit that are linked to their answers
  • Sets of Discussion Questions dispersed in the unit designed to challenge you as you work through it
  • A concluding set of Check Your Understanding of Concepts multiple choice questions linked to their answers
  • A set of Build Your Understanding questions designed to push you beyond the limitations of this unit.

Note: Discussion Questions and Build Your Understanding questions are not linked to their answers.