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Biology 2e

Critical Thinking Questions

Biology 2eCritical Thinking Questions


Compare and contrast food chains and food webs. What are the strengths of each concept in describing ecosystems?


Describe freshwater, ocean, and terrestrial ecosystems.


Compare grazing and detrital food webs. Why would they both be present in the same ecosystem?


How does the microcosm modeling approach differ from utilizing a holistic model for ecological research?


How do conceptual and analytical models of ecosystems complement each other?


Compare the three types of ecological pyramids and how well they describe ecosystem structure. Identify which ones can be inverted and give an example of an inverted pyramid for each.


How does the amount of food a warm-blooded animal (endotherm) eats relate to its net production efficiency (NPE)?


A study uses an inverted pyramid to demonstrate the relationship between sharks, their aquatic prey, and phytoplankton in an ocean region. What type of pyramid must be used? What does this convey to readers about predation in the area?


Describe what a pyramid of numbers would like if an ecologist models the relationship between bird parasites, blue jays, and oak trees in a hectare. Does this match the energy flow pyramid?


Describe nitrogen fixation and why it is important to agriculture.


What are the factors that cause dead zones? Describe eutrophication, in particular, as a cause.


Why are drinking water supplies still a major concern for many countries?


Discuss how the human disruption of the carbon cycle has caused ocean acidification.

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