Monday, April 25, 2011

Ecology: Just in case you forgot...

 Since it has literally been eight years since I have taken basic biology, my ecological knowledge has gone from so-so to oh-no! Judging by the questions regarding ecology, I could use a basic refresher, and I would imagine that others could benefit as well. I really wanted to stick with the suggestions for my powerpoint layout and truly attempt to "keep it simple" and resist the urge to fill in all of the negative space. I tried to allow the slides to enhance my presentation material with a simple visual aid, and very minimal text. I also tried to use complimentary color contrasts of warm and cool colors for my background and font, as suggested.

My first slide is intended as an intro, or title slide to aid in the delivery of some basic general information about ecology as a science, as well as some general terminology. I would have discussed and defined terms such as "ecosystem", "deme", "population", "subpopulation", "aggregation", and "metapopulation".

Moving on to the second slide, my intention was to discuss some aspects of energy exchange and trophic levels using a food web as an example. Discussion of the different trophic levels such as primary producers, primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary consumers. Discussion of the concepts of niche and biomass would have worked well here. Also, the discussion and description of keystone species would have been necessary.  

Next, on the third slide, I felt discussion of biomes, and the variety of populations existing within would have been an interesting supplement. Specific examples of biomes, and potential organisms within would have served well here. This also would have transitioned well into my fourth slide.

For the final slide, I chose to discuss certain aspects of adaptation and natural selection with regard to the different biomes. Discussion of evolutionary adaptations such as those seen in different species of birds, which hail from a common ancestor, would have worked well to discuss the relationship between form and function due to certain environmental influences.

With so much to know about such a diverse science, this seems to be a good foundational start. My intention, as stated, was to recall some of the basic concepts of ecology, so if nothing else, at least the jargon would make sense whenever it arises again.

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