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Grossmont College, Bio 120
Exam 3 (Take Home)
Due: Wed., April 27, 8am
SUBMIT A FINALIZED & POLISHED HARD COPY
Exam 3
Ecology Take Home Exam
I. Describe an ecosystem. (30 points)
This part of the exam will evaluate your basic understanding of ecology. You will learn
about specific components of an ecosystem of your choosing from the IUCN Red List of
Ecosystems. This exercise will expose you the type of information that is included in a
scientific study of an ecosystem and provide you with an opportunity to explore questions
at multiple ecological levels within a framework outside of your textbook. The ecosystem
choices come from a series of research publications that have been made freely available by
the IUCN. They are dense and at times hard to read. Do not wait till the last minute.
First, learn about what the IUCN is by reading the short description provided on their
website. You can explore the website on your own (https://www.iucn.org/), or simply
follow this link: https://www.iucn.org/about. There is also a very nice three-minute video
at the bottom of the ‘about’ page that explains what the IUCN does. You will not need to
answer questions about the IUCN for this assignment because I want you to focus on your
ecosystem of choice. However, the information is relevant, useful, and provides a bit of
context for the articles.
DIRECTIONS:
Go to canvas and access the document entitled “Ecosystem Descriptions” from within the
supplementary materials folder. Select an ecosystem from the list and follow the link to the
associated online article. As you read the article, keep the objectives below in mind. Take
notes as you read in order to solidify your understanding. Look at the pictures/figures and
understand why they are relevant. Write your own description of the ecosystem by
addressing the below objectives in at least 500 words. It can be in paragraph form or bullet
points. Do your best work and do not plagiarize a single phrase from the article or
anywhere else.
Reminder: this is an exam; the idea is for you to show me what you’ve learned.
Ecosystem Description Objectives
1. For each level of ecological study convey a relevant question from the article, or
develop a relevant question of your own concerning the ecosystem you selected.
2. What are the characteristic biotic components of the ecosystem you selected?
3. What are the main abiotic components of the ecosystem you selected?
4. What are the key processes and interactions that take place within the ecosystem? If
you don’t understand the process/interaction you are trying to explain, use Google and
try to dig deeper. I need to see that you understand what you are writing about.
5. What outside threats are affecting or can potentially affect the ecosystem you selected?
Grossmont College, Bio 120
Exam 3 (Take Home)
Due: Wed., April 27, 8am
SUBMIT A FINALIZED & POLISHED HARD COPY
II. Analyze and interpret population growth models. (18 points)
Follow these instructions for each growth model pictured below:
* It’s best to print the pages and then write your answers in the boxes provided by each
graphic. If you wish to type into each box it may cause issues with formatting.
1. Explain exactly what the graphic is depicting. What values are represented on each
axis? What are the trend(s) within the data?
2. Explain the population growth model that is associated with each graphic.
3. Provide a thorough account of an additional ecological example (from the book,
from a web search, or from your brain) that also demonstrates each population
growth scenario.
Grossmont College, Bio 120
Exam 3 (Take Home)
Due: Wed., April 27, 8am
SUBMIT A FINALIZED & POLISHED HARD COPY
III.
Analyze and interpret population growth data. (18 points)
Follow these instructions for each figure pictured below:
* This task includes a total of four graphs.
1. Explain exactly what the graph is depicting.
2. Which limiting factor(s) drive the population dynamics shown in each graph?
Explain how the graph demonstrates the effect of the limiting factor.
3. Discuss how the idea of carrying capacity relates to each population addressed
in the graphs.
Grossmont College, Bio 120
Exam 3 (Take Home)
Due: Wed., April 27, 8am
SUBMIT A FINALIZED & POLISHED HARD COPY
Grossmont College, Bio 120
Exam 3 (Take Home)
Due: Wed., April 27, 8am
SUBMIT A FINALIZED & POLISHED HARD COPY
IV. Identify interspecific interactions and describe a keystone
species. (17 points)
1. Watch the Yellow Stone Wolves video again. As you watch, identify and explain
an example of predation, herbivory, competition, and mutualism within the
Yellowstone ecosystem. (12 points)

Here is a link to the video:
https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/a58e3ca2-52ab-45f5-87ac-26ee0d681146/wolves-of-yellowstoneearth-a-new-wild/
2. What is a keystone species? Go online and learn about a keystone species that is
not discussed in your book (or in the above video). Tell me about this keystone
species and why it is so important to its ecosystem. (5 points)
 Here is how I would do this task:
• First I went to Google and typed “keystone species” and I found a website that talks about some different
kinds of keystone species.
• Next, I picked one of them.
• Then, I went to Google again and typed the name of the keystone species I picked and surfed results to
learn more about it.
• Note: websites ending in .edu or .org, will tend to contain the most accurate information.
V. Biomes. (17 points)
1. Look at the article for the ecosystem you selected in part I. Observe the
distribution of your ecosystem. In which global biome(s) is your ecosystem
located? Compare and contrast the abiotic features of your ecosystem to the
features of the biome that it resides in. (5 points)
2. Pick 3 of the 9 terrestrial biomes. Review section 34.5 and make connections
involving how latitude, earth’s tilt, input of solar radiation, etc. relate to each of
the 3 terrestrial biomes you address. (12 points, 4 per biome)
Example of a full-credit response for task 2:
The Polar Biome
…(You can’t use this option in your answer because I am already providing a response for the polar ice biome here.)



The polar ice biomes are at the highest possible latitudes, so they receive a very low angle of incoming
sunlight. As a result, these areas absorb the least amount of solar energy and are very cold.
o How did I get this? I looked at figure 34.5A, read about the figure, and related it to the locations of
the polar ice biome.
The polar ice biome, due to its high latitude, experiences distinctive seasonal variation due to the Earth’s
tilt. This results in extremes in day/night length during solstice times of the year.
o I looked at figure 34.5B, read about the figure, and again related it to the polar ice biome.
NOTE: Other biomes will be influenced by factors depicted in additional figures from 34.5. Don’t just rely
the two figures that I used in my response. E.g. offshore currents, in addition to other factors, influence
the chaparral biome.
You have now officially completed the take home exam.
Grossmont College, Bio 120
Exam 3 (Take Home)
Due: Wed., April 27, 8am
SUBMIT A FINALIZED & POLISHED HARD COPY
Bonus points are offered on the next page.
VI. Bonus Section: Aquatic Biomes.
Tell me what you’ve independently learned about aquatic biomes:
− What abiotic factors characterize aquatic biomes? (2 points)
− What are some of the marine biotic communities and how do abiotic factors influence
the structure of these communities? (1 point per community)
− How do abiotic factors influence the different freshwater biomes? (1 point per biome)

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