Ecology Test Study Questions


  1. What is insolation ?
  2. Why doesn't the solar energy absorbed by the Earth cause the Earth to overheat ?
  3. How do ocean and wind currents re-distribute the sun's energy ?
  4. What latitudes have a net energy gain from insolation ?
  5. What latitudes have a net energy loss due to re-radiated heat ?
  6. Can radiation go through empty space or does it need a medium to move through ?
  7. What does convection requires to move heat energy ?
  8. Why does the land heat and cool faster than the oceans ?
  9. Why are there global winds ?
  10. Why are there ocean currents ?
  11. Describe the changes in air pressure, temperature and moisture as air moves over a mountain range.
  12. Why are deserts found at 30° N and S ?
  13. Do the polar regions tend to have high or low air pressure ?
  14. What effect do oceans have on temperatures and precipitation ?
  15. What is climate ?


  1. Define a biome.
  2. Give examples of abiotic factors in a biome.
  3. Give examples of biotic factors in a biome.
  4. Describe two major terrestrial biomes (include abiotic and biotic factors, and example plants and animals).
  5. What biome do we live in ?

Energy Flow and Trophic Levels

  1. What are trophic levels ?
  2. What is a food web ?
  3. What is biomass ?
  4. What are primary producers, primary and secondary consumers, carnivores, herbivores, omnivores, detrivores ?
  5. Does energy cycle in an ecosystem ?
  6. What are average energy losses with each trophic level ?
  7. Draw a food chain for the tundra.

Biogeochemical Cycles

  1. Describe the biogeochemical cycle for carbon.
  2. Draw the hydrologic cycle.
  3. What group of organisms play an important role in the nitrogen cycle?
  4. In natural systems there is no waste. True or false? Why ?


  1. What is a population ?
  2. Describe the two models of population growth - exponential and logistic.
  3. What is carrying capacity ?

Community Ecology

  1. What is a community ?
  2. What is habitat ?
  3. What is niche ?
  4. Give an example of organisms that might follow a boom-crash population cycle.
  5. How do competition and predator-prey interactions shape a community ?
  6. Which of these interactions benefits both species involved ? parasitism, mutualism, commensalism
  7. Name a chemical and a physical plant defense.
  8. Name a chemical, physical and behavioral defense method that different animals have developed.