An ecosystem consists of all the interacting species and the abiotic environment in a given geographic area. All matter including essential nutrients cycle through an ecosystem. The most common examples of such matter and nutrients include carbon, nitrogen, and water.
The student will investigate and understand dynamic equilibria within populations, communities, and ecosystems. Key concepts include a) interactions within and among populations including carrying capacities, limiting factors, and growth curves; b) nutrient cycling with energy flow through ecosystems; c) succession patterns in ecosystems; d) the effects of natural events and human activities on ecosystems; and e) analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems.