Energy flows in an ecosystem from producers to various levels of consumers and decomposers. This flow of energy can be diagramed using a food chain or food web. The efficiency of this flow of energy is represented by an energy pyramid.
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.