Karen lancour national bio rules committee chairman karenlancour@charter net
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2017 Science Olympiad Official Ecology Presentation PowerPoint PPT Presentation

This basically covers the same things in my videos, but it's more official and probably more in tune with the actual tests

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2017 Science Olympiad Official Ecology Presentation

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National Bio Rules Committee Chairman

[email protected]

2017 ECOLOGY (B&C)

Ecology Events

  • Ecology – principles of ecology related to terrestrial environments – 2 year rotation by biomes ( 1- tundra & forests & 2-deserts & grasslands)

  • Water Quality – principles of ecology related to aquatic environments – 2 year rotation by aquatic biomes (1-freshwater & 2- marine & estuary)

  • Green Generation (Environmental Science) – man’s impact on ecology and possible solutions – 2 year rotation by problem issues (1-Aquatic, Air, Climate & 2-Terrestrial, Population Growth)

Event Rules – 2017


This presentation was prepared using draft rules.  There may be some changes in the final copy of the rules.The rules which will be in your Coaches Manual and Student Manuals will be the official rules.

Event Rules – 2017



  • Training Power Point – content overview

  • Training Handouts – content information

  • Sample Tournament – sample problems with key

  • Event Supervisor Guide – prep tips, setup needs, and scoring tips

  • Internet Resources & Training Materials – on the Science Olympiad website at www.soinc.org under Event Information

  • A Biology-Earth Science CD, an Ecology CD as well as the Division B and Division C Test Packets are available from SO store atwww.soinc.org


  • Ecology Content – 2017

    • PART 1-Principles of Ecology (about 1/3)

    • PART 2- Terrestrial Ecosystem - Tundra, Taiga and Forests of North America (about 1/3)

    • PART 3- Human Impact on Ecosystems (about 1/3)

  • Process skills in data, graph and diagram analysis

  • Event parameters – check the event parameters in the rules for resources allowed.

PART I: General Principles of Ecology

ECOLOGY – how organisms interact with one another and with their environment

ENVIRONMENT – living and non-living components

  • ABIOTIC – non-living component or physical factors as soil, rainfall, sunlight, temperatures

  • BIOTIC – living component are other organisms.


  • INDIVIDUAL– individual organisms

  • POPULATION– organisms of same species in same area (biotic factors)

  • COMMUNITY– several populations in same area (biotic factors)

  • ECOSYSTEM– community plus abiotic factors

  • BIOSPHERE– all ecosystems on earth


  • Homeostasis – delicate balance

  • Components

    • Physiological Ecology

    • Temperature and Water Balance

    • Light and Biological Cycles

    • Physiological Ecology and Conservation


  • Properties of populations

  • Patterns of distribution and density

  • Intra-specific competition

  • Population dynamics

  • Growth and regulation

  • Altering population growth

  • Human impact

Growth Curves

Human Population

Survival Curves

  • Survivorshipis the percentage of remaining survivors of a population over time; usually shown graphically. Type I survivorship curve: most individuals live out their life span and die of old age (e.g., humans). Type II survivorship curve: individuals die at a constant rate (e.g., birds, rodents, and perennial plants). Type III survivorship curve: most individuals die early in life (e.g., fishes, invertebrates, and plants).


  • Closed vs. Open communities

    • Closed – sharp boundaries

    • Open – Lack boundaries

  • Species abundance and diversity

  • Trophic Structure of Communities

    • Food chains

    • Food web

    • Trophic pyramid


  • Interactions

  • Interspecific


  • Predation

  • Exploitation

  • Symbiosis

Types of Species Interactions

  • Neutral – two species do not interact

  • Mutualism – both benefit

  • Commensalism – one benefits, other neutral

  • Parasitism – one benefits, one harmed

    but not killed

  • Predation – one benefits, other killed

Predator - Prey Relationship

Food Chain

  • Producer

  • 1st order Consumer or Herbivore

  • 2nd order Consumer or 1st order Carnivore

  • 3rd order Consumer or 2nd order Carnivore

  • 4th order Consumer or 3rd order Carnivore

  • Decomposers – consume dead and decaying matter

Food Web


  • Energy Flow

    • Energy Flow Pyramids

    • Bio-mass Pyramids

  • Community Succession and Stability

  • Nutrient Recycling – nutrient cycles

Energy vs Nutrient

  • Nutrients– cyclic

    (Biogeochemical Cycles)

  • Energy flow– one way

Ecologic Pyramids

Ecological pyramid - a graph representing trophic level numbers within an ecosystem. The primary producer level is at the base of the pyramid with the consumer levels above.

Numbers pyramid - compares the number of individuals in each trophic level.

Biomass pyramid - compares the total dry weight of the organisms in each trophic level.

Energy pyramid - compares the total amount of energy available in each trophic level. This energy is usually measured in kilocalories.

Numbers Pyramid

Biomass & Energy Flow Pyramids

Biogeochemical Cycles

  • Hydrologic Cycle

  • Phosphorus Cycle

  • Nitrogen Cycle

  • Carbon Cycle

Hydrologic (Water) Cycle

Phosphorus Cycle

Nitrogen Cycle

Carbon Cycle


  • Types of Ecological Spheres

    • Biosphere

    • Lithosphere

    • Hydrosphere

    • Atmosphere

  • Biogeochemical Cycles

  • Disruption of Biosphere

  • Specie Extinction & Biosphere Destruction


  • Ecosystem stability and the response of ecosystems to disturbance are of crucial importance

  • Biological diversity acts to stabilize ecosystem functioning in the face of environmental fluctuation.

  • Variation among species in their response to such fluctuation is an essential requirement for ecosystem stability

  • Climate change and other human-driven (anthropogenic) environmental changes will continue to cause biodiversity loss in the coming decades




Structural, Physiological and Behavioral

help species to survive in their environment. Most organisms have combinations of all three types


There are natural causes

Man’s activities have

accelerated extinction



  • 2017 – Terrestrial Ecosystems of NA

    • Tundra

    • Taiga (Boreal Forest or Coniferous Forest)

    • Deciduous Forests

  • 2018 – Terrestrial Ecosystems of NA

    • Grasslands

    • Deserts

Terrestrial EcosystemsLatitude vs. Altitude

Ecosystems: Temperature and Climate for Terrestrial Biomes

Adaptations of Plants & Animals

  • Not intended to be a taxonomic event

  • Emphasis on adaptations of common plants and animals to each biome

  • Common members of food chains and food webs of each biome

  • Limiting factors for each biome


  • About one fifth of the land surface of the earth is tundra.

  • Located next to icy zones in the arctic encircling North Pole down to Taiga. (Arctic Tundra)

  • Located at the top of mountains above the tree line ( Alpine Tundra)


  • Simple vegetation structure

  • Limitation of drainage

  • Energy and nutrients in the form of dead organic


  • Large population oscillations

TUNDRA – Abiotic Factors

  • Angle of incidence for incoming solar radiation is low and twilight lasts many hours

  • Temperature - extremely cold - from -30oC to -40oC in winter; average winter temperature of - 34 degrees C ( -30 degrees F). Highest summer temperature is only about 10o C

  • Annual precipitation (mostly as snow) is 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) which is desert-like

  • Winds - often reach speeds of 30 to 60 miles (48 to 97 km/hr)

  • Sunlight - During the winter there are only a few hours or less of sunlight in the summer, there is sunlight almost 24 hours a day.

  • Ground surface - spongy, uneven as a result of freezing and thawing

  • Permafrost - Plains of tundra are covered with snow, ice and frozen soil most of the year

  • Growing Season - Short season of growth and reproduction - from 50 to 60 days

Tundra Energy Pyramid

TUNDRA of North America

Plants of the Tundra

  • About 1,700 kinds of plants

  • Tiny flowering plants (4 inches or less in height)

  • grasses

  • lichens – crustose

    and foliose

  • sedges

  • willows

TUNDRA – Plant Adaptations

  • Many of the plants are perennials so they can store food from season to season

  • Must adapt to strong winds and disturbances in soil

  • Plants are short and group together

  • Form little cushions or mats close to the ground where ground is warmer than the air

  • Carry out photosynthesis at low temperatures and low light intensities

  • Adapt to short growing seasons by reproducing by asexually rather than sexually

Tundra Food Web

Animals of the TUNDRA

  • Primary consumers (Herbivores) – lemmings, insects, musk oxen, reindeer

  • Secondary consumers ( Carnivores) – snow owls, arctic foxes, polar bears

  • Migratory birds: ravens, snow buntings, falcons, loons, sandpipers, terns, snow birds, and various species of gulls

  • Insects: mosquitoes, flies, moths, grasshoppers, blackflies and arctic bumble bees

  • Fish: cod, flatfish, salmon, and trout

  • Reptiles and amphibians are few or absent

TUNDRA: Animal Adaptations

  • Must adapt to extremely cold winters

  • Breed and raise their young very quickly during the short summers

  • Many as birds migrate south in the winter

  • Many of those that stay - hibernate during the winter

  • Constant immigration and emigration – Population constantly oscillates

Environmental Importanceof the TUNDRA

  • Filters millions of liters of water

  • Stores large amounts of carbon

  • Permafrost layer doesn’t normally thaw out, so the organic matter stored in them is effectively trapped forever

  • Global warming lowers the thaw depth, and the peat and organic matter begins decaying inputting of CO2 to the atmosphere

TUNDRA: Role in Earth’s Climate

  • global warming is happening at twice the rate of more temperate regions of the earth

  • affects the release or retention of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane

  • methane is 20 times more efficient at trapping warmth than carbon dioxide

  • soil nutrients, plant type, and plant biomass will be affected by changes in soil moisture and can modify the amount and types of greenhouse gases

  • the climate balance could tip not just in the Arctic, but throughout the world


  • 2nd largest forest in the world

  • Ring Artic between Artic and Deciduous Forest – 50 to 60 degrees North Latitude

  • Upper elevations of Mountains

Taiga or Boreal (Evergreen) forests of North America

Taiga – Abiotic Factors

  • Angle of incidence for incoming solar radiation is low and twilight lasts many hours

  • Seasons- short, moist and moderately warm summers & long, cold, dry winters.

  • Temperature: -65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit

  • Variable precipitation: 6-40 in (15-100 cm).

  • Soils – thin because they were scraped by glaciers and very acid because of decomposition of pine needles

  • Absence of earth-churning invertebrates as earthworms so soil is hard and compact

  • Fire a major factor in maintaining biome

Environmental Importanceof the Taiga

  • Filters millions of liters of water

  • Stores large amounts of carbon

  • Produces oxygen

  • Rebuilds soils and restores nutrients

  • Bogs and marshes provides habitats for large numbers of species from fish to birds

Taiga - Food web

Taiga: Types of Plants

  • Conifers are major producer

  • Most common types – spruce, balsam fir and pine

  • Others – hemlock, cedar, redwood, junipers

  • Latitude and altitude influences species

  • Berry-producing shrubs important to birds, mammals and people

  • Some types of fungi, lichens, and mosses

Taiga: Plant Adaptations

  • Trees have upside down cone shape so snow slides off the branches

  • Branches are flexible to hold great amounts of snow and not break

  • Trees grow thin and close together to protect them from cold and wind

  • Needles are waxy for protection from freezing temperatures and prevent them from drying out

  • Needles are present year round and deep green to absorb the maximum warmth from the sun

  • Thick bark which does not easily burn and protects inner layers from heat and cones protect the seeds

Taiga: Types of Animals

  • Insects – millions of insects in the summer

  • birds – up to 3 billion insect-eating birds breed each year in Taiga – over 200 species

  • Seed-eaters like finches and sparrows as well as omnivorous birds as crows stay all year

  • Crossbill has specialized bill for prying open cones and nuthatch can break the cones open

  • Herbivores as small mammals, snowshoe rabbits, red squirrels, voles and lemming

  • Predators feeding on small mammals as owls, wolves, lynx, bobcats, minks, wolverines, weasels, mink, otters, martens, fishers

  • Deer, elk and moose

  • Largest predators as grizzlies, lynx, and mountain lions will also feed on weakened or young deer, elk or moose

Taiga: Animal Adaptations for long cold winters and hot summers

  • migrate south in winter (birds)

  • go into hibernation during winter

  • store extra fat layers on their bodies for winter

  • change diets from season to season

  • grow extra fur on the bottom of their feet to tread on snow easier (lynx and snowshoe rabbit)

  • change fur color and coat thickness from season to season

  • live under snow in winter in snow tunnels (lemmings, mice, shrews, voles)

Taiga: Role in Earth’s Climate

  • It stores large quantities of carbon stored as plant material on forest floor (up to 10 feet in some areas)

  • 1 cm of plant material can hold 2.5 tons of carbon per acre

  • Taiga acts like a large refrigerator preventing fallen trees, needles and other debris from decomposing

  • Heating up the taiga is causing the following problems:

    Litter decomposes putting carbon into the atmosphere

    Increases in forest fires

    Infestation by bark beetles which is killing the trees

    Dead trees - tinder to fuel the forest fires and adding more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere



Food web

Special adaptations

Plant and animals

Special environmental issues

Effect of human populations



  • The average temperature of the forest is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • The average rainfall here in the forest is 30 to 60 inches a year

  • The deciduous trees lose their leaves in fall with spectacular fall colors and they grow back in spring


  • Temperature varies from -30° C to 30° C.

  • Precipitation (75-150 cm) is distributed evenly throughout the year.

  • Soil is fertile, enriched with decaying litter.

  • Canopy is moderately dense and allows light to penetrate, resulting in well-developed and richly diversified understory vegetation and stratification of animals

  • There are four seasons so animals & plants have special adaptations to these yearly changes

Tree stratum- the tallest layer, 60 -100 feet high, with large oak, maple, beech, chestnut, hickory, elm, basswood, linden, walnut, or sweet gum trees

Small tree or sapling layer - short tree species and young trees

Shrub layer - shrubs like rhododendrons, azaleas, mountain laurels, and huckleberries

Herb layer - short plants

Ground layer - lichens, clubmosses, and true mosses

Layers of the Temperate Deciduous Forest


  • Florais characterized by 3-4 tree species per square kilometer

  • Treesare distinguished by broad leaves that are lost annually and include such species as oak, hickory, beech, hemlock, maple, basswood, cottonwood, elm, willow, and spring-flowering herbs

  • In fall with limited sunlight and water, the leaves change color and fall

  • In spring the buds open and grow new leaves


  • Typical squirrels, rabbits, skunks, birds, deer, mountain lion, bobcat, timber wolf, fox, and black bear

  • Some animals as birds migrate in the winter

  • Some mammals hibernate in winter

  • Others as squirrels, chipmunks, & jays store large food supplies


  • It is the number of different organisms & their relative frequency in an ecosystem

  • Levels of Biodiversity:

    • Genetic diversity – varies in the genetic make-up among individuals within a single species

    • Species diversity – variety among the species or distinct types of living organisms found in different habitats of the planet

    • Ecological diversity – variety of forests, deserts, grasslands, streams, lakes, oceans, wetlands, and other biological communities.






  • Environmental concerns for tundra, taiga, and deciduous forests

  • Role of these ecosystems in Earth’s climate

  • Major Environmental Issues

  • Conservation Biology – goals, environmental threats, actions

TUNDRA: Environmental Concerns

  • Large scale extraction industries ( oil, gas, and minerals as uranium)

  • Pollution – chemical waste, mining, hydroelectric development

  • Expansion of agriculture/livestock, vehicular traffic, and tourism increase degradation

  • Global warming – 1/3 of soil bound carbon is found in this area.

  • Melting of permafrost releases large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere increasing

  • “Greenhouse Affect” as organic matter decays and released carbon dioxide.

  • Erosion is emerging due to permafrost thaw and overgrazing

  • Poaching – hunting and fishing out of season, on protected land, or to endangered species

Taiga: Environmental Concerns

  • Pollution Clear cutting

  • Illegal logging

  • Poaching

  • Forest fires – unnatural fires

  • Mining

  • Drilling for oil and natural gas disrupt the forest

  • Global warming


  • Many of the world's great tracts of temperate deciduous forest have experienced significant alteration through logging, conversion to agricultural land and urban development.

  • Human industry within and adjacent to temperate deciduous forests may pollute air and water resources

  • Species introduced to temperate deciduous forests by humans may become invasive and threaten native ecological systems


  • Deforestation – the permanent destruction of indigenous forests and woodlands.

  • Causes include

  • Conversion of forests to agricultural land to feed

  • people

  • Development of cash crops and cattle raising esp. in

  • tropical countries

  • Commercial logging that is not regulated

  • Poor soils in humid tropics do not support agriculture

  • for long so more clearing becomes necessary

Results of Deforestation

Mining- Environmental Risks


  • Pollution of Air, Water and Land

  • Hazardous Chemicals and Wastes

  • Land Degradation

  • Loss of Biodiversity

  • Ozone Depletion

  • Climate Change

  • Environmental Factors

  • Loss of natural and cultural resources

  • Habitat loss

  • Overexploitation

  • Exotic species and introductions

  • Overpopulation


  • Harmful materials entering the environment

  • Point source pollution – from a clearly identifiable source

  • Nonpoint pollution comes from many different sources.

  • Four main categories – industrial, residential, commercial, and environmental

Acid Rain

Greenhouse Effect

Ozone Depletion

Ozone Hole over Antartica

Source: NASA

Biodiversity Threats

Habitat Fragmentation & Destruction

  • Habitat destruction and fragmentation is a process

  • that describes the emergences of discontinuities

  • (fragmentation) or the loss (destruction) of the

  • environment inhabited by an organism.

  • It results in

  • Loss of resident species

  • Loss of food sources

  • Loss of ecosystem functions provided by the habitat


  • World-wide problem

  • Increase in travel and trade open routes

  • In U.S. costs $137 billion dollars per year

  • Approximately 42% of Threatened or Endangered species are at risk due to non-native, invasive species.

  • Raise havoc in ecosystems and threaten species diversity


  • Ecology is the study of the distribution and abundance of organisms, the interactions among organisms, and the interactions between organisms and the physical environment.

  • Conservation Biology is the scientific study of nature and of Earth's biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, their habitats, and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction and the erosion of biotic interactions.

  • Conservation biologists investigate the impact of humans on Earth's biodiversity and develop practical approaches to prevent the extinction of species and promote the sustainable use of biological resources


Strategies for a Sustainable World

  • advancing technologies to reduce waste

  • increasing recycling and reuse

  • creating even safer treatment and disposal options

  • developing sources of renewable energy

  • sharing the benefits of our learning and innovation




  • Prevention

  • Eradicatingpotential invaders soon after invasion

  • Physical(manual & mechanical)

  • Cultural– Ecosystem Management

  • Biological – natural enemies

  • Chemical - pesticides

  • Integrated Pest Management – Uses a combination

    of methods – OFTEN MOST EFFECTIVE




Nonrenewable vs. Renewable Energy Sources

  • Non-renewable energy sources – fossil fuels as coal, oil and natural gas as well as nuclear fuels – limited supply will run out and have negative environmental impacts

  • Renewable energy sources – sun, wind, waves, heat, hydropower and biomass that can be used again and again and is cleanest energy sources.

  • There are pros and cons for each type of energy

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