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Ecology Studies - Ecosystem Ecology Free Course

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  • Description
  • Outcome
  • Certification
  • The free online course Ecology Studies – Ecosystem Ecology provides detailed information on the modelling of ecosystems, energy transfer and biogeochemical cycles. The course begins by introducing you to the three broad categories of ecosystems based on their general environment: freshwater, ocean water, and terrestrial ecosystems. You will learn more about the resources within these ecosystems which organisms compete for such as organic material, sunlight, and mineral nutrients. You will learn to identify the various critical factors influencing community dynamics such as the components of its physical and geographic environment. The course then introduces you to how organisms acquire energy and how that energy is passed from one organism to another through food webs and their constituent food chains. You will gain an understanding of the different trophic levels, such as producers, consumers and decomposers, and how energy transfers affect ecosystem structures and dynamics. You will also learn about how the structure of ecosystems can be visualized and modelled with ecological pyramids to show the relative amounts of various parameters (such as number of organisms, energy, and biomass) across trophic levels. Finally, you will be introduced to the biogeochemical cycle, which is the process of recycling inorganic matter between living organisms and their environment. The six most common elements associated with organic molecules are covered explaining how mineral nutrients are cycled from one living organism to another, and between the biotic and abiotic world. You will also gain an understanding of how human activities have impacted these biogeochemical cycles and the potential consequences for society. The course will be ideal for students or professionals who want to develop a career in ecosystem research or for those who simply want to learn more about ecosystem structures, how energy is transferred between trophic levels, and how human activities have caused major disturbances to these cycles. This course will be of great interest to anyone who would like to learn more about ecosystem types and categories, the transfer of energy between trophic levels, through food webs and food chains, and how mineral nutrients are cycled through ecosystems.

  • After completing this course you will be able to:
    - Describe the basic types of ecosystems on Earth;
    - Explain the methods that ecologists use to study ecosystem structure and dynamics;
    - Identify the different methods of ecosystem modelling;
    - Differentiate between food chains and food webs and recognize the importance of each;
    - Explain how organisms acquire energy in a food web and in associated food chains;
    - Explain how the efficiency of energy transfers between trophic levels affects ecosystem structure and dynamics;
    - Discuss trophic levels and how ecological pyramids are used to model them;
    - Define the biogeochemical cycles of water, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulphur;
    - Explain how human activities have impacted these cycles and the potential consequences for Earth.

  • All Alison courses are free to study. To successfully complete a course you must score 80% or higher in each course assessments. Upon successful completion of a course, you can choose to make your achievement formal by purchasing an official Alison Diploma, Certificate or PDF.

    Having an official Alison document is a great way to share your success. Plus it’s:

    • Ideal for including in CVs, job applications and portfolios
    • An indication of your ability to learn and achieve high results
    • An incentive to continue to empower yourself through learning
    • A tangible way of supporting the Alison mission to empower people everywhere through education.

Modules List( 4 )
  • Ecology Studies - Ecosystem Ecology Course Resource Documents
  • Module 1: Ecology of Ecosystems
    • Learning Outcomes
    • Ecosystem Structure
    • Ecosystem Tipping points
    • Ecosystem Ecology
    • Lesson Summary
  • Module 2: Energy Flow Through Ecosystems
    • Learning Outcomes
    • Ecosystem Energy
    • Energy Flow Models
    • Ecosystem Energy and Matter
    • Lesson Summary
  • Module 3: Biogeochemical Cycles
    • Learning Outcomes
    • Hydrologic and Carbon Cycles
    • Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Sulphur Cycles
    • Global Ecology Cycles
    • Lesson Summary
  • Module 4: Ecology Studies - Ecosystem Ecology Assessment
    • Ecosystem Ecology Assessment
Topics List ( 5 )
Module 1: Ecology of Ecosystems
This module covers the different types of ecosystems and their environments with a focus on how different ways of modelling ecosystems are necessary to understand how environmental disturbances will affect ecosystem structure and dynamics. The main factors in relation to conceptual models, analytical models and simulation models are explained, to show the general relationships between organisms, the flow of materials, linear food chains and holistic food webs.
Topics List ( 5 )
Module 2: Energy Flow Through Ecosystems
In this module the main focus is on energy acquisition in an ecosystem and the way energy is transferred between trophic levels as it flows from the bottom to the top of the food web. The module also explains the modelling of ecosystem energy and how ecological pyramids provide vital information about ecosystem structure.
Topics List ( 5 )
Module 3: Biogeochemical Cycles
Module 3 covers how mineral nutrients are cycled through ecosystems and their environment, focusing on the interconnected cycles of water, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulphur. The module also focuses on how human activities have caused major disturbances to these cycles, through activities, such as pollution and oil spills, which have damaged ecosystems, potentially causing global climate change.
Topics List ( 1 )
Module 4: Ecology Studies - Ecosystem Ecology Assessment
You must score 80% or more to pass this assessment.
Course Features
  • Duration

    2-3 Hours

  • Publisher

    OpenStax College

  • Video


  • Audio


  • Assessment


  • Certification


  • Price


  • Reward

    50 Pts

  • Responsive


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