AP Bio Summer work

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The purpose is to become familiar with the major themes of the field of biology and to complete the ecology portion of the AP biology course syllabus.   Chapters 50 - 55 in your textbook are the main resource needed to complete each aspect of your summer break assignment.  This unit will not be covered in depth in class.  Therefore, you are responsible for completing every aspect of the assignment.  We will review the first week of school.

Due Date: This assignment must be completed by September 7, 2010.

PART 1: Your first task is to setup a student account at   Then you will become familiar with the Campbell Place Website found at http://www.aw-bc.com/campbell.
We will utilize this website extensively throughout the year.  Most chapter and unit assignments for the course can be found at the Campbell Place website.  The 7th edition ebook that you will use need to complete your summer assignment is also found here.  You must explore every aspect of this website.  This includes the following links:  Bioflix, MP3 Tutors, Discovery Channel Video Clips, Glossary, Casebook, Graph I, Case Book, and Lab bench (used for AP Exam Lab Review).

For each chapter, 50 – 55 in the ecology unit you must complete and submit several quiz assessments.   A list of these assessments include the mp3 tutor quizzes, discovery channel video clip quizzes, graph it activity quizzes, and bio lab online quizzes.  Additionally you are required to complete the self, pretest, chapter, and activity quizzes.  Some of the chapters in the unit have all of the quiz assessments.  Others may not have as many.  There will be an Ecology Unit test at the end of the first week of class when you return in the fall. 

Part 2: Each researched component of part two will be provided in a PowerPoint of other presentation format.

  • Review chapter 1 in your textbook.  Chapter 1 outlines 11 themes that will be the focus of the course.  For all of the 11 themes, find an example found in chapters 50 – 55.  Type the themes, a description of the themes, and the examples. 
  • Read chapter 50 and define the following terms/concepts: Abiotic components,Biotic components, Populations, Ecosystem, Ecology, Biosphere, and Community

Develop a comparative chart that summarizes the biotic and abiotic factors at work in the following biomes:  tropical forests, savanna, desert, chaparral, temperate grassland, temperate deciduous forest, coniferous forest, tundra, oligotrophic lakes, eutrophic lakes, rivers and streams, wetlands estuary, intertidal zone, coral reef, ocean pelagic zone, and benthos.

Part 3: You must use PowerPoint or another presentation tool to present each researched component of part three.   Students must read chapters 50 – 55 in Campbell biology 7th edition.  Information from these chapters will be used to complete #5 and #6 of this assignment.  Please be sure to read these chapters in their entirety.

Design An Ecosystem

Adaptated from a lab by Karen Westerling

Introduction: In this portion of the project you are to create several species in a unique ecosystem.  You will describe your species niches as well as their reproductive habits.  You will then predict the expected effects of an environmental disturbance (e.g., a flood, paving over the ecosystem to build a new Western High School, clearing of everglades land, hunting, introduction of a foreign species, etc.).  You may visit the web address above for an example.


  1. Keep it simple.  You will not have a billion years to do this activity.
  2. Look ahead.  Reading the entire activity first will probably make your work more efficient.  Consider the conditions associated with species endangerment while you plan your ecosystem.


  1. Your mission is to design an ecosystem.  You need to provide either a written and/or visual detail of your ecosystem.
  2. Here are some details that you must include.
  3. Location:  your ecosystem may be anywhere on earth.  Name and describe the biome in which your ecosystem is located.
  4. Biological community:  imaginary organisms are very welcome.
  5. Include at least 7 species.  You must have at least one species from each of the following groups: Producers, Primary consumers, Secondary and higher level consumers, and Decomposers

    6.   For each species include its:

    • Population size
    • Location in your ecosystem
    • Reproductive behavior for example, mating rituals, fertilization method, number of offspring, care of offspring, etc.
    • Nutritional requirements (if an animal) or soil and water requirements (if a plant)
    • Position in food web
    • Sensitivity to environmental insults
    • Any known usefulness/attractiveness to humans
  1. Include an example of each of the following symbiotic relationships in your ecosystems:  co-evolution, parasitism, commensalism, mutualism, predation, and competition
  2. Now that you have created a beautiful ecosystem, add a disturbance.  Your disturbance may be spontaneous or human-made, intentional or unintentional, or a combination of these.  Here are some ideas, but you are not limited to these.
    1. Climate change:  warning, cooling, change in water availability
    2. Direct human interference:  hunting, harvesting, land clearing, pesticides, herbicides, introduction of a foreign species, etc.

      7.   Indentify the effect of the disturbance on each species in your ecosystems.  Be as specific as possible. 

Analysis Questions

  1. Draw and explain an energy pyramid that would represent part of your ecosystem.
  2. How could you determine the GPP and NPP for your community?
  3. For one of your species, draw and explain a survivorship curve that would represent the pattern of survival found in that species.
  4. For one of your species, outline the life history by discussing the importance of:
    1. number of reproductive episodes per lifetime
    2. number of offspring per reproductive episode
    3. age of first reproduction
  5. Discuss limiting factors that would be present in your ecosystem.  Be sure to define them as density-dependent and density-independent.
  6. Specify which organism in your community could be a keystone predator?  Why?
  7. What are some defenses that can arise/evolve in species as a result of predation?
  8. Pick one of the cycles (other than water) explained in Chapter 49 and discuss how it would work in your ecosystem.  You may add additional items to your ecosystem if necessary.
  9. Explain how biological magnification would occur in your community if a toxin like DDT were introduced.
  10.  Describe how you would figure out the population growth rate for one of the populations that lives in your ecosystem.

Part 4

All additional references other than your textbook used, must be completed in MLA format.

Part 5

Grading Rubric
Campbell Access directions
Suggested Timeline
Student Information Sheet