Ecological Unit


The second writing assignment of the course is designed to help you integrate all of the information you have learned about the ecology into a brief study of a particular biome or sub-biome. A biome is a large ecological unit, within which you find similar climatic conditions, similar soils, and similar plant and animal communities (e.g. forest). A sub-biome narrows the range of conditions, soils, plants, and animals (e.g. coniferous forest). To describe the ecology of a biome, you will need to incorporate information about organisms, populations, communities, ecosystems, landscapes, and human impacts. You will also need to rely on various sources of information, and cite those sources correctly.


1. Select a biome or sub-biome from Chapters 23, 24 or 25 in your textbook. If you are having trouble deciding, or do not have access to the text, please consult with your instructor well in advance for help choosing a biome or sub-biome. ( Ch 23: Terrestrial Ecosystems , Ch 24: Aquatic Ecosystems and Ch 25: Coastal and Wetland Ecosystems )

2. Summarize the characteristics of your chosen biome or sub-biome. Be sure to address where it is found, its physical properties, the physical and biological structure (both horizontal and vertical), the important processes involved in its function, and human impacts. I recommend that you NOT try to summarize the entire system in a single message! Post one message on, for instance, the physical characteristics of grasslands and another on nutrient cycling in grasslands.

3. Provide some external sources to support your description. Ensure that you have at least ONE, good quality, primary reference that is non-biased (e.g. peer reviewed journals). Feel free to refer to figures from the text as well. You must cite your sources within the text (using CSE styles), and provide a literature cited section, where you list the full references for all in-text citations.

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