Model Ecosystems: How does energy flow through an ecosystem

So far, we’ve  …

… defined the term Ecology

… listed different abiotic and biotic factors that are effective in ecosystems

… described stages of ecological succession in a forest from wasteland to a climax community.

You already know that an ecosystem consists of a community that interacts with each other and the non-living environment.

In this new activity, you’ll study how energy flows through an ecosystem:

Model Ecosystems: How Energy Flows Through An Ecosystem

Today, you complete the simulation (steps 1-5) and choose the forest ecosystem as a model – you write down all solutions on a paper if there is a task/ exercise. You need to finish this activity at 1:25.

If you need to look up words, use these dictionaries: Linguee or Pons Online




Nervous System Animations

McGrawHill is an American publisher and provides excellent animations covering different aspects of neurobiology. This is a brilliant resource to understand the dynamics of biological processes related to neurons or the nervous system. All animations provide a narrative (check your vocabulary!) and a quiz to test your knowledge.

The Nerve Impulse

A Companion Website for the textbook Neuroscience (the chapter animations are useful)

Action Potential Propagation

Electric Signalling

Voltage Gated Channels and the Action Potential

Chemical Synapse 

Transmission Across a Synapse

Another useful resource for independent learning is

Neurons (Medical Education, University of Toronto)


Human Evolution: A Comparison of the Genus Australopithecus and Homo

Explore these interactive timelines to

// Team A: compare characteristics of the genus Australopithecus and the genus Homo. In doing so, define criteria for your comparison by yourselves.

// Team B: Sum up the development from early hominins to Homo Sapiens based on the interactive timelines.

Timeline 1: Origins of Humankind

Timeline 2: Human Evolution Timeline

If you have time, you can also explore this interactive documentation for further independent learning: Becoming Human: an Interactive Documentary


BBC World Series Podcast. DisUnited Kingdom – Understanding Brexit.

‚ The effect of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. What does the decision to Leave mean for Britain, for relations between EU countries and for the world?‘ is a quote from the BBC World Series Brexit podcast website. Today you’ll listen to different podcasts to understand the Brexit consequences for the different countries of Great Britain.

Listen to ‘your’ podcast and make notes to sum up

a)… the Brexit consequences and

b)… different positions on the Brexit mentioned in the podcast for ‘your’ country after listening. Click:BBC Understanding Brexit podcast website.

After listening, pair up with a member of the same team to work out a written summary of the podcast (text or appropriate form of visualization. A reader needs to understand your summary/ visualization after the first reading).

DisUnited Kingdom: Birmingham, England (A)

DisUnited Kingdom: Wrexham, Wales (B)

DisUnited Kingdom: Stirling, Scotland (C)

DisUnited Kingdom: Londonderry, Northern Ireland (D)

Population dynamics of predator-prey relationships

Predation affects the population dynamics of both the predator and prey population. In this simulation you investigate predator-prey relationships over time and compare your findings with laboratory and field study results.

First work individually. Click the Simulation button in the bottom right corner. Familiarize with the simulation and the variables. Work out a trend that can be observed in the population cycles of predator and prey species and interpret the results if you change different variables.

Then pair up with a partner. Take it in turns to outline your results. Work out general model-based equations and principles of predator-prey relationships over time that can be concluded from the simulation. Eventually, evaluate pros and cons of data obtained in the laboratory, in a field study and in a computer based simulation.

 Weblink: Predator-Prey Simulation (you need to use the Google Chrome browser for this simulation).


Human Evolution: Making Sense of Ancient DNA

In May 2008, a pinky bone was found in a cave in Siberia (Wikipedia: Denisova Cave) and soon news reports enthusiastically claimed to have found a new human. Soon scientists had to revise their hypothesis and thinking due to new modern state-of-the-art molecular analysis, which lead to updates in the evidence for events in human history twice: in 2010 and 2015.

Team A:

Briefly sum up the significance of the discovery in the Denison Cave and explain the difference between the initial and recent classification of the discovery.

Team B:

You do not need a summary of the discovery, as you’ve already dealt with the topic in your  last exam and prepared to present the topic in class.

Your tasks are:

Explain the difference between the initial and recent classification of the discovery and outline how the method of PCR (Polymerase Chain reaction) can be useful in the investigation.

Here are the links to today’s resources:

Human evolution (Evolution 101, University of Berkeley).

Making sense of hominin DNA.

PCR animation I (Team B only)

PCR animation II (Team B only)

PCR information III (Team B only)


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