The Critical Zone

Lesson Overview


In this lesson, we will examine basic ecological processes, eventually focusing through reading on links to the Critical Zone. This knowledge will prepare us for a closer examination of ecosystem-scale Critical Zone processes in Lesson 11 and our consideration of human interactions in the Critical Zone, in the manner of Earth system science, in our final lesson.

What will we learn about in Lesson 10?

  • What is biodiversity? How is it measured?
  • How is life classified and how is biodiversity measured?
  • How do organisms interact with their environment and influence the flow of water, energy, and nutrients?
  • Do ecosystem processes have value?
  • How do the topics of biodiversity and ecology relate to the Critical Zone?

What is due for Lesson 10?

Lesson 10 will take us one week to complete. As you work your way through these online materials for Lesson 10, you will encounter additional reading assignments and hands-on exercises and activities. The chart below provides an overview of the requirements for Lesson 10. For assignment details, refer to the lesson page noted.

Please refer to the Calendar in Canvas for specific time frames and due dates.

Lesson 10 Activities
Report on "Site-specific ecological processes" pages 3, 5, & 6 Submit to the "Lesson 10 - Ecological Processes" dropbox in Canvas
"Merits of Valuing Ecosystem function" page 7 Post to the "Lesson 10 - Ecosystem Value" discussion forum in Canvas, then discuss


If you have any questions, please post them to our Questions? discussion forum (not e-mail), located under the Discussions tab in Canvas. I will check that discussion forum daily to respond. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help out a classmate.