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ECOLOGY ESSAYS: CAPE PPQS CAPE 2007 #5.

(a) In an ecosystem, energy and nutrients flow through three nutritional groups, namely producers, consumers and decomposers. State the sources and the differences between energy flow and nutrient flow through these nutritional levels. [6] (b) When nutrients cycle through an ecosystem, point out the advantages of a food web over a food chain. [4] (c) In tropical rainforests, leaves, fruits and branches fall to the ground and are subject to the action of micro-organisms and chemical actions which regenerate minerals essential for further plant growth. Apply your knowledge of the nitrogen cycle to explain, in detail, how deforestation/slash-andburn interferes with EACH stage of the cycle. [10] CAPE 2003 #5. (a) With reference to ONE example in EACH case, distinguish between the terms: (i) ecosystem [4] (ii) habitat [3] (iii) Niche [3] (b) Trophic levels within an ecosystem can be analysed by using the concept of THREE different ecological pyramids. Comment on the SHAPE and ACCURACY of each of these pyramids in interpreting the interrelations of the levels. [10] CAPE 2004 #5. (a) Describe the carbon cycle. [10] (b) Distinguish between a food web and a food chain. Discuss which one is the more accurate representation of feeding relationships in an ecosystem. [5] (c) The flow of energy is fundamentally different from the flow of nutrients through ecosystems. Discuss this statement. [5] (*No longer on the syllabus) CAPE 2000 #5. (a) With reference to named examples, distinguish between the terms ecosystem, habitat, ecological niche and biosphere. [6] (b) Discuss how the complexity of natural ecosystems maintain their stability. [8] (c) Compare energy flow and nutrient cycling within an ecosystem. [6] CAPE SPEC.2001 #5. (a) Define and give an example of EACH of the following terms: (i) Habitat (ii) Ecological niche [4] (b) Energy flow and nutrient-cycling are both essential in ecosystems. Explain their role in ecosystems and distinguish between the two processes. [8] (c) In addition, species diversity is required for stability of any ecosystem. Discuss why this is so. [8] CAPE 2002 #5. (a) Describe the sequence of events in the nitrogen and carbon cycles. (Do not use charts). [10] (b) In the Amazon, large tracts of tropical forests are regularly cleared to make way for annual cash crops such as tobacco. After two years, however, the soil is too poor to support further crops. Account for this. [6] (c) A suburban mongoose was accidentally transported to a deep forest in Guyana. Its chances of survival depend on the niche it can establish for itself. In this situation, what would be its niche requirements? [4] (*No longer on the syllabus) CAPE 2005 #5. (a) (i) Difficulties with quantifying relationships between organisms in food chains led to the concept of pyramids of numbers. Explain how a pyramid of numbers is constructed and, by means of TWO examples, why there may be inconsistencies in the shapes of the pyramid. [5] (ii) Pyramids of standing crop biomass are more accurate in recording trophic level measurements. Why are they more accurate and how do they vary seasonally? [5] (b) In temperate forests of Alaska there may be fewer than 50 species of trees and shrubs per hectare, while in forests of Guyana there are over 500 different species of trees and shrubs per hectare. (i) Discuss the effects of the variety of plant species in Guyana on the potential diversity of animal life. [6] (ii) Discuss how the stability of an ecosystem is related to its species diversity. [4]