Ecosystems Practice Questions

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Updated on Sep 21, 2011

Review these concepts at: Ecosystems Study Guide

Practice Questions

1. Ecology is the study of organisms interacting with

a. the physical environment only.

b. the internal environment only.

c. the physical environment and each other.

d. each other and the internal environment.

2. In terms of energy, an ecosystem is defined as

a. moving energy back and forth between organisms.

b. moving energy in one direction from plants to animals.

c. not utilizing energy.

d. moving energy in one direction from animals to plants.

3. Decomposers are important because they

a. recycle nutrients.

b. produce sugars.

c. produce oxygen.

d. engage in asexual reproduction.

4. Which of the following best describes the concept of an organism's niche?

a. It is the organism's function or "occupation" in an ecosystem.

b. It is the organism's location or "address" in an ecosystem.

c. It is both an organism's function and location in an ecosystem.

d. It is the binomial classification of an organism in an ecosystem.

5. Pillbugs consume dead organic matter and are most accurately described by the name

a. decomposers.

b. detritivores.

c. producers.

d. autotroph.


1. c. Ecology studies the ways in which organisms interact with each other and their physical environment.

2. b. Energy within an ecosystem is captured by green plants through photosynthesis and is then passed on to animals when they eat the plants or each other.

3. a. The cycling of inorganic minerals, such as nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorous, through living organisms and then back to the environment happens largely by the action of organisms known as decomposers (such as bacteria and fungi). Other organisms called detritivores (such as pillbugs, sowbugs, millipedes, and earthworms) help break down large pieces of organic matter into smaller pieces that the decomposers then work on.

4. c. The concept of a niche includes both what the organism does in an ecosystem (its function or "occupation") as well as its actual physical location ("address") within the ecosystem.

5. b. Pillbugs are called detritivores because they eat dead organic matter such as leaves, which are also called detritus (litter on the forest floor).

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