Remember, a pathfinder is just the beginning of building your bibliography. Ask a librarian if you need help finding more sources.

TauntingPanda, creativecommons, 2010.

Focus Questions: Why are ecosystems, which are typically stable, recently changing so dramatically? What are humans doing to cause these changes? What are humans doing or could humans do to correct some of the damage? What could happen if we don’t act?

Goal: To investigate the above questions and to understand the importance of our environment and our Earth by studying and then teaching classmates about one of Earth’s ecosystems.

Procedure: Work in teams to research one ecosystem in detail. Organize your research and share what you learn with the class via a 10-minute lesson. Be prepared to answer questions from your classmates.Topics to be researched and included in your lesson:
  • Map showing the global location(s) of your ecosystem. Describe at least two National Parks.
  • Describe the particular abiotic (non-living) characteristics of your ecosystem (climate, etc.)
  • Food web of your ecosystem that illustrates typical predator-prey relationships.
  • Describe in detail the members of the food web and other common members of the community. What role does each member play in your ecosystem? Who are the producers, herbivores, carnivores and decomposers? Do not limit this to animals. Plants, fungi, protists and bacteria are all members.
  • Find examples in your ecosystem of symbiosis: parasitism, mutualism, and commensalism. Define these relationships and illustrate and describe at least two examples for each type of interrelationship.

Reference materials

This is the place to start any research project. Reference books offer short, authoritative information on every topic. These books cannot leave the library.

  • REF 031 WOR The World Book Encyclopedia. 2004.
  • R 577.8 UXL U-X-L encyclopedia of biomes. Detroit, MI : U-X-L, c2000. Contains entries that provide overviews of four of Earth's major biomes, providing information about the formation, climate, elevation, growing season, plants, animals and endangered species, food webs, human culture, and economy of the grassland, lake and pond, ocean, and rain forest.
  • REF 577.3 A Allaby, Michael.Temperate forests. Rev. ed. New York : Facts on File, c2008.
  • REF 577.3 D Day, Trevor. Taiga. New York : Chelsea House, c2006.
  • REF 577.3 M Moore, Peter D. Tropical forests. New York : Facts On File, c2008.
  • REF 577.4 A Allaby, Michael. Grasslands. New York : Chelsea House, c2006.
  • REF 577.5 M Moore, Peter D. Tundra. New York : Chelsea House, c2006.
  • REF 577.54 A Allaby, Michael. Deserts. New York : Chelsea House, c2006.
  • REF 577.6 D Day, Trevor. Lakes and rivers. New York : Chelsea House, c2006.
  • REF 577.68 M Moore, Peter D. Wetlands. New York : Chelsea House, c2006.


books.jpgNon-fiction books about this topic are found in various sections of the library. Be sure to do a keyword search using the online catalog (Destiny) to find materials under other subject areas. Try search "ecosystem".
  • 333.75 B Deforestation. Bjornlund, Lydia D. ReferencePoint Press, c2010.
  • 577 W Woodward, Susan L. Biomes of earth : terrestrial, aquatic, and human-dominated. Westport, CT : Greenwood Press, 2003.
Describes the climate, plant and animal life, origins, and human impacts of four principal types of biomes, including terrestrial, freshwater, marine, and human-dominated, and discusses what scientific exploration has revealed about each of them. Includes maps and photographs.

WHS databases

Log into any of these databases by clicking on the link. If you are away from home, you will have to use a remote username and/or password.
  • Science Online definitely use for this project. Has specifically with science related articles, encyclopedia entries, diagrams, and multi-media resources for ecology, environmental science and more.
  • Gale Science in Context

Internet sites

The Nature Conservancy
Earth Observatory
University of California Museum of Paleontology has a great summary on biomes.
Missouri Botanical Garden
What are ecosystems?- a PBS website.
Earth Force