2020-2021 Google Class Codes:

Please join the Mr. Straub's AP/SUNY Biology Google classroom site using ONE of the links below:


Link to PDF:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/16xhJOS_5jDtPGzCHinknDUcbJMIBSMCC/view?usp=sharing



Advanced Biology can be a fascinating course for those with a strong interest in the subject. I am making the assumption that all of you are signing up for this course of your own free will. This implies that you want to be here, that you are interested in learning more about biology, and that you are looking for a course that is a bit of a challenge. If these are not true then you should probably examine why you have signed up. We will be covering a large amount material in class and will therefore be moving rather quickly. You will need to make every effort to keep up with the class and to make up any missed work! I will expect you to do your work on time, keep focused on the goal of college credit, and above all COME IN FOR HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT!! Occasional difficulty and confusion is to be expected in this course. You need to be aware and do something about it!! Please remember that I am always here to help. 


Before the start of school, get a large-ish 3 ring binder with looseleaf paper. You will be taking notes and will also be receiving many handouts that are worth saving. I will try to make sure these handouts are 3-hole punched so they can be added to your binder. 


Everyone who has signed up for this course should have successfully completed Living Environment (and Chemistry also). Because of this I feel that the Ecology unit should be familiar enough that you can work through much of it this summer with minimal guidance from me. Ecology is covered in chapters 34, 36, 37 and 38 in your text. (Chapter 35 is about Animal Behavior and we will skip over that for now) Unfortunately, due to the current world situation there is no way for me to collect all of the textbooks from the current group of students and distribute them to you before the end of this school year. I will encourage you to search for information online. This does NOT mean that you should just Google the answers to the questions and write down exactly what comes up. By this point in your school career, you should be able to collect information from a variety of sources, confirm that these sources are generally in agreement and write your OWN sentences that express the answers in your own words.  I should not be able to go to Wikipedia and see the same text that you have submitted to me. That is a waste of everyone’s time. Also, if what you are writing doesn’t make sense to YOU then it probably isn’t going to make sense to me either! This is not an English class. I am not interested in your unique writing style. I am looking for information that is explained clearly. Keep your answers to the point and don’t ramble.

You must do all of the 9 written questions that start on the next page. This assignment is to be your original work. It is not to be shared with other students and you are not to divide up the work amongst a group. Assignments that are substantially identical will not receive credit. Take your time and please don’t try to do all of these in one sitting on the last day of summer! That tends to result in work that starts off great and gets increasingly terrible as the student runs out of time. 


The answers to these questions will be due on the SECOND day of classes. There will be a test on the ecology material sometime after the questions have been returned and the answers have been discussed in class. 


1. There are various different levels at which scientists might study an environment and the living things contained within. Scientists might study an organism, a population, a community, an ecosystem, or a biosphere. Explain each of these levels and what they include. What are biotic factors and abiotic factors? Give several examples of biotic and abiotic factors and indicate how they may affect the living community.


2. What is a biome? Briefly describe the characteristics of each of the 8 major terrestrial biomes 

[tundra, taiga, temperate deciduous forest, temperate grassland, savanna, chaparral, tropical rain forest, desert] Be sure to include the characteristics that make each biome stand out from the others. Give some examples of organisms (including plants and animals) that are typical of each of the biomes. 


3. If there were no restrictions whatsoever on the growth of a population, that population would increase exponentially. Explain what this means and why this does not normally happen. The more likely situation is something called logistic growth. Explain what this is and why it happens. [DON’T GO INTO THE MATH PLEASE] Define the concept of limiting factors and explain how they affect the growth of a population. Give some examples of limiting factors. What do we mean when we say a limiting factor is density dependent (or density independent)? Give an example of each. What is meant by “carrying capacity” and how does this concept involve limiting factors? 


4. Different species follow different types of strategies to maximize their survival and growth. Some species can be described as r-selected, while others are described as K-selected. Explain how each of these two survival strategies works and describe some of the common characteristics of species that follow each of these strategies. (If you’re finding confusing explanations, then look around a bit more. These 2 strategies should be easy to understand if they are explained well)


5. Describe and give a specific real-life example for each of the 3 major types of symbiotic relationships. Don’t just identify the examples. Explain them!


6. The average food chain has about 4 trophic levels. Describe the different trophic levels that make up the food chain. Using a real-life food chain as an example, explain how energy is obtained at each trophic level. How and why does the energy supply change as it goes up the food chain? How does the amount of energy present at each level in the food chain compare to the amount present in the previous level? How does this change in energy supply affect population levels and the structure of the ecosystem? What limits the length of the food chain and why is the chain sometimes shown as a pyramid instead?


7. Draw a simple diagram of the water cycle. Describe each of the processes involved in the water cycle. In what ways does the water cycle allow polluted water to be purified so that it may be used again by organisms?  Describe several ways in which human activities affect the water cycle.


8. Describe the nitrogen cycle. What do living things use nitrogen for? What are the roles of bacteria in the nitrogen cycle? What is meant by nitrogen fixation and why is it important? How has human activity affected the nitrogen cycle? 


9. Describe the causes, mechanisms*, and potential results of the greenhouse effect. You would not believe some of the bizarre explanations I have seen from students who think they know what they’re talking about. Don’t just write something off the top of your head. Do a little research and make sure what you’re writing is accurate.