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does the additional compute node automatically get connected to the same openstack environment

Yes, as long as you configured the correct database and message queue connections, and the Neutron setup on that compute node is compatible with the controllers' Neutron configuration.

If one of the compute nodes go down, does that mean all the vms that were created would have been lost?

If the node goes up again, so do the VMs that are running on it.

If it doesn't, you can manually move instances to working compute nodes. However, evacuation will merely rebuild machines with the same parameters on the other compute node; it won't recover any data that resides on the broken node. This is one of the reasons why you want to keep important data on volumes, which are not affected by compute node break-downs.