Uploaded by Lisa Benjamin

P3 and P4 SUPER BENJLI YEAR 9 Ecology

Ecology unit
Lisa Benjamin
Plough back
Activity: Create a diagram to show the complete energy flow
through a FOOD CHAIN.
Start with the sun showing how the consumer chains transfer the
energy back into the system.
Different ways to demonstrate energy flow in an ecosystem:
Food Pyramid
Food Webs
Grouping Animals
What do you already know?
 Without looking at your notes can you name the 5 kingdoms of life
AND write at least one point about each one
 Try and organise these living things into the 5 kingdoms!
Animals are spilt into two major
These are animals with a backbone.
There are five groups of vertebrates:
 Have moist skin
 Lay jelly coated eggs in water
 Larvae live in water and
breathe through gills
 Adults live on land and
breathe through lungs
 Changing body temperature
Have feathers
Lay hard shelled eggs
 Constant body
 Breathe through lungs
Live in water
Breathe through gills
Changing body
Most lay eggs in water
(but some give birth to
live young)
Constant body
Most have fur or hair
Breathe using lungs
Give birth to live young
(except platypus and
All feed their young
Dry scaly skin
Changing body
Lay eggs with a tough,
flexible covering
Breathe through lungs
The Platypus Problem
Numeracy moment  How many…
Which groups of vertebrates do you think have the most
species in them? Write a list from 1 to 5, with 1 having the
most and 5 having the least
These are animals without a backbone
There are 3 groups of invertebrates
Most have a shell (can be
internal or external)
Some have no shell
Soft body
Most breathe through gills
Live in water or moist
Can live on land, in
water or as parasite to
Tube like body with no
Breathe through their
Have lots of legs
Exoskeleton (jointed body covering for
protection and support)
There are 3 groups of arthropods:
Have 8 legs
Have bodies divided into
2 sections – thorax and
Breathe through gills
Most live in water
Have 6 legs
Bodies divided into 3
sections – head, thorax
and abdomen
 Without looking at your notes can you name the 5 kingdoms of life
AND write at least one point about each one
 Try and organise these living things into the 5 kingdoms!
Biotic and abiotic factors in an
Organisms in an ecosystem can be affected by two main sets
of factors; one set of factors is due to the actions of living
organisms, while the other set is due to the non-living
The living factors are called biotic factors. Living factors in the
environment include predators, prey, parasites, fungi, infectious
organisms, competitors, pollinators, disease and collaborators
(such as a breeding partner).
The non-living factors are called abiotic factors, also known as
physical factors. These include water, air quality, the amount of
light, temperature, wind, soil type, humidity of the air, tides,
waves, lightning and fires.
Abiotic factors
Abiotic factors in an ecosystem can determine which organisms can
live there.
List as many abiotic factors as you can think of
 Sunlight
 Wind
 Temperature
 Availability of water
 Soil nutrients
 Rocks
Abiotic factors influencing organisms
Abiotic factors are non-living factors within an ecosystem and include water, temperature and fire.
 Essential for chemical reactions
 Most vital factor for land animals
 Affects speed of chemical reactions i.e. metabolism
 Ectothermic animals (fish, reptiles, amphibians) do not generate their own heat and must rely on
the environment to regulate their body heat; they require less food to survive
 Endothermic animals (birds, mammals) generate their own heat internally and do not rely on the
environment to regulate their body heat; they require much more food to survive
 Influences the types of plants (fire tolerant, fire inducted germination) and therefore the animals in
the ecosystem
Biotic factors
List as many biotic factors as you can think of
 Plants
 Animals
 Fungi
 Micro-organisms (eg.
Ecological niche
We know that food chains and food webs are a key
component of an ecosystem. Producers, consumers
and decomposers are all present in order to keep
the system balanced.
However, within an ecosystem, species also exist
within a specific ecological niche.
This includes the role and position a species has
within their environment, their habitat, the nutrition
they obtain, how they reproduce and the
relationships with their own and other species in the
There are four key interactions within an ecosystem:
 competition;
 predator-prey;
 herbivore-plant; and
 symbiotic.
Biotic factors – Interactions between organisms
Organisms are surrounded and affected by other living things. These living things include plants,
animals and microorganisms which form a community. The relationships between organisms are
classified by how they interact with each other.
 Competition: organisms are in competition when they obtain the same resource
especially if it exists in limited amounts. In the struggle for existence, the weakest
individuals die.
 Predation: One organism kills and eats another organism (prey).
 Symbiotic: Both organisms live closely together and both benefit from the relationship.
Pollination benefits the plants (reproduction) and the animals receive nectar. (Also called
 Parasitism: One organism lives on or in another organism (host). The parasite feeds off and
usually harms the host but rarely kills it e.g. parasitic worms. The parasite can not survive
without the host.
 Commensalism: Both organisms live closely together and only one benefits from the
relationship the other is unaffected. Commensalism is the relationship e.g. where arrow
frogs raise tadpoles in pools of water trapped in bromeliad plants.
 We are going to find an example of one of these in our local ecosystem!
Competition, Predation, Symbiotic, Parasitism, Commensalism
1. Go for a quick walk (without being disruptive to other classes)
And find one example of a biotic interaction.
2. Explain the organisms you have seen in the interaction and the thpe of
interaction you have been able to witness
3. Draw a picture of this interaction
4. Explain to another group what you have learned and they will explain
their observations and knowledge with you.
Organisms are able to cope with
the biotic and abiotic factors in
their environment because they
have special features that assist
them to survive. These features are
called adaptations. An adaptation
is any feature that assists an
organism to survive and reproduce
in its environment. Adaptations are
classified as structural, behavioural
or functional features of the
Structural adaptations
A structural adaptation is an adaptation of the
structural part of an organism that enables its
survival. Living organisms have needed to evolve
over millions of years in order to adapt to changes in
their environment.
An example of a structural adaptation is the bat’s
wings to enable it to fly. The bat’s fingers are very
long and form struts to support skin. This forms a wing,
which helps the bat to survive by giving it access to
a wide range of food sources. The bats can exploit
foods such as flying insects, plant fruits or nectar in
high trees.
Behavioural adaptations
A behavioural adaptation is a feature of an
organism’s habits, actions or way of life that helps
it to survive.
An example of a behavioural adaptation is that
the Spinifex hopping mouse only comes out at
night when the air has cooled, so that it does not
lose water and dehydrate. The mouse avoids the
heat of the day by remaining in its burrow. A
burrow is cooler and the air there is humid, which
helps to slow the evaporation of moisture from the
Functional adaptations
A functional adaptation is a feature of the way an
organism’s body works.
When you exercise, your body automatically makes
your heart beat faster so that more blood is supplied
to your muscles. This is a functional adaptation (also
known as a physiological adaptation), not a
behavioural adaptation, because it is controlled
automatically – you cannot consciously change it.
Ecosystem disruptions
what can disrupt the balance
of a fragile ecosystem?
What do you already know about
the disruption of ecosystems?
 What factors can disrupt the balance of our ecosystems?
 What is biodiversity?
 Drought, flood and fire: What role do these natural
disasters play within an ecosystem?
Biological diversity – or biodiversity – is the term given to the variety of life on Earth. It is the
variety within and between all species of plants, animals and micro-organisms and the
ecosystems within which they live and interact.
Biodiversity is usually explored at three levels - genetic diversity, species diversity and
ecosystem diversity
Ecological footprints and the keystone species
Most ecosystems have a mixture of plants, predators and
prey and the balance between producers and consumers in
a food chain or web is a delicate one. This balance can
easily be upset or broken by natural and artificial means and,
if something happens to one of the links in the chain, it can
be disastrous for all the others.
The ecological footprint is the area of land and water
required by a population for survival and reproduction and its
critical that we don’t damage this area.
Keystone species are critical to the survival of the whole
ecosystem. Earthworms are critical to enrich the soil, which
enables plants to grow. Loss of all earth worms would
endanger the entire ecosystem.
The earthworm is a keystone
species. Without it the entire
ecosystem would be endangered.
What can disrupt and upset the
balance of our world’s ecosystems?
There are many things that can disrupt and upset the balance of our fragile ecosystems – both
natural and man-made. Drought, flood, fire, introduced species and human impact all play a role in
the destruction of environments and the organisms that live within them. Let’s look at two natural
disasters that contribute to the impact on ecosystems – flood and bushfire.
Floods are a regular occurrence in Australia. In January 2011, one of
the most devastating floods occurred in north-east Australia when
huge amounts of freshwater from heavy rainfall flowed into the ocean
at the ports of Bundaberg, Gladstone and Brisbane. Marine
environments were threatened as sediments, nutrients and pesticides
entered the ocean, with the potential to have a significant impact on
sea-grass beds. Impact of this kind travels along the food chain
affecting everything in its path, particularly if some species have
difficulty finding another food source.
What can disrupt and upset the
balance of our world’s ecosystems?
Fires that burn natural vegetation in forests, woodlands and
grasslands are called bushfires. They can be lit by humans – in a
controlled environment or on accident or purpose – but many of them
are caused by lightning strikes.
There is evidence that bushfires have been affecting ecosystems in
Australia for millions of years. Indigenous Australians have been
using fire as a means to regenerate the land for many thousands of
Fire has a major impact in Australia as it promotes the germination of
many plant species. Over thousands of year, native plants have
evolved and adapted to survive and thrive in the aftermath of these
natural events.
Human impact on the environment
Humans have greatly impacted the
delicate ecosystems around the world
resulting in the extinction of species,
many of which have occurred over the
past 100 years.
Habitat destruction, introduced species,
chemical pesticides, pollution and
overcropping are just a few.
To learn about the Top 5 human
impacts on the environment,
click on the image.
Are ecosystems resilient? What happens if a whole
species is removed from an ecosystem?
ACTIVITY;Discussion: What do you predict would happen if the following links
were removed from the following food chain types?
Affect on ecosystem
1 plant species
1 plant species
Apex predator
Apex predator
1 decomposer
1 decomposer
Affect on ecosystem
Lets look at the effects of losing apex
predators from a food chain
apex predators
What if there were no sharks?
Is it possible to restore balance to an
ecosystem by reintroducing an apex
1. Complete the worksheet activity
2. Write a paragraph to explain the role an apex predator
has in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
How are you going???
- Tutoring/ assignment help available on Friday’s at first
break in B3.
- Bring in a USB if you would like a copy of the
from this unit.
Useful links
 The Carbon Cycle – Bill Nye
 Crash Course: https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcourse
 National Geographic:
Image References
Slide 7: http://i849.photobucket.com/albums/ab53/vtulip/Testing%2001/j0437356.jpg
Slide 8: http://www.mstworkbooks.co.za/natural-sciences/gr8/images/gr8ll02-gd-0089.jpg
Slide 9: http://study.com/cimages/multimages/16/Worker_ant_carrying_leaf.jpg
Slide 10: http://ecosystemsbymanuela.weebly.com/uploads/2/4/6/2/24620548/2847915_orig.jpg; https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/5e/e5/93/5ee593cb57755a44ce309ecaf8e432c8.jpg
Slide 11: https://images.sciencedaily.com/2012/02/120222154633_1_540x360.jpg; https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/15/Caterpillar_feeding_on_leaf__20140906_121127_(cropped).jpg
Slide 15: Unknown source
Slide 16: Unknown source
Slide 17: http://s2.thingpic.com/images/wA/PwH23KPLuMW1xtDoxzVuTepo.jpeg
Slide 18: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/de/Nitrogen_Cycle.jpg
Slide 22: Pearson Science Yr 9 student text, page. 282
Slide 24: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/36/Large_bonfire.jpg; http://s.hswstatic.com/gif/water-life-crop.jpg
Slide 25: http://5thgradedecker.wikispaces.com/file/view/adaptations.jpg/280531726/411x304/adaptations.jpg
Slide 26: Unknown source (image of bat); https://adaptations-of-organisms.wikispaces.com/file/view/PolarBear.jpg/173096817/209x177/PolarBear.jpg;
Slide 27: Unknown source (image of mouse); http://helptheredpandas.weebly.com/uploads/1/0/1/2/10129550/716271470.jpg
Slide 28: Unknown source
Slide 32: http://awsassets.wwf.org.au/img/bi_different_feet_808x236_5174.jpg
Slide 33: https://assets.rbl.ms/6453021/980x.jpg
Slide 34; http://inapcache.boston.com/universal/site_graphics/blogs/bigpicture/ausflood_01_03/a01_26457227.jpg
Slide 35: http://resources2.news.com.au/images/2010/12/05/1225966/049654-bushfire.jpg; https://tcltickle.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/post-02_banksia-after-fire.jpg
Slide 37: http://sciencewise.anu.edu.au/article_image_big/958/growth%20room2.jpg
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