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Ecosystems

Define Ecosystems
All of the living and non-living things in an area and their interactions
Define Habitat
A place that provides all the things an organism needs to live
Define Population
A group of organisms of one species that live in an area at the same time
Define Community
Different populations in an area that depend on one another to fill needs, such as food and shelter
Define Niche
The role that an organism has in an ecosystem. (Ex: The niche of northern pygmy owl is a hunter)
What is the difference between biotic and abiotic factors?
Biotic factors are all the living organisms in an ecosystem. Abiotic factors are the nonliving parts an ecosystem
What are the different types of ecosystems (aka biomes)?
Coral Reef, Tropical Rain Forrest, Desert, Tundra, Taiga, Wetland, Prairie, and Mixed-Forrest
What are some characteristics of
Coral Reef?
organisms that can live in warm, clear, shallow water – color animals such as clown fish, anemones, and sponges live here. Reef made up mostly of skeletons of dead coral animals
What are some characteristics of
Tropical Rain Forrest?
organisms that live here have traits that help them survive in warm rainy climates all year long. High amount of moisture in the air allow other plants to grow on trees, not in the soil. Butterflies, tree frogs, monkeys, and parrots are some animals that live in this ecosystem
What are some characteristics of
Desert?
Little Rain, Most have hot days and cool nights, some have sand dunes, some are rocky, and others are covered in a layer of salt. Organisms there have traits that help them survive the hot dry conditions. Plants like cactuses can store water in their stems, when it rains. To deal with hot temperatures, many animals rest during the day. Animals such as coyotes, desert tortoises, lizards, and rattlesnakes live in US deserts.
What are some characteristics of Tundra?
Organisms have traits to help them survive the cold weather with little rain. Many animals have thick fur coats. Most are found in northern areas of Earth or high up in the mountains. Rodents, rabbits, and caribou feed on small plants and grasses. Weasels, polar bears, and foxes also live there.
What are some characteristics of Taiga?
Trees such as fir, spruce, and hemlock. Taiga has harsh. Long. Cold winters, and most land has soil low in nutrients. Some small animals such as squirrels, birds, and insects, eat berries and the seeds of trees. Larger animals such as elk and moose eat tree bark and young plants. Predators such as hawks and grizzly bears eat other animals.
What are some characteristics of Wetland?
Water partly covers the land during at least part of the year. Trees such as the mangrove, and some grasses are able to grow in the salty water. Some animals that live there may include many types of birds, snakes, and variety of insects. Found along all coasts of the US. Characteristics vary depending on location.
What are some characteristics of Prairie?
Found through Midwest and Great Plains. Do not receive enough rain to support many large trees but have nutrient rich soil that is excellent for farming. Tall grasses and small plants cover the land. Some of the largest animals on land such as bison live here. Also common are coyotes, prairie dogs and grasshoppers.
What are some characteristics of Mixed-Forrest?
Home to many types of trees and animals. Trees such as oak, maple, and beech lose their leaves in the winter. AS leaves decompose they return nutrients to the soil. Shrubs and small plants grow here. Songbirds, deer, bears, and raccoons are common animals. Many hibernate in the winter. Many birds migrate to warmer areas for the winter.
What is carrying capacity?
The number of organisms that can live in a habitat
What factors limit carrying capacity?
Amount of food
Water
Space
Shelter
What happens if carrying capacity is exceeded?
Overcrowding may happen
Define Predator
An animal that hunts and eats another animal
Define Prey
An animal that is hunted by others for food
Define Producers
Organisms that make their own food for energy
Define Consumers
Organisms that cannot make their own food
Define Omnivores
Organisms that eat both plants and animals
Define Herbivores
Organisms that eat only plants
Define Carnivores
Organisms that eat only other animals
How are food webs and food chains similar?
They use arrows to show the energy relationships among organisms
How are food webs and food chains different?
Food web is a combination of many food chains
What does the arrow show in a food web or food chain?
The energy relationships among organisms. It shows the path in which energy flows
What is the source of all energy in any food web or food chain?
The Sun
How do producers, consumers, and decomposers all help an ecosystem support the populations within it?
Producers – the food they make is often energy for other organisms
Consumers – eat food from producers
Decomposers – return materials to the ecosystem
For what do plant organisms compete?
sunlight, food and water
For what do animal organisms compete?
territory, water, food, or mate
Why do organisms compete?
They compete for things they need because there are limited resources
What happens if an organism can’t compete?
May die or be forced to move away
What is symbiosis?
A long term relationship between two different organisms
What are some examples of symbiotic relationships?
Parasite is an organism that lives on or inside another organism
Shrimp eat parasites out of eel’s mouth
Define Environment
All of the conditions surrounding an organism
Define Competition
The struggle of organisms for the same limited resources
How do ecosystems change slowly?
Seasons change, continents change position, rocks are slowly broken down by the weather, plants, and animals
What are some events that cause ecosystems to change quickly?
Hurricanes, floods, fires, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes
How do humans change ecosystems?
Build building, roads, and burn fuel. Change the land when plant crops, build damns, fish to get food, clear forests to get construction material
How do other organisms change ecosystems?
Feed, grow, and build their homes
What happens if organisms can’t adapt to changes in the ecosystems?
They may have to move or die
What are some adaptations that plants and animals have to help them survive in their environments?
Plants – deeper roots can reach deeper water
Animal that run faster has a better chance of surviving an attack by a predator
Define Pollution
Any substances that damage the environment
Define Conservation
Attempt to preserve or protect an environment from harmful changes
What are nonnative species?
Plant or animal that does not grow naturally in an ecosystem
What can happen when nonnative species are introduced into an area?
They change the ecosystem permanently
What are some ways in which humans damage ecosystems?
Too much hunting or fishing, pollution, upset the balance by bringing new plants or animals into the ecosystem
What are some ways humans help ecosystems?
Put aside large areas for conservation, regulations on how much we can hunt or fish

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