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Taylor River. Ecology. What is Ecology?. Ecology is the study of how organisms respond to each other and to the world they live in (their environment). Living things are referred to as biotic . Non-living things in the environment are called abiotic factors.

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what is ecology
What is Ecology?
  • Ecology is the study of how organisms respond to each other and to the world they live in (their environment).
  • Living things are referred to as biotic.
  • Non-living things in the environment are called abiotic factors.
  • Organism – a single living thing
what is the difference between p roducers and consumers
What is the difference between producers and Consumers?
  • Producers – produce their own food by photosynthesis. Includes all plants, algae and some bacteria.
  • Producers = autotrophs(self-feed).
  • Consumers – eat other organisms to gain energy and nutrients.
  • Herbivores, omnivores and carnivores are consumers.
what is a herbivore
What is a herbivore?
  • Eat only plants.
  • Some plants have adaptations to avoid being eaten, like poisonous leaves, bad tastes, tough stems, sharp spines and hairs.
  • Plants contain cellulose which is hard to digest and releases little energy – so herbivores have to eat all day to get enough energy for growth and reproduction.
  • Herbivores have special teeth, digestive systems and behaviour to eat tough plants.
  • They have eyes on the sides of their heads to look out for predators.
how do herbivores digest their food
How do herbivores digest their food?
  • Herbivores have bacteria and fungi in their gut to help them digest their food.
  • Ruminants – group of mammals including goats, sheep and cows. They have 4 stomachs!
what is a carnivore
What is a carnivore?
  • They eat only meat, either other carnivores or herbivores.
  • Meat has much more energy and nutrients than plants, so carnivores don’t eat all day.
  • They have eyes in the front of their head so that they can judge distances well so they can catch their prey.
  • They have teeth and digestive systems to match their diets.
predators and prey
Predators and Prey
  • Predation – when one organism feeds on another.
  • Plants and animals have evolved adaptations to help them survive and avoid being eaten as well as to increase their chance of getting food.
  • Adaptation – the features that help and organism survive, eg, the kiwi has nostrils at the end of its beak to help it find food in the soil in the dark (it is nocturnal).
what is a omnivore
What is a Omnivore?
  • Omnivores eat plants and animals.
  • Their teeth and gut have herbivore and carnivore features.
  • Humans are omnivores.
what is a decomposer
What is a decomposer?
  • An organism that breaks down organic material into nutrients so that the nutrients can cycle back into the food chain.
  • Fungi and bacteria do this job.
ecology terms what is a species
Ecology Terms What is a species?
  • Species – organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring.
  • Dogs are the same species because they can breed with each other.
  • Horses and donkeys are not the same species, because if they breed they produce mules and they can not reproduce themselves.
  • There are at least 2 million different species of organisms on Earth.
  • Millions more have become extinct!
what is an ecological niche
What is an ecological niche?
  • A niche is an organism’s position or function in this ecosystem.
  • It is how it responds to the resources and competitors around it.
  • Eg, the niche of a tui includes what it eats, what it does, what affects it and how it affects other organisms.
describe the ecological niche of the kiwi
Describe the ecological niche of the kiwi
  • The Kiwi lives in the forest on the ground as it is flightless.
  • It digs burrows which it lives in and has a large area that it defends.
  • It is a carnivore, eating insects, worms and fresh water crayfish if it is lucky enough.
  • It is nocturnal, feeding during the night and sleeping in its burrow during the day.
what are some special adaptations of the kiwi
What are some special adaptations of the Kiwi?
  • The kiwi has a long bill and nostrils at the end of its bill to smell food and find it on the forest floor.
  • It has strong legs and feet to run and fight, defending its territory.
  • The kiwi’s feathers are like fur. This is more like a mammal and helps it keep warm on the forest floor.
  • The kiwi has large ear holes as it is nocturnal and relies on hearing as a main sense.
  • The kiwi lays very large eggs in comparison to its body size. This allows the baby kiwi to be very developed and mature when they hatch.
what is a population
What is a population?
  • A population is the total number of individuals of one species that are living in the same place.
  • Eg, the population of kakapo in New Zealand is 93!
what is a habitat
What is a habitat?
  • A habitat is the place where an organism lives, eg, the kea lives in the Southern Alps.
  • One habitat can have many niches, so many different species can live there.
what is an ecosystem
What is an Ecosystem?
  • An ecosystem is all the organisms living in an area and the environment around them.
  • Eg, a cold mountain lake full of plants, insects, fish and decomposers.
what is a community
What is a community?
  • A community is all the plants, animals and micro-organisms living in an area. Eg, A community might be the plants, insects, fish and decomposers in a lake.
flow of energy
Flow of Energy
  • Trophic level – feeding level in a food chain. Trophic level 1 – Plants - first thing to use the suns energy.

Trophic level 2 – herbivores - eat plants

Trophic level 3 – carnivores - eat animals from level 2.

  • Some animals belong to several trophic levels.
food chains
Food Chains
  • A unidirectional flow of food or energy from producers to consumers!
  • A single, one-way path showing what organisms are feeding on.
  • Drawn as diagrams, with arrows between different species. The arrow points to the animal that is eating.
  • There are usually only 3 or 4 steps in a food chain, because energy is lost at every step.
some food chains
Some food chains
  • Always start with a plant and finish with the top predator.
  • Producer  herbivore  carnivore  decomposer
  • Phytoplankton  zooplankton  silverfish  toothfish  orca
  • Phytoplankton  Krill  emperor penguin  leopard seal  orca
  • There is always a decomposer at the end of the food web.
interesting fact
Interesting fact…
  • The blue whale has a tongue that weighs about the same as an average elephant and a heart that is the size of a small car.
microscopic plants and animals
Microscopic plants and animals
  • Phytoplankton – microscopic plants that live in ocean.
  • Zooplankton – microscopic animals.
  • Filter feeders eat them – eg, mussels, oyster, sponges, barnacles, baleen whales, sharks, shrimps and krill.
  • Krill eat plankton and blue whales filter the krill out with special baleen plates in their mouths.
what is a food web
What is a food web?
  • A collection of interlinking food chains.
  • Useful to show how species compete for food.
energy loss
Energy Loss
  • The amount of energy from sunlight captured in each trophic level, decreasing as it flows up the chain.
energy loss1
Energy Loss
  • Energy is loss as heat, especially from warm blooded animals.
  • 80% of the energy from food that mammals and birds eat is used to keep them warm.
  • Some energy is lost as some food can’t be digested. It is passed as waste to decomposers. It is important for recycling nutrients.