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Living Things and Life Processes
Disturbing an ecosystem
In the previous unit, you learnt that an ecosystem consists of a habitat and a community of organisms. However, the size of each population of organisms can change. Look at the picture of a simple farm ecosystem in Australia.
The numbers of sheep and cows will increase when they reproduce. The cows and sheep eat the grass and drink the water. If there is not enough grass or water, some animals will die and their numbers will decrease. • Weather can change the amount of grass. Can you give an Good rainfall – grass grows, plenty of water to drink. Lack of rain example of this? E.g. – no grass growth, no water. Hot Sun - soil dries up, water evaporates • Can you think of another way the numbers of the animals can change?
and grass dies. Heavy rain – erosion of soil.
E.g. Lack of enemies – numbers increases. Disease, lack of food, introduction of a predator – numbers decrease.
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17 02 Science Alive 6. • Then some sheep and cows died.g. no natural enemies. people brought a few rabbits into Australia. Their numbers decreased. good weather conditions. they changed a normal situation in a way that caused problems.Many years ago. • What human activity disturbed the farm ecosystem The introduction of rabbits. • Can you think of some reasons why the numbers of rabbits Plenty of grass to eat. you will find out more how natural forces and human activities disturb ecosystems. The rabbits disturbed the farm ecosystem. most baby rabbits survived. increased? E. The number of rabbits on farms increased quickly. above? In this unit. (homes) destroyed a lot of the grassland. Why? Insufficient grass. Why? E.indd 17 1/29/10 10:26:51 AM . Look at the picture.g. Then some of the sheep and cows began to die. That is. rabbit holes • The amount of grass then decreased. Ecosystems can be disturbed by natural forces and by human activities. Too many rabbits and not enough grass. Let’s begin! ‘To disturb’ means ‘to change or harm a normal situation’.
Human activity: Cutting down trees in a tropical rainforest. 02 Science Alive 6. Some animals may die. A balanced ecosystem can be disturbed in many ways. The number of monkeys and other animals decreases. Others move to another area to find water and food. The balance of an ecosystem is easily disturbed by natural forces and human activities. e. Human activities include: Deforestation and habitat loss. ◆ Th k in in g Most artificial ecosystems. are not balanced. When this happens. light and shelter for each organism.Balanced ecosystems When an ecosystem is not disturbed. water. ◆ Over-hunting of animals (for food and for animal parts). They do not provide everything the organisms need to survives. 18 Oil spills kill many sea birds and other animals. Result: The number of trees decreases. Ecos need to provide animals with food and water. the numbers of plants and animals changes in a way that harms the ecosystem.indd 18 1/29/10 10:26:54 AM . such as this tropical rainforest. such as a zoos. ◆ Different organisms coming into or leaving a habitat. Drought disturbs an ecosystem. floods and drought. such as rain. ◆ Pollution and death of organisms. There is enough food.g. ◆ Use of poisons to kill animals. are balanced. it is said to be balanced. Here is an example. Most natural ecosystems. A balanced ecosystem contains everything organisms need to live. Give one or more reasons. Natural forces include: ◆ Weather. ◆ Diseases that kill organisms. There is not enough water and food.
Many lizards will die. African grassland Effects on food chains Animals and plants are part of food chains. 19 02 Science Alive 6. When the ecosystem is disturbed. • What might then happen to the numbers of green plants? Explain. what can they do? 1.indd 19 1/29/10 10:26:58 AM . 3. a change in the numbers of caterpillars changes the numbers of the other organisms. A disease kills lions that normally eat these animals. 1. • How will this then affect the numbers of caterpillars. Thus. What will then happen to the amount of grass? Explain. lizards numbers will increase again as there is more food at each and snakes? Their step of the food chain. the numbers of organisms in a food chain will change. Their number will increase. what will happen to the numbers of these animals? 2. Move out of that area and find another place where there is grass to eat.Th k in in g The animals in the picture eat grass. 3. the number of snakes also decreases. many animals may die. Green plant Caterpillar Lizard Snake • If the numbers of caterpillars decrease. what may happen to the numbers of lizards and snakes? Answer given in the paragraph below. Imagine there are not enough caterpillars for the lizards to eat. In a balanced ecosystem. Increase as there are fewer caterpillars to eat them. Look at the following food chain. 4. With fewer lizards. What might then happen to the numbers of animals? 4. each animal in the food chain has enough food to eat. With less food. If the animals are to survive. With fewer lions. There will be less grass as there are a more animals eating the grass. 2.
More grass could support more deer so their numbers began to increase again. grass -----> deer -----> wolves The deer ate all the grass. Suggest the reason why. Many deer then died of hunger.Deer in the Grand Canyon About 100 years ago. Then something happened to disturb the balance.indd 20 1/29/10 10:27:01 AM . The number of deer then increased. With fewer deer. Wolves were killing the deer that lived there. There was not enough grass for all the deer to eat. the numbers of deer increased again. The number of deer decreased. the amount of grass increased again. After some time. people killed the wolves. Th i i nk ng Draw the food chain for the three organisms in the Grand Canyon. To protect the deer. WB Activity 1 20 02 Science Alive 6. the ecosystem in the Grand Canyon was balanced.
the number of green plants will then increase. the number of green plants increases. • Predict other changes to the food web if all the caterpillars were killed. But they also eat snails. to seek food.g. Then the numbers of snails and frogs increase again. • What can happen to other organisms in the food Answer web? given below There are no grasshoppers for the frogs to eat. most of the hawks disappeared. The numbers of snakes and small birds increase. many small birds will die. Mosquitoes spread malaria. Some of the hawks die because of less food or they fly to another area Th k in in g E. Mosquitoes in Borneo In the past. As the numbers of grasshopper and snails have decreased. With fewer snails and grasshoppers.indd 21 1/29/10 10:27:03 AM . E. The number of grasshoppers may increase and will eat more of the green plants. However. Suppose. there are now not enough snails for the small birds. for some reason. 21 02 Science Alive 6. Give examples of how this will disturb the balance of the food web. However. the Dayak people of Borneo had malaria. as there are now fewer hawks to eat them. the frogs will still survive. Most animals in a food web eat more than one food.g. called DDT. So. they will eat most of the frogs and snails (and more grasshoppers). So. was used to kill the mosquitoes. A change in one link of a food web can upset the balance of the whole food web. A poison.Effects on food webs Food chains are part of a food web. Below shows a food web: Hawk Snake Grasshopper Small bird Frog Green plants Snail Suppose people use a poison to kill all the grasshoppers.
Wasp Lizard (Gecko) Cat Straw roof Caterpillar Mosquito Rat 1 The roofs of the houses were made of straw. 02 Science Alive 6. They ate the straw roofs. another disease! Rash caused by typhus • How did this happen? Look at the food web below and it will give you the clue. Because the cats died. The DDT in the geckos killed the cats. The DDT killed the wasps but not the caterpillars. 2 The DDT got into the bodies of the caterpillars and wasps. live cats were dropped by parachute into the villages! WB Activity 2 22 • Why was this done? So the cats would kill/eat the rats. Without cats. But the DDT did not kill the geckos.indd 22 1/29/10 10:27:08 AM . The houses fell down. The geckos ate them and DDT got into their bodies. the number of rats increased. The number of caterpillars increased. Cats also eat rats.However. Cats eat geckos. Wasps eat caterpillars. Rats carry the disease typhus. the DDT disturbed the balance of their ecosystem. The typhus spread from the rats to the people. Caterpillars eat straw. Two things happened: 1 The houses started to fall down!! 2 The people did not get malaria but they got typhus.
Because of this. 23 02 Science Alive 6.indd 23 1/29/10 10:27:10 AM . Deforestation and habitat loss Forests are home to many kinds of plants and animals. Here are some examples. Rafflesia Rafflesia is one of Indonesia’s three national flowers. plants and animals are endangered. many Rafflesia plants are becoming extinct.Disappearing organisms Human activities disturb ecosystems. an area of forest the size of a football field is destroyed in the world! Because of this deforestation. As the forests of Sumatra and Borneo disappear. Proboscis monkey The Giant Panda Fun Science Every second. scientists think that about 18 000 different kinds of plants and animals become extinct each year! This monkey lives in the rain forests of Indonesia. This elephant lives in the forests and grasslands of Borneo. Here are examples of endangered organisms caused by deforestation. only about 1 300 remain. Deforestation destroys these homes. This flower is only found in tropical rain forests of Asia. People have destroyed many of the bamboo forests. the monkey is now endangered. Borneo Elephant It lives in China and feeds on bamboo plants. Because of deforestation. Only about 1 000 giant pandas remain in the wild. Because of habitat loss.
People collect turtle eggs to eat them. People remove the eggs of sea turtles. 2. 24 02 Science Alive 6. Using animals for food People hunt and kill land animals for food. Fruit bats.g. T n hi ki ng Sea turtles Pangolin 1. Sharks Whales In some countries. However. because of over-hunting and over-fishing. people use shark fins to make soup. E. Crested Black Macaques (Celebes Apes). Green sea turtle. They may soon be all gone! Here are some examples. It was killed for food. With fewer eggs. People also catch fish in the sea for food. Dwarf buffalo (Sulawesi). The Dodo This bird lived in Mauritius. Do you know of other plants and animals in Indonesia that are endangered because people eat them? 1. How does this endanger the animals? 2. Sharks are now endangered. It is now an endangered animal. This small mammal is also killed for food. It is now extinct.indd 24 1/29/10 10:27:12 AM .We should not eat the meat from endangered animals. there will be fewer turtles. many animals are now endangered. Some kinds of whales are killed for meat and oil.
Javan rhinoceros People also kill it for its horn and blood to make medicines. However. Today. • Where are most of the remaining Javan rhinoceros? Ujung Kulon National Park in Java Ivory pendant Snakes People kill snakes for their skins. only about 60 animals remain. Here are some examples. they are not endangered. shoes and clothes. Because of over-hunting. only about 400 of these tigers remain. The skins are used to make bags. Some of these animals are now on endangered. Mask with feathers A snake skin bag 25 02 Science Alive 6. Tiger skin Bird of paradise These beautiful birds are found in Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya. They are killed for their skin and feathers.g.indd 25 1/29/10 10:27:18 AM . Sumatran tiger People kill it for its skin and for other parts to make medicines. African elephant People kill these elephants and use their ivory tusks to make jewellery and ornaments. crocodile for its skin. Horn ornament in g Th k in Do you know of other animals that are killed for their parts? What are the parts used for? E. Peacock because of its beautiful feathers.Killing for animal parts People hunt and kill animals for their body parts.
E. Here are two plants found in the tropical forests of Asia.indd 26 1/29/10 10:27:24 AM . ironwood. In Grade 3. furniture and boats. Teak leaves are used in Indonesia for wrapping food. Activity (b) No. Unit 12. it is hard to find these in forests now. k in in g Th 1. (a) Refer to Grade 3. Sandalwood perfume WB Activity 3 Sandalwood box with carvings 26 02 Science Alive 6. 2.Plant parts People cut down trees and use their parts. Oil from the wood is used as a medicine. Unit 12. It is used to make buildings. to treat the skin and as a perfume. It has a nice smell. Teak The wood of the teak tree has a nice smell. carvings and large boxes. (b) Is the coconut tree endangered? Explain. Ebony. (a) Name some parts of the coconut tree and what they are used for. Do you know uses made of some other trees or plants? 1. you learnt about uses of different parts of the coconut tree. The coconut tree 2. Because of over-cutting. The wood is used to make furniture.g. Sandalwood Sandalwood is a small plant. as the trees are replaced. This is the largest teakwood building in the world. It is a former royal palace in Bangkok Thailand.
Indonesia has several national park where animals are protected. Here are four ways to do this. The few Javan rhinoceros left in Indonesia live in Ujung Kulon National Park. Way Kambas in Lampung. most countries do not kill whales now. Making laws Javan gibbons Orang utan Borneo elephants Sumatran water shrew Countries have laws to protect plants and animals. Protecting habitats National parks are protected areas. Selling elephant ivory is banned. Indonesia has laws to protect orang-utans and other wild animals. 27 02 Science Alive 6. Komodo National Park in Pulau Komodo and Bunaken in North Sulawesi The Ujung Kulon National Park in Java. For example. such as: Ujung Kulon.indd 27 1/29/10 10:27:28 AM . People are not allowed to hunt animals there.What can be done? We must protect and conserve our plants and animals.
over-hunting of animals and using poisons to kill animals. killing animals for body parts and use of plant parts. 3. over-hunting of animals.Breeding animals in zoos Endangered animals are kept in zoos where they can breed safely. lu My Conc sions 1. The animals are often released back into the wild. A komodo dragon born in Surabaya Zoo. diseases and organisms coming into or leaving a habitat. 6. the number of organisms in a food chain or food web will change. Reasons include: Loss of habitats due to deforestation. There is enough food. many plants and animals are endangered. protecting habitats. When disturbed. Balanced ecosystems can be disturbed by natural forces such as weather. Two of the organisations we can join are ‘Friends of the Earth’ and ‘World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature’. 4. Because of human activities. breeding endangered animals in zoos and supporting organisations that protect wildlife.indd 28 1/29/10 10:27:29 AM . Ways to protect plants and animals and to prevent them from extinction include: Making laws. 5. pollution. 2. Balanced ecosystems can be disturbed by human activities such as deforestation. water. light and shelter for each organism. WB Activity 4 28 02 Science Alive 6. A balanced ecosystem contains everything organisms need to live. Join organisations that work to protect wildlife. There are only about 4 000 Komodo dragons left in the wild.
kill.com/inthewild/vanishing. Frogs. Here are some of the many websites available: http://www. Find out what cloning is and how it might be used to do this.g. Endangered animals Encourage pupils to search the Internet for information on this topic. With cloning.html http://animal. Vertebrates reproduce by sexual reproduction to give offspring that are never exactly the same as the parents. cows and dogs have been cloned.amnh.html Many animals around the world and in Indonesia are endangered. Collect pictures of these animals. Protection of endangered animals E. sheep. E. an animal is reproduced using one cell of a parent animal that is an exact duplicate. gibbons and the Sumatran tiger.. Re-establishing extinct animals Mammoths have been extinct for a long time. Under Indonesian law.bagheera. mice.htm http://www.kidsplanet. it is illegal to capture.g. 3.org/19689/data/esframe. (An elephant would be used as it is large enough for a baby mammoth to grow in).org/factsheets/map. Scientists think they can use a process called cloning to establish mammoths again. 2. Mammoths have been extinct for a long time. Find out the names of 12 or more endangered animals. This egg would then be placed in the uterus of another elephant to make a baby mammoth clone. possess or trade animals such as orang utans. Find out what laws we have and how they protect animals. There are laws to prohibit the import and export of endangered plants and animals.indd 29 1/29/10 10:27:30 AM .discovery.Stretch yourself 1.com/guides/endangered/endangered. Indonesia has laws to protect endangered animals.org/nationalcenter/Endangered/index. New words to disturb over-hunting wasp bamboo teak law organisation situation over-fishing gecko ivory sandalwood to ban wildlife balanced to suppose typhus jewellery to treat to breed to harm straw to disappear ornament perfume to release 29 02 Science Alive 6. Scientists think that it may be possible to make a mammoth clone by placing a nucleus from a mammoth cell into an egg of a female elephant.thinkquest.html http://www. Make a poster about endangered animals.html http://library.
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