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Vocabulary: Consumer Decomposer

Grassland Lake Parasitism Predation River Tundra


Ecosystems and Living Things

What is an ecosystem? An ecosystem is a community of living and non-living things that co-exist in the same place. An ecosystem includes plants, animals, microorganisms, non-living things and physical aspects of the environment, like water, soil and the areas temperature. Vital functions of living things All the living organisms in an ecosystem affect each other. They also affect the environment. All living organisms perform three vital functions: nutrition, interaction and reproduction. Nutrition: All living organisms need to eat. Food gives living organisms the substances they need to grow and carry all of their activities. Living organisms obtain food in different ways. Plants produce their own food. Animals eat other living organisms to obtain energy. Interaction: Living organisms use their senses to obtain information from the environment. This information is called a stimulus. When living organisms obtain the information they need, they react to it and adapt their behaviour. Plants grow towards light. Antelopes eating grass need to be alert all the time to react to stimuli, like movement or sound, and to run away. Reproduction: When living organisms reproduce, they create a new organism of the same kind. Living organisms reproduce in different ways. If organisms dont reproduce, they become extinct, which means they disappear.

2. Relationship Between Animals

Intraspecific relationships Intraspecific relationships are the different ways individual members of the same species relate to each other. - Competition occurs when there isnt enough food or territory for members of the same species. The animals must compete to survive. - Cooperation occurs when organisms of the same species collaborate so that the group can survive. The organisms work together to obtain food, reproduce or to defend themselves. Some organisms, like ants and bees, form social organisations called colonies. Interspecific relationships Interspecific relationships are the different ways one group of animals relates to members of other species. - Predation is a relationship that occurs when a stronger animal, called predator, captures, kills and eats an animal of a different species, called prey. - Commensalism is a type of relationship that is beneficial to one species and neutral to the other species. Barnacles that live on whales are an example of commensalism. - Competition occurs when two or more species compete for the same resources. Lions and hyenas compete for the same prey. - Parasitism is a relation that benefits one of the species and hurts the other species. The relationship between mosquitoes and humans is an example of parasitism. - Mutualism is a relationship that benefits both species. The relationship between a clownfish and a sea anemone is an example of mutualism. The clownfish gets a home and protection from the sea anemone. The sea anemone catches food that the clownfish attracts.
Complete the words to label the photos:

3. The Food Chain

What is a food chain? The food chain is an example of how organisms that live in an ecosystem interact with each other. The food chain shows how organisms get food and how the nutrients are passed from one species to another. Every organism in an ecosystem plays an important part in the food chain.
Producers make up the first link in the food chain. Producers use the Suns energy to produce their own food. Grasses, trees and plants are producers. Consumers are the second link in the food chain. There are different kinds of consumers: herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. Primary consumers are herbivores. Secondary consumers are carnivores and omnivores. Decomposers are the third link in the food chain. Decomposers break down nutrients in dead organisms and return them to the soil. Then plants use the nutrients to produce their own food. Some insects and worms, fungi and bacteria are decomposers.

Label the photos:

4. Aquatic Ecosystems

What are aquatic ecosystems? Aquatic ecosystems are located in the water. Rivers, lakes, ponds, seas and oceans contain aquatic ecosystems. There are two types of aquatic ecosystems: fresh water and salt water. Rivers Rivers are bodies of fresh water that flow into a lake, a sea, an ocean or other river. Rivers are home to plankton, frogs, fish, salamanders and ducks. In cool rivers you can find fish like trout and salmon. In warm rivers you can find fish like pirarucu and piranha.

Lakes Lakes are bodies of fresh water surrounded by land and not connected to the sea except by rivers or streams. Lakes contain water all year, including the summer. Many plants grow in or near lakes. Fish, frogs, some birds like ducks or geese, live in or near lakes. Seas and Oceans Seas and oceans cover most of the Earths surface. Seawater is salty. Water is always moving and its temperature varies. The living organisms in oceans are very diverse, from coral reefs in tropical areas to seals in very cold areas.
Where would you find these aquatic animals: in fresh water or in salt water?

5. Terrestrial Ecosystems: Forests

What are terrestrial ecosystems? Terrestrial ecosystems are found on land. Scientists classify terrestrial ecosystems by the temperatures and amount of rain they receive. Forests, grasslands, deserts and tundra are the main terrestrial ecosystems. Forests Forests are areas with a large number of trees. Forests grow in places with enough water. Forests are classified according to the amount of rainfall and the differences in temperature between summer and winter. - Temperate forests are mostly made up of deciduous trees, like maples and oaks. The leaves of deciduous trees change colour and fall off the trees in autumn. Temperate forests are home to many animals like wolves, foxes, bears, eagles and squirrels. Animals in temperature forests have learned to adapt to changing seasons. Some of them hibernate or migrate in the winter. - Tropical rainforests are hot and have heavy rainfall. Tropical rainforests are the most diverse ecosystems in the world. The trees grow very tall and their leaves are green all year. They are called evergreen trees. Rainforests are

home to more that half of the worlds animal species. Insects, spiders, frogs and parrots are only some of the rainforest animals. Mediterranean forests have rainy winters and very hot and dry summers. Plants in Mediterranean forests are adapted to very hot summers. They include shrubs, olive trees and cork oak. Mediterranean forests are home to insects, reptiles, lynx, rabbits and eagles. Coniferous forests are located where winters are very cold and summers are cool. Coniferous forests consist of conifers, like pine trees. Conifers are trees that have needles instead of leaves. Most conifers stay green all year. Bears, squirrels, owls and eagles live in coniferous forests.

Grasslands Grasslands are huge areas of land dominated by grasses. - Temperate grasslands have hot summers, cold winters and low rainfall. The main plants in temperate grasslands are grasses, wildflowers and crops like wheat and sunflowers. Temperate grasslands are home to deer, gazelles, rabbits, mice and snakes. The prairies and the pampas are examples of temperate grasslands. - Tropical grasslands are very warm. They have rainy summers and dry winters. The main plants in tropical grasslands are grasses and shrubs. Savannah is a tropical grassland. Zebras, giraffes, elephants, lions and cheetahs live in the savannah. Deserts Deserts are ecosystems where there is very little rainfall. Deserts are often covered with sand and rocks. The temperatures are extremely high during the day and very low at night. Reptiles, like snakes and lizards, stay in the shade during the day and keep warm next to the warmed rocks at night. Small mammals, like rabbits and bats, are nocturnal. Tundra Tundra ecosystems are very cold and the ground is frozen most of the year. The soil that is permanently frozen is called permafrost. There is little rain or snow in the tundra. Plants grow in the summer when the light of the Sun partially melts the surface of the ground. The main plants in the tundra are grasses, shrubs and lichens. Polar bears, caribou and arctic foxes live in the tundra.
Which animals are found in deserts? Which are found in tundra? Write D for desert or T for tundra.

Add the words to your mind map: primary ecosystems cooperation coniferous living tundra reproduction intraspecific terrestrial aquatic tropical desert mutualism rivers grassland parasitism decomposer parasitism mediterranean