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Ecosystems
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keep it simple science Photocopy Master Sheets

Topics Available
Year 7-8 General Science Year 9-10 General Science
Disk Filename Topic Name Disk Filename Topic Name
01.Energy Energy 12.Waves Wave Energy (inc. Light)
02.Forces Forces 13.Motion Forces & Motion
03.Matter Solids, Liquids & Gases 14.Electricity Electricity
04.Mixtures Separating Mixtures 15.Atoms Atoms & Elements
05.Elements Elements & Compounds 16.Reactions Compounds & Reactions
06.Cells Living Cells 17.DNA Cell Division & DNA
07.Life Living Things 18.Evolution Evolution of Life
08.LifeSystems Plant & Animal Systems 19.Health Health & Reproduction
09.Astronomy Astronomy 20.Universe The Universe
10.Earth The Earth 21.EarthScience Earth Science
11.Ecosystems Ecosystems 22.Resources Resources & Technology

Year 11-12 Science Courses
Biology Chemistry Earth & Envir. Physics
Science
Preliminary Core Preliminary Core Preliminary Core
Local Ecosystem Chemical Earth Preliminary Core World Communicates
Patterns in Nature Metals Planet Earth... Electrical Energy...
Life on Earth Water Local Environment Moving About
Evolution Aust. Biota Energy Water Issues Cosmic Engine
HSC Core HSC Core Dynamic Earth HSC Core
Maintain. a Balance Production of Materials HSC Core Space
Blueprint of Life Acidic Environment Tectonic Impacts Motors & Generators
Search for Better Health Chem.Monit.&Mngment Environs thru Time Ideas to Implementation
Options Options Caring for the Country Options
Communication Shipwrecks, Corrosion... Option Quanta to Quarks
Genetics:Code Broken? Industrial Chemistry Introduced Species Astrophysics

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au .keepitsimplescience. Flood & Drought Seasonal Competition Predator & Prey Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 3 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www. Photosynthesis & Cellular Respiration Adaptations to Environment Producers & Consumers Food Chains Ecosystems & Food Webs Decomposers Changes in Effects of Population Size Fire.com. which is a branch of Biology. Ecology is a study of living things and their environment. and how they all interact with each other. ® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science “Mind-Map” Outline of Topic This topic is a study of Ecology. with emphasis on how living things fit into the environment.

Cut out the boxes. Producers Seasonal Ecosystems & Decomposers Consumers Adaptations Food Chains Photosynthesis to & & Environment Cellular Respiration Food Webs Predator & Changes Effects of Prey in Fire.com.keepitsimplescience. then glue them down. Flood & Population Size Drought Competition Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 4 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www. Sort them into an appropriate lay-out on a page of your workbook. ® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science Make your own “Mind-Map” TITLE PAGE. Sort them into an appropriate lay-out on a page of your workbook. Add connecting arrows and colour in. then glue them down.au . Flood & Population Size Drought Competition Make your own “Mind-Map” TITLE PAGE. Producers Seasonal Ecosystems & Decomposers Consumers Adaptations Food Chains Photosynthesis to & & Environment Cellular Respiration Food Webs Predator & Changes Effects of Prey in Fire. Add connecting arrows and colour in. Cut out the boxes.

For example. Parasites & Diseases because there is no light for Survival photosynthesis. it just depends on how large. or on an ice-cap cause infectious Example: because of the extreme temperatures bees pollinate diseases. One valley can be an ecosystem. Soil Quality Space & Shelter They share living Food spaces. and/or lack of water.keepitsimplescience.. What is an Ecosystem? An ecosystem can be as large or as small as you like. Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 5 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www. Some microbes survive in a desert. • spiders eat insects. ecosystem. Living things help Some living things are each other carry out parasites and feed from Very few plants and animals can vital processes. others without killing them. All Amount of Light (e. Amount of O2 and CO2 gases They all depend on each other. or A coral reef ecosystem small an area you want to study. and give each All these things (and many more) can Living things eat other shelter.g. for plants) the plants. Ecology studies the way living things depend on each other. or the deep ocean. flowering plants. The whole Biosphere of the Earth is one ecosystem. and how living things fit into it. Examples: Example: and animals can live in any particular • kangaroos eat grass. birds nest in trees. have a huge effect on which plants one another. animals and microbes are part of the community.au . or you might study just one little rockpool as an ecosystem.. Non-Living Environment Living Community Amount of Water The “community” is all the living things within the ecosystem being studied. Every ecosystem is made up of 2 parts. Ecology looks at the environment itself. ® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science Ecology Ecology is the study of living things and their environment. no plants can live in a totally dark cave. or an entire continent.com. and Temperature Range interact with each other in many important ways.

This helps downwards so the keep it warm. heat of midday is avoided. Platypus proof to resist drying out in dry weather. etc in the mud or gravel. It has special features which seem to help it “fit-in” to the place it lives. in the rain. Kookaburra Dense Fur Large Beak Good Eyesight keeps it warm helps it spot Claws helps it catch and on cold nights insects. Feathers sleeps 20 hours a day. Large Ears not only help hearing. This helps the koala survive on notice it waiting and are light.keepitsimplescience. Colour Pattern is Slow Moving. in water gums in a drought!) yabbies.com. Leaves Gum Tree are tough and water. and is a counter- balance when hopping. slow thinking. Roots for steering (Don’t camp under is very sensitive to detect worms. weight for flight. These special features are called “adaptations”. so its prey do not keep it warm. Webbed Feet for swimming Fur They droop traps air next to its skin. good camouflage. Powerful Tail acts as “3rd foot” when standing. Some Examples of Adaptations Huge Legs & Feet Kangaroo allow for hopping. for climbing. go deep to find water. even in cold water. but act as radiators for cooling down on a hot day. gum leaves which are a very in ambush. Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 6 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www. which is Koala a very efficient way to move around. poor-qquality food. Branches are dropped in drought times. etc. We say it is adapted to its environment. so the tree needs Flat Tail “Duck-B Bill” less water. and sheds water lizards. ® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science Adaptations If you study any living thing in its natural environment. you will always find that the plant or animal is well-suited to survive and live in that place. give good grip kill its prey.au .

Possum You need to know the plant or animal’s Tail that can grip way of life and normal habitat................. For each adaptation listed...... powerful tail Good eyesight Long jaws with many sharp teeth Powerful talons Eyes and nostrils on top of head Sharp.... ® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science Worksheet 1 Adaptations (2 pages) Student Name..au . soaring wings Wide.. Large eyes Freshwater Crocodile Excellent sense of smell Nocturnal (Active at night) Webbed feet Wedge-Tail Eagle Flattened.com........ curved beak Sturt’s Desert Pea Broad. shallow root system Leaves are tough and waterproof Seeds can survive in soil for decades Can also reproduce from fast-g growing “runners” from stem Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 7 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www...keepitsimplescience... suggest Sharp Claws how this might help survival.... This may require some research and/or class discussion.....

forked tongue) Large. powerful hind legs Sharp spines cover body Long snout and sticky tongue Can you think of other adaptations that these animals have? Wombat Goanna (rainforest species) Powerful claws Stripes & spots colour pattern Female’s pouch opens backwards Excellent sense of smell by “tasting the air” (with flickering. sharp claws Large.keepitsimplescience. sharp claws (hint: it’s closest relative is the Koala) Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 8 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www.au .com. docile nature Long. flat grinding teeth Sleepy. ® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science Worksheet 1 Adaptations (cont) Echidna Green Tree Frog Green colour “Suction-p pads on toes Large mouth and sticky tongue Powerful.

must eat some high-energy food that (Some microbes make food too. They organisms in most ecosystems. is NOT recycled. oxygen for us to breathe. has already made. to reproduce The energy of light is and so on. The energy however. So the plants absorb more sunlight! Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 9 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www. When this energy is released. more food than they need. leaves. the green pigment in the chloroplasts ligh The process of extracting the t en of plant cells erg y energy from food is WATER + CARBON DIOXIDE chlorophyll GLUCOSE + OXYGEN Cellular Respiration from from high. they extract its energy to move. not just animals. The Producers (plants) make all the food on Earth. We eat the plants or we eat other animals that ate plants. It comes from the Sun. and store respiration as well. Food has chemical potential energy stored within it.. etc. that some other organism and a source of energy.com.. it powers all the life-functions.keepitsimplescience.) has been made by a producer. and is stored in food by the plants. or they must eat other animals that ate plants.au . There are two main ways for a living thing to get food: Producers Consumers Make Food Eat Food from simple chemicals. energy in the food chemicals. Plants make their food by the process of Photosynthesis Once they get their food. You already know that CO2 and O2 are constantly re-cycled between photosynthesis Luckily for us animals. to grow. Eventually either the plant.. roots and stems. They store the excess food in their fruits. uses the energy for some life function. from the These are waste MAIN Water & CO2 energy air products PRODUCT are low-e energy sugar chemicals from food What photosynthesis really does is Don’t forget that plants carry out cellular absorb energy from the Sun. but once a living thing uses food. or an animal that ate it. Plants are Producers Animals are Consumers It is the plants that are the major producer Animals are unable to make food. released soil air energy to air Glucose + Oxygen Carbon + Water + Energy sugar Dioxide (food) high. ® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science Producers and Consumers All living things need food. Energy cannot be destroyed. the energy becomes low-grade heat They also make all the which is useless and cannot be re-used. the plants make and cellular repiration. absorbed by chlorophyll.. movement. growth.

keepitsimplescience. although it Feeding on them are the “Zooplankton”.. or each other. or the leaves of a This food chain shows Kookaburra tree or shrub. and all animals (“consumers”) either eat plants. and these by fish.. a number of In the oceans. These in turn are eaten Flower by shrimp-like krill. barnacles.com. and so on. ® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science Food Chains Since all the food on Earth is made by the plants (“producers”).au . most important points: food chains begin with plankton. Food chains are often described by a diagram like this: Grass Kangaroo Dingo is eaten by is eaten by Every food chain must begin with a plant The arrow shows the direction that food energy flows. etc. NEVER DRAW THEM BACKWARDS! The pattern of a food chain is always: Producer Consumer 1 Consumer 2 It can also be described as: Plant Herbivore Carnivore (plant eater) (flesh eater) Ocean Food Chains Another Example On land the food chains usually begin with a familiar plant such as grass. point in the direction Spider of energy flow. The base of the food chains are single-celled “Phytoplankton” which have chlorophyll and There can be any make food by photosynthesis. Food chains are the most basic relationships within an ecosystem. as Plankton includes Microscopic diatom. Most is rare to have more zooplankton are the tiny larval stages of jellyfish. a unicellular producer long as the arrows microscopic sea life which drifts in the water. Many whales feed directly on the krill. than about 6 steps. a Food Chain. the result is a “chain of feeding”. Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 10 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www. eating a tonne or more every day. then bigger (plant) fish. There may be number of living things millions of them in each cup of seawater. crabs. (the word It doesn’t matter which Lizard means “drifter”) way the food chain diagram is drawn. Insect in the chain. then dolphins.

....... using c)........................ The result is that all animals eat Food chains always begin with a g)........com................. This means they must eat food direction that the o)........... q). because they are the which have eaten plants.. that f)........ Plants are a)........................au ......... Glue down and add connecting arrows to complete each diagram................................ which make all the r)...................................... Consumers & Student Name............... flows.. Eagle Lizard eats Butcher Birds Frog eats spiders Grass eats grasshoppers Oyster Flowers feeds on plankton Butterfly Butcher Bird eats caterpillars eats nectar from flowers Starfish Grasshopper eats oysters eats grass Snake eats frogs Plankton Spider Kookaburra eats butterflies eats lizards Octopus eats crabs Caterpillar eats leaves of trees Tree Leaves Crab eats starfish Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 11 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www............................................ m)...... or other h)....keepitsimplescience........................................................................ The waste products are They make food by b)....... they carry out s)............................... of food................... All living things use the i)........... from food.......... and .............. plus the energy of d).......................... gas from the air as well as l)..... Arrows are used to show the food.................... and ................................. and states what it eats.............. through an All animals are e).............................. Cut out all the boxes and re-arrange to form 4 different food chains.. A food chain describes the flow of n)....................... Food Chains Fill in the blank spaces This process needs k)..................... from food to power all life processes................................................ Food Chains Each box names an organism......................... of ecosystem........... and if it eats other j). ® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science Worksheet 2 Producers..... p).. Worksheet 3 Student Name.................................................. animals it is a t)...... To An animal that eats plants is called a get this energy............

Most needed by plants for fungi grow in the healthy growth. there is a big cycling of soil minerals and other difference. Bacteria & Fungi Importance of Decomposers If you have studied the “Kingdoms of The decomposers eat all the wastes and Life” you may recall that bacteria are clean up the environment.g. in every ecosystem there are lots of garbage-disposal organisms who get rid of the waste materials. Food Chain Including Decomposers Grass Kangaroo Dingo Dea d le Wastes. skin & feathers. which also produces its own wastes. “toadstools”.keepitsimplescience. Scavengers do not cause rotting. they things like re-cycle many chemicals that are mushrooms and needed in the ecosystem.au . there are dead leaves.com. simple. Luckily. The amount of wastes and dead bits-and-pieces produced each day in every ecosystem is enormous. tiny. etc. The familiar “caps” shown in the Without the decomposers. single-celled organisms. but important chemicals in the Seashore Scavenger environment. They feed on wastes and back into the soil. As well as their dung. down into simple chemicals. sheds eat dead remains. skin. the soil photo are minerals such as nitrates and actually just the phosphates would soon be reproductive depleted. shed fur & skin ave s& stal ks Simple chemicals returned to the soil Decomposers Decomposers Worksheet 6 Are Decomposers the Same as Scavengers? Aren’t the decomposers doing the same A scavenger eats dead remains. These “minerals” are structures. soil as a network of thin threads. shed fur. etc. ® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science The Decomposers All living things produce wastes. but it job as scavengers? e. Their real importance is that by Fungi include decomposing the left-overs. This way the plants dead materials and cause it to continue to grow and make the food for decompose (rot) so that it is broken all the food chains to continue. The decomposers break-down the Most bacteria and fungi are decomposer wastes and return essential chemicals organisms. and they do not cause the re- No. vultures. Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 12 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www. etc.

supplies. here is a food chain: Plant Insect Spider Lizard Kookaburra but this might be only part of all the feeding relationships occurring. and spiders. many different food chains inter-connect with each other to form a Food Web. We haven’t Plants are usually placed at the bottom. and so on.com. included insect eating birds and in a line. Because food webs get very In a natural ecosystem there may be complicated.au . As far as possible the mammals. In a real ecosystem. Kookaburras The organisms shown in shaded boxes could be the food chain above. Single food chains never exist by themselves in nature.keepitsimplescience. Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 13 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www. Blue-tongue Snakes Lizards Goannas Frogs Spiders Possums Nectar-eating birds Koalas Grasshopper Butterflies Fruit Flies Beetles Grass Weeds Flowering Shrubs Trees Complicated? Design of a Even the food web shown is far too Food Web Diagram simple for a real bush environment. dozens of types of lizards and birds. or the many types of herbivorous animals are placed in a line plants that are the basis of all the food above the plants. and so on. For example. ® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science Food Webs Although we think in terms of food chains. it is important that the hundreds of different species of insects diagrams we use are well-organised. the bats. this is really too simple.

.................... Herbivores Zooplankton eat phytoplankton.. Hints Periwinkles (snails) and sea urchins eat • Start with plants in a line at the bottom...................... mussels and tube on scrap paper first...... What is the reason (shown in the Snails diagram) why many people like to have Caterpillars blue-tongue lizards in their garden? Insects Slugs Weeds Garden plants 3. This diagram shows a food web that Answer the questions might exist in your back-yard.. Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 14 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www.. Butcher b) what do butcher birds eat? Bird ........................... seaweeds.. Make a Food Web Here is information about some feeding relationships in a coastal rock pool........com.) • It may be wise to do a “draft version” Barnacles.. ® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science Worksheet 4 Food Webs Student Name...... According to this food web: a) what eats caterpillars? Kookaburra . “Filter Feeders” • Connect with arrows to show all (Collect plankton from the water............ Therefore. Blue-T Tongue c) which animals are the “herbivores”? Lizard Spiders ............au ......................................... they are feeding relationships described......................... Producer Organisms Phytoplankton...... From this you can worms......... eating both phytoplankton and zooplankton. 1............. Scavengers Crabs eat dead scraps from barnacles.... Predators (hunter-killers) Octopus eat crabs. mussels and periwinkles................ see better lay-outs that will keep it neat and organised.... Your task is to construct a food web from this information............ seaweeds.......... • Continue working upwards............ List all the “carnivores” shown........ 2........................keepitsimplescience.. shrimp... shrimp & sea urchins Starfish eat mussels and periwinkles.. Worksheet 5 Student Name. • Arrange herbivores in a line above that....

Seasonal Population Change Annual Cycle in a Temperate Climate Each Spring the population jumps as Population declines each year due to Rapid increase each predators. Population size always follows a yearly cycle. keeps rising. but it is more 0 10 20 30 40 50 irregular. disease. will breed In “good” years the continuously in years when population there is plenty of food and water. Winter every year Summer The death rate is Summer Summer Autumn Summer Summer Autumn Autumn higher in Winter. ® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science Changes in Population Size Humans are used to the idea that our population keeps rising. Australia’s Climate is Unpredictable Australia has seasons. and many die from lack Population “crashes” during times of of food and water. such drought drought drought drought drought El Nino El Nino El Nino El Nino El Nino as Red Kangaroos. Breeding stops.com. drought. Then the population Population Size decreases steadily as some are killed by Many die predators or die of in various natural causes. Once again.keepitsimplescience. so Autumn Autumn Summer Autumn Spring Winter Spring Spring Winter Winter Spring Winter Spring Winter Spring Winter population drops faster. or due to the impact of other species. Time (Seasons over 6 years) The dotted line shows the “yearly average” population. but Spring always brings new plant growth. but produce babies whenever there is food and conditions are good. good food supplies and warm weather.g. old age or predators. Winter is harsh. Seasonal Changes In the northern hemisphere (e. The population grows larger Population Size even with even though many die from predators. many babies are born Spring breeding season at the same time.au . disease and old age. Many completely stop breeding. It goes up and down over a number of years because of “good” and “bad” years. Many Australian animals do not have a “breeding season”. Many Australian animals. but their effect is often less important than the unpredictable “El Nino” events which cause severe droughts. disease. Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 15 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www. In natural ecosystems. This is NOT normal for animals and plants in nature. and the “cycle” is Time (years) over many years. the graph shows “highs and lows”. Nth America & Europe) the seasons are very regular and predictable. the population of each species often goes up and down with the seasons. etc When droughts occur the population “crashes”.

predators have less food. species arrives in the Extinct ecosystem Unfortunately. the prey species population is affected by the predator’s population. the predators can catch a lot of food. Predator & Prey Populations Some population sizes are affected by another species. and the whole As the predators increase in numbers. and more prey. Predator-Prey Populations Prey species This graph has been Average Population Size Population “smoothed- “Highs” There are usually more prey animals than out” to show predators average Population “Lows” population Predator over many species years The predator’s “highs” and “lows” are always later than the prey’s.com.g. the predator population decreases. In nature this often results in a clear winner. so the prey population goes down. Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 16 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www. This means fewer prey get eaten. Competition If two species eat the same food. and some starve to death. so their population begins to increase. Meanwhile. They raise fewer babies. se n pu e ea Po while the other declines. ® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science Changes in Population Size Humans are used to the idea that our population keeps rising. hollow logs) or any other resource in the ecosystem. they must compete for survival. before competition Po ec pu lin Population Size n la tio d tio la The “better” competitor’s population increases. Competition Typical Competition Graph When 2 species need the same food (or other Species population stable resource) one species is always a little better at it than the other. the population of each species often goes up and down with the seasons. The predators breed more successfully and raise bigger families because they have more Gradually. This is NOT normal for animals and plants in nature. or due to the impact of other species. the When the prey population gets low. Time (over many years) What Happens When the prey species population is high. The population of a predator is often dependent on the population of its main prey. and it may become cr New competitor in extinct in that ecosystem.keepitsimplescience.au . Humans have introduced many new species to Australia with Time devastating results to some native species. or need the same nesting sites (e. this is often what happens when species are introduced to new ecosystems. they eat more cycle starts again. and an extinct loser. In natural ecosystems. The predator population rises. food.

.................................. animals lose or shed.. and ........... The new species “X” eats exactly the same food as “S” does........... organisms... Time (many years) Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 17 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www............. As well as their dung or soil minerals which i).................... As they eat this material they cause it to f).... remains of other creatures. chemicals...... for each ecosystem..com......... Population Changes 2................................. Fill in the blank spaces All living things produce a)...... the materials......................... A a) What do we call the relationship Population Size between “S” and “X”? b) Sketch on the graph the population changes to “S” and “X”...keepitsimplescience.. there are tonnes of dead to be healthy...... This is vital for h)......... Then a new species (“X”) moves into this ecosystem..... and ................................................. from plants...... These especially the e)............... and continue to grow and make all the c)................................................. do not cause material to rot and be re- cycled.. if it breeds in a regular cycle...... and produce more l)....... which j). Worksheet 7 Student Name........ arrives On the same grid sketch the graph of its main predator. “S” b) What causes the graph to go up? c) What can cause it to go down? Population Size Species “X” d) Assume this is a prey animal... which eat dead by the d)... if the new species is better adapted and more Time (years) successful....... an animal might change over a period of years........ This graph below shows the 1.. ® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science Worksheet 6 Decomposers Student Name............... need droppings.......au ... population of a species (“S”) whose a) Sketch on this grid (start at point A) numbers have remained the same (more a graph showing how the population of or less) for thousands of years...... This allows the plants to b)............................................. This means it is broken down into g)............. (rot)..................................... Decomposers are not the same as All this waste and dead matter is eaten k).......

floods The aboriginal re-fill the wetlands that vast numbers of people plants and animals live in and rely upon for deliberately set survival. Lake Eyre) cannot survive sprout quickly after a blaze. move long distances to This form of reproduction search for food and water helps drought survival. Many individuals may die. and then devastating floods arrive. and re. and sprout when systems are adapted to conditions improve many conserve water. vitally important. ® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science Fire. Effects on Australian Ecosystems Fire: Destroy & Re-New Flood: Flush & Re-Charge Humans see fire as a destroyer. The ash from fire fertilizes the poor soils.keepitsimplescience. Many seeds without the irregular flooding. the population after years of drought. but it helps guarantee future fertility. will only grow after they are scorched by fire. Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 18 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www. closes up and becomes a stagnant swamp instead of a healthy Drought breeding area for fish and birds. fires for thousands of Floods re-charge the underground water years before supplies which emerge elsewhere as European “springs” and feed the creeks. but most native plants When there is little food and water. topsoil. In inland Australia. supplies. Bushfires are common in most years and can cause widespread damage to both human property and natural environments. are Most Australian mammals highly mobile so they can are marsupials (pouched). years later. The salt lake ecosystems of Central Many plants are adapted to fire. Bushfires have been common in In some natural ecosystems flooding is Australia for ages. Australia (e. Many. Without a flood the estuary silts-up. Flood & Drought The only certain thing about the Australian environment is that it is unpredictable! Droughts can last for years. A flood may destroy this year’s crop. Drought makes life very tough for farmers and for rural communities. the animals and animals are well adapted for long dry simply stop reproducing. but periods.g. Many may die. times. even in dry settlement. out” by flood water. Some Australian ecosystems can Many coastal estuaries need to be “flushed only remain healthy by regular burning. many can survive produce drought-resistant on very little water seeds which can survive for because their body decades.com.au . like kangaroos. but the even just a few survivors can rapidly re-grow populations always recover. To native Farmers know the value of flooding to Australian ecosystems it is also a great deposit silt on the fields and replenish the renewing force. Many Australian plants As well.

® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science Different Viewpoints A major ecological issue that has emerged in recent years concerns Australia’s inland waterways. most effective at preserving and repairing the natural environment. major shipping port. the Our National Parks systems are CSIRO. The Aborigines see the river systems that there is not themselves as part of the land and have enough left to flow to the sea. a responsibility to protect it and all its inhabitants. So much water is taken from different reasons. Further research may help develop By destroying introduced pest species crops that require less water so that and protecting remnants of wilderness farmers can get economical yields with areas. political and economic implications.au . but for the struggling supplies. Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 19 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www. at least some of our natural less irrigation.keepitsimplescience. How Science Can Help It’s not up to scientists to make decisions to settle problems which have social. The Scientific View is that this is an ecological disaster. all the different groups of people. The vast inland Aborigines were ignored and the economy wetlands are not being “re-charged” and always got its way. but certainly a major factor is The Aboriginal Peoples’ View tends the extraction of river water for to agree with the scientists. especially the Murray-Darling River System. much less cargo boat. the upper Darling River is just a dollars to Australia’s export economy. A hundred years ago. birds and fish. Ecological Studies How much water in the rivers is More and more Aboriginal people are enough? Only by continuing to study being consulted and employed in this the plant and animal communities can role. social disaster. Plant and animal communities everyone. The river ecosystem The Government View is that they must try to find a compromise that works for is dying. has already helped develop and managed scientifically to preserve breed new varieties of disease-resistant ecosystems and provide places of and drought-tolerant crop plants. For most of our history the are severely threatened. The town of Bourke was a bush towns. Their produce is worth many millions of Today. However. and must try to find ways to satisfy “ecological flows” are re-established. not just for River carrying wool. heritage is preserved for future generations. paddlewheel The Farmers’ View is radically steam boats used to travel thousands of different. The reasons for the change are complex. there’s plenty that Science can do to help. You’d be lucky to get to Bourke the crops would be an economic and by canoe. refuge for native species. They want to put people before trees. but for irrigation. The crops of rice and cotton kilometres up and down the Darling they grow provide income. Their traditional methods are often we be sure of what we’re doing and why.com. New Crop Varieties Environmental Management Australia’s top research body. string of shallow pools during most To suddenly stop using water to irrigate years. people and their families. Modern governments heed may be permanently destroyed unless the Science.

....... tree. write the letter (A...... . adaptation B..... which helps it survive........... disaster. ......... d) Flesh-eater.. b) Type of decomposer d) The energy in a food chain living thing............. . C... etc) of the list item beside the 1... Humans think a bushfire is always a Some may be used more than once. f) A food web contains many food chains...... spider.. e) Decomposers are the same c) Producer organism for most as scavengers..... phytoplankton D.. e) What food provides..... .. c) A predator is always a herbivore.. frog Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 20 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www... ... Score = /20 3. b) The webbed feet of a platypus a) A special feature of a living thing help it grab its food.... carnivore 4.....keepitsimplescience... True of False? T or F a) Adaptations always help Description matches with List Item survival in some way.. energy Explain your answer.. (5 marks) Answer all questions Match each description to an item from in the spaces provided.com. To answer...B... ocean food chains... fungi E.....au . ...... Is it always a bad thing for natural ecosystems? A. (5 marks) Unscramble these living things and draw a food chain diagram from them.. ® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science Topic Test Ecosystems Student Name.... the list... (3 marks) List Items Not all will be used. .......... snake..... ..C.. .. ....... (7 marks) description. . . 2.... herbivore F..... g) The population graph for a predator always “lags behind” the prey.... comes from the Sun... insect..

. snails & caterpillars Toes. k) oxygen l) glucose m) CO2 and water n) energy Desert Pea Roots. Claws. e) consumers Tail.. climbing trees.... which is good to escape from kookaburras predators. b) insects.. spiders and caterpillars Wings.. zooplankton periwinkles Pouch backward. Goanna Worksheet 5 Colour pattern.. s) herbivore t) carnivore Seeds.. spotting prey at long range... resist losing water. g) plants h) animals Eyes (etc) on top.... caterpillars. tube worms Snout. phytoplankton seaweeds Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 21 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www. 2. Legs. swimming... crabs shrimp starfish Echidna Claws.. camouflage. avoids predators which hunt by day. q) producers r) food Leaves. catch & swallow insect prey. helps in climbing. spiders.au ... killing prey.com. Runners.. can glide & soar with little effort while c) insects. digging roots (food).. Smell.. 1. allows it to see and breathe i) energy j) cellular respiration while mostly submerged.. Teeth. Mouth & tongue. catching ants & termites... b-t lizards. tree climbing. camouflage.. Plankton >oyster > starfish > crab > octo eg eagles... Possum Claws. hopping. defence against predators.. Spines... Nocturnal. Flower > Butterfly > spider > frog > snake Tail... G-T Frog They eat garden “pests” such as slugs. a) butcher birds & blue-tongue lizards Beak. ® Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only keep it simple science Answer Section Worksheet 2 a) producers b) photosynthesis Worksheet 1 c) CO2 & water d) sunlight Freshwater Croc.. catching prey (fish). breaking open termite nests.... tongue.keepitsimplescience. Eyes.. barnacles mussels Wombat sea urchins Claws. can detect food at long range even when octopus not visible... f) another organism has made Jaws & teeth. holding on. Webbed feet. Talons... W-T Eagle Worksheet 4 Eyes. slugs & snails searching for food.. tearing flesh.....bird > eagle Smell... eating tough plant food.. Leaves > caterpillar > B.. power for swimming. can wait for the end of drought.. gather what little water might fall when it o) energy p) plant rains... finding food eg fruit. Colour. Worksheet 3 Grass > grasshopper > lizard > kooka. can quickly reproduce when conditions are good. can survive on poor quality food. burrowing.. Dopey. clinging. pouch doesn’t fill with dirt when digging... helps in climbing.... 3.. butcher birds. see well in dim light..

1. tree insect spider frog snake Time (years) a) graph should go up and down. disease d) predators graph should be lower. keep it simple science TM Copying is permitted according to the Site Licence Conditions only Worksheet 6 Topic Test a) waste b) leaves 1.com. small h) re-cycling i) plants j) food 2. c) skin. a) competition b) “S” Population Size Species “X” arrives Time (many years) graph for S should decline. X should rise Years 7-8 Topic 11 Ecosystems 22 copyright © 2008 keep it simple science www. Population Size 3. Bushfires are needed to keep some natural ecosystems healthy. Worksheet 7 The ashes from fires fertilize poor soils. 2.keepitsimplescience. A Many Aust. (arrows must point correct way!) b) reproduction of young c) death. plants are adapted to fire and quickly re-grow. fur (etc) d) decomposer a) T b) F c) F d) T e) fungi & bacteria f) decompose e) F f) T g) T g) simple. a) D b) B c) A d) F e) E lower and later 4. because of predators. and later than first graph. and some seeds can only sprout after being scorched. k) scavengers l) wastes No.au .