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ECOSYSTEMS

‘A World of Interactions’
What is an Ecosystem?
 An ecosystem includes all the
different organisms living in a
certain area, along with their
physical environment.
 Ecosystems do nothave clear

boundaries. Things move from


one ecosystem to another. They
are composed of both biotoc and
abiotic factors.
An ecosystem…
Biotic factors
 Biotic factors are the living
parts of an ecosystem.
 (Ex: the plants, the

animals, and the


microorganisms)
Biotic factors…
Abiotic factors
 Abiotic factorsare the
nonliving parts of an
ecosystem. They are the
geographical, hydrological
and climatological
parameters.
 (Ex: water, air, soil,

temperature, light, and


Abiotic factors…
Structure of an ecosystem
 Climate is the overriding
factor that determines the
nature of an ecosystem. (what
type it will be)
 Two other important terms

that are associated to


ecosystems are: habitat and
niche.
Niche
 A nicheis a way of life of an
organism. It is its total role in
the community. An organism’s
niche can be thought of as its
“profession” or “how it makes
its living”.
 Ex:
 The niche of a deer is to feed on grass, to
become food for wolves, to provide food for
Habitat
 An organism’s niche determines its
habitat.
 Habitatrefers to the actual place an

organism lives. An organism’s


habitat may be thought of as its
“address”.  
How Do Species Interact With Each
Other?
 There are 5 main types of
species interactions. They
include: predation,
competition, parasitism,
mutualism, and
commensalism.
Predation
 In predation, one organism eats
and kills the other organism. The
organism that is eaten is called
the prey, and the one that does
the eating is called the predator.
 
 Predators limit the population
size of their prey. Also, they tend
to feed on old and weak
individuals who are more likely to
Predation…

Predation…
This red-tailed hawk (predator) has
captured a snake (prey) for dinner.
Yum!
Competition
 
 Competition is a relationship
between species in which they
attempt to use the same
resource. Species can
compete for: food, sunlight,
territory, pollinators, mates
etc…
Competition…

Competition…
Here, two reindeer compete for a
mate.
Parasitism

 Parasites are organisms that live


in or on another organism
without killing it right away.
 The organism the parasite takes
its nourishment from is known as
the host. The relationship
between parasite and host is
called parasitism. Only one
organism benefits.
Parasitism…

Parasitism…
The deer tick (parasite) feeds off the
blood of a human (host), which can lead
to the human getting lymedisease
Mutualism
 Mutualismis a cooperative
partnership between two species.
Both species benefit.
Mutualism…

Mutualism…
The butterfly benefits from from the
flowers nectar, the flower in turn
benefits from having its pollen
Commensalism
 Commensalism is a relationship
in which one species benefits and
the other is neither harmed nor
helped.
 It is the rarest type of species

interaction.
Commensalism…

Commensalism…
Burdock uses its ‘velcro’ to attach to
animals as they pass, this helps to spread
its seeds. The plant benefits while the