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INTERDEPENDENCE of

LIVING ORGANISMS

Hans pfletschinger

The picture shows a bee visiting a sage flower


It provides an example of interdependence
The bee is dependent on the flower for its nectar
The flower is dependent on the bee for pollination
(You will need to have an understanding of respiration
and photosynthesis to follow this slide show)

A food chain
(3)....the kestrel eats the
blue tit.

(2)....the blue tit eats the


caterpillar...
2

(1) The caterpillar eats


the leaf.
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This is an example of
a food chain

Animals depend on plants for food


The food chain
Sparrow hawk

Thrush

Snail

Cabbage

The sparrow hawk does not depend directly on plants


but it does depend on thrushes, which eat snails, which
eat cabbages.
So the sparrow hawk is indirectly dependent on plants
Food chains are never so simple as the ones in slides
3 and 4
Sparrow hawks do not feed exclusively on thrushes;
thrushes eat worms as well as snails; snails eat many
plants, not just cabbages
A more accurate picture is given by a food web

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owl

fox

stoat

rat

beetle

rabbit

Question
What is the most likely outcome of a severe fall in the
numbers of foxes?
(a) Increase in rabbits, decrease in rats, increase
in owls
(b) Increase in rabbits,increase in stoats, increase
in vegetation
(c) Decrease in rabbits, increase in beetles, increase
in vegetation
(d) Increase in rabbits, increase in owls, decrease in
vegetation.

All organisms depend on sunlight


SUNLIGHT

Photosynthesis
in wheat
Wheat grains

Photosynthesis
in grass
Cow

Photosynthesis in
flowering plants
Nectar

Flour

Milk

Bees

Bread

Cheese

Honey

Pyramid of numbers
Owl
Blue tits
Caterpillars
Plant leaves
Example of a food pyramid
The width of each band represents the
number of organisms

Dependence on oxygen and carbon


dioxide
Animals need oxygen for respiration
Plants produce oxygen in photosynthesis
Animals produce carbon dioxide in respiration
Plants use up carbon dioxide in photosynthesis
The process of decay uses up oxygen and
produces carbon dioxide
This interdependence is represented by the

Carbon Cycle

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Atmospheric carbon dioxide


Production of carbon
dioxide

Uptake of carbon
dioxide

Burning of fuel: wood,


coal, oil and gas.

Photosynthesis in
plants

Respiration in all
organisms
Decay of organic
matter

Absorption by the
oceans

The carbon cycle

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Dependence on bacteria
Most bacteria are beneficial
They break down dead organisms into simpler
substances
Soil bacteria make mineral salts available
to plants
Bacteria and fungi are called decomposers

Recycling and the role of decomposers


SOIL
minerals and
humus

DECOMPOSERS
bacteria and fungi

sunlight

PRODUCERS
green plants

CONSUMERS
animals

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Decomposers

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If it were not for bacterial and fungal decomposition, we


would be knee deep in dead leaves after a few years

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Conclusion
The inter-relationships between all
living organisms are so complex that
any disturbance in the patterns of
interdependence can have farreaching consequences

Question 1
Which of the following might be genuine food chains?
(a) zebra - lion - giraffe - leopard - antelope
(b) grass - grasshopper - lizard - snake - eagle
(c) aquatic vegetation - hippopotamus - tick oxpecker bird - tawny eagle
(d) stickleback - pondweed - minnow - pike kingfisher

Question 2
Which of these organisms might be classed as producers?
(a) mosses
(b) fungi
(c) trees
(d) earthworms

Question 3
Which of these statements is most accurate?
In bright sunlight a green plant will be...
(a) photosynthesising only
(b) respiring only
(c) photosynthesising and respiring
(d) taking in oxygen and giving out CO2

Question 4
Which of these increase the concentration of carbon dioxide
in the atmosphere?

(a) respiration
(b) photosynthesis
(c) combustion
(d) decay

ANSWER
Incorrect

ANSWER
Correct