Interdependence and Adaptation

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  • Interdependence and Adaptation
    • Competition
      • To survive and reproduce, organisms need a supply of materials from their surroundings and from the other organisms there.
      • Organisms compete with each other for space, light, food and water.
      • Space and Light: Plants need room to spread their leaves in order to obtain light for photosynthesis.
      • Animals need space to breed/compete for a mate and they need territory to hunt in.
      • Food: Plants absorb nutrients from the soil. Herbivores compete for vegetation and carnivores compete for their prey.
      • Water: Plants absorb water through their roots and animals need water in order to survive.
      • Population: The total number of individuals of the same species that live in a certain area.
      • When organisms compete in an area, those better adapted to the environment are more successful and exist in large numbers, resulting to complete exclusion of other organisms
    • Adaptations
      • Special features/behaviour that makes an organism particularly well-suited to its environment. This is part of evolution (shapes life) and a habitat is populated by organisms that excel there.
      • Adaptations increase the chance of survival e.g. plants have thorns to stop predators eating them, organisms develop poisons/warning colours to deter predators.
      • Organisms that live in extreme habitats are called extremophiles e.g. organisms living in areas with high salt concentration/high temperature/high pressure.
      • Micro-organisms have a wide range of adaptations and live in a wide range of conditions.
      • Adaptations: surface area, insulating coat, body fat, camouflage.
      • Polar bear: nostrils close when underwater, white fur for camouflage, thick layer of fat for warmth, webbed toes for swimming, wide paws to grip ice.
      • Camel: hump to store fat/energy, long eyelashes to stop sand getting into eyes, nostrils close to stop sand getting into nose, thick lips to eat cacti, wide feet to talk in sand.
      • Cacti: needles to reduce surface area and stops water loss, thick stem to store water (succulent), extensive root system to take in water.
    • Environmental Change
      • Organisms are subjected to environmental change caused by living/non-living factors
      • Non-living factors: temperature, rainfall. This affects dry crops which cannot thrive in a wet environment, number of pollinating insects would decrease in cool weather.
      • Living factors: new predators, new diseases, migration, plants-grazing/diseases)
      • Environmental changes are measured using non-living indicators e.g. equipment to measure temperature, levels of oxygen in water, rainfall.
      • Indicator organisms: lichens indicate pollution (affected by SO2).
      • Different types of lichen/different levels of sensitivity. Towns- few lichen/high level of SO2. Rural area- more lichen/low level of SO2
      • Invertebrate animals can indicate low levels of oxygen in water. Organisms die in low levels of oxygen except invertebrate organisms. Some organisms are found in 'clean' water where levels of oxygen are high in water.


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