Adaptations of Organisms in habitats
The polar bear
Polar bears are well adapted for survival in the Arctic. They have:
- a white appearance, as camouflage from prey on the snow and ice
- thick layers of fat and fur, for insulation against the cold
- a small surface area to volume ratio, to minimise heat loss
- a greasy coat, which sheds water after swimming.
The snowshoe hare
The snowshoe hare has white fur in the winter and reddish-brown fur in the summer. This means that it is camouflaged from its predators for most of the year.
Camels live in deserts that are hot and dry during the day, but cold at night. They are well adapted for survival in the desert. Camels have:
- Large, flat feet to spread their weight on the sand.
- Thick fur on the top of the body for shade, and thin fur elsewhere to allow easy heat loss.
- A large surface area to volume ratio to maximise heat loss.
- The ability to go for a long time without water (they don't store water in their humps, but they lose very little through urination and sweating).
- The ability to tolerate body temperatures up to 42°C.
- Slit-like nostrils and two rows of eyelashes to help keep the sand out.
Here are some adaptations that make animals successful predators:
- built for speed
- sharp teeth and claws
- camouflage to avoid being seen by prey
- eyes to the front of the head to judge size and distance well
Here are some adaptations that help animals avoid being caught as prey:
- live in groups
- built for speed
- defences such as poison or stings
- camouflage to avoid being seen by predators
- eyes to the side of the head to get a wide field of view
Factors which affect population
If the prey population in an ecosystem grows, predator numbers will respond to the increased food supply by increasing as well. Growing predator numbers will eventually reduce the food supply to the point where it can no longer sustain the predator population ... and so on.