B1.4 Adaptations

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B1.4 Competition

There is sometimes competition between organisms within a community for materials that are in limited supply. 

Competition between plants

  • Water 
  • Light
  • Space
  • Nutrients/mineral salts from soil

Competition between animals

  • Food
  • Mates
  • Territory
    • Space for feeding
    • for reproduction
    • for rearing young

Deterring Predators

In order to deter predators, some organisms have special features:

  • Warning colours on animals
    • Advertises that they are poisonous
  • Shapes and patterns on animals
    • e.g. eyespots on owl butterfly or peacock
    • makes them look more frightening 
  • Poisonous plants
  • Big thorns on plants
  • Barbs, spines

B1.4.1 Adaptations

Adaptation- a feature of an organism that allows it to survive the conditions of their habitat

Arid environments- hot and dry

Extremophiles - Organisms that have adaptations so they can tolerate very extreme environments. (Where most organisms would die) Usually microorganisms (e.g. Bacteria produce special enzymes to withstand extreme conditions) 

Extreme environments- Extreme conditions:

  • high levels of salt (a salt marsh)
  • high temperatures (volcanic hot springs)
  • high pressures (the deep ocean)

Different Adaptations - Specific features

Animals in the Arctic (The Polar Bear)


  • Small head and ears
    • Reduced surface area
    • Less heat loss to air
  • White fur
    • Camouflage- Good for both predators and prey
    • Reduces heat radiated from the body
  • Large, flat feet
    • Better grip on ice
    • Weight spread over a larger area
      • Stop sinking into snow
  • Thick fur
    • Insulates
    • Reduces rate of heat loss
  • Fat
    • Insulates
    • Reduces rate of heat loss
    • Food reserve in the Arctic winter
  • Black skin
    • Absorbs heat
  • Greasy coat
    • Sheds water after swimming
  • Compact body shape
    • Streamlined for swimming

Plants in the Arctic 

  • Grow very close to the ground and close togehter
    • Resist the effects of cold weather
    • Avoid damage by the wind
  • Have small leaves 
    • Conserve water
  • Able to carry out photosynthesis in extreme cold

Animals in arid environments (The camel)

  • Hump of fat
    • Food store
      • Desert food is scarce
    • Releases water as a result of respiration
  • Little body fat
    • Heat is easily lost from the skin capillaries
  • Thin fur on underside


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