Unit 6- Nature's Neighborhoods Tate

A Savannah ecosystem

How are living things connected?

Living things rely on each other to survive. This is called interdependence. For instance, a deer would rely on grass to graze on. A mountain lion relies on the deer for food. This is called a food chain. Often, food chains overlap and create a complicated food web. A food web shows links in an ecosystem. These links connect and show what eats what, not including decomposers. If a link is lost in a food chain or food web, everything can change. If the grass from earlier was removed, deer would have nothing to eat and would die out. Mountain lions would have nothing to eat and would not survive, either. Connections are needed in an ecosystem if it is to keep its balance. Without balance, an ecosystem could be seriously damaged and even destroyed. Even the smallest thing shares great importance in an ecosystem, along with consumers and producers. A consumer eats another to survive. A producer, most commonly a plant, makes its on food. Decomposers are living things that break down dead plants and animals for energy, which can help improve the soil and help plants grow. Examples of these are bacteria and fungi. Scavengers are living things like earthworms that search for food and break it down to small bits for decomposers. Even the smallest thing matters! Pages 326-335, 338, 339

A food web consisting of both consumers and producers.
Animals like this mountain goat have adaptations that help them survive in the harsh conditions of their ecosystem. Page 336

What happens if there are changes in an ecosystem or if one thing is removed from the food web?

Nothing good. If a ecosystem changes, the animals might not survive or flee to another ecosystem. If they die out, all life in that ecosystem will eventually be effected and harmed. If those said animals, like a wild pig, change location, the ecosystem they move to will be harmed. The wild pigs eat so much that other animals have to compete with it if they want food. Few ecosystems can survive another species, called invasive animals and/or plants, changing the environment. If animals like deer would move out of their natural ecosystem because food was scarce (due to the wild pig), the deer would change another ecosystem and the cycle would start over again. It might not seem likely, but it can even change the entire world. Pages 333, 338, 342, and 344

These are two examples of endangerment from changes in an ecosystem.

If something is removed from a food chain/web, in effects everything. The image below shows a food pyramid.

A food pyramid. The living things near the bottom have the most energy, and those at the top have the least. Another example can be found on pages 332-333.

Producers are most common, and at the top there is the least common organisms. If there were less plants to eat, the herbivores (plant eaters) would have less to eat and would die out. The carnivores (meat eaters) and omnivores (plant and animal eaters) would have less food to eat because the herbivores died out. There would not be enough food to go around, and carnivores and omnivores would also die out. Fortunately, the remaining animals would have food and would reproduce, restoring the balance. Sometimes, this is not a terrible occasion and just a cycle. Pages 340-343

A tiger is one example of a carnivore.
A moose is a herbivore.
A bear eats both fish and berries, making it an omnivore.

Problems like pollution, hunting, and over fishing leave many types of animals, plants, and ecosystems endangered. Almost all of the changes in an ecosystem are because of the humans that caused them. There are many things you can do to protect our world! Pages 338-345

This is just one of many dried up lakes.
There are many ecosystems out there, ranging from a desert to your own backyard. There is plenty to explore!

Unfortunately, some ecosystems are dying. Fight back for these ecosystems! There are several problems that YOU can fix slowly, like recycling or cleaning up the streets. You can use earth-friendly materials. You could buy an area of the jungle. All kinds of things are out there, needing help. Pages 338-345

References made in Wright Group (tm) Lead 21 Theme Reader, Unit 6 Nature's Neighborhoods, Balance in the Wild.

Created By
Tate Hutchinson


Created with images by cwar068 - "ecosystem" • EvanLovely - "Glacier Mountain Goat" • PublicDomainPictures - "cheetah leopard animal" • Wilson Hui - "Bull Elk Stag" • PublicDomainPictures - "animal asia asian" • vjacob1 - "christmastree worms close-up thailand" • Richard Allaway - "Desert Vegetation" • Richard Allaway - "North Gare Sand Dunes" • NASA Goddard Photo and Video - "Arctic Sea Ice" • alfonsin11 - "fish snorkeling vacation" • MINDCARAVAN - "Black Oak (Quercus kelloggii)" • NOAA's National Ocean Service - "Sunset from Kure Atoll" • PublicDomainPictures - "redwood trees giant" • BLMOregon - "Donner und Blitzen Wild and Scenic River" • gunamalik - "tree botanical garden green" • Moyan_Brenn - "Desert" • Unsplash - "creek river nature" • youniversall - "in the jungle" • E. D'Ascoli Photographies - "Champ de maïs au printemps"

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