Unit 6- Nature's Neighborhoods Tate
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
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
If something is removed from a food chain/web, in effects everything. The image below shows a food pyramid.
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
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