Ecosystems And Tropic Levels - Part 1 (T4) Flashcards Preview

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No matter its size, what four components will an ecosystem generally have?

- producers: plants which photosynthesise and produce their own food
- consumers: animals that eat the plants or other animals
- decomposers: organisms which are responsible for the decay of dead material and so help to recycle nutrients
- physical environment: the total of the non-biological components of the ecosystem, for example in a pond this would be the water and soil while in the forest it would be the soil and air


What is an ecosystem?

- an ecosystem is made up of all the living and non-living things in an area, for example farms and woods
- it is a distinct, self supporting system of organisms interacting with each other and with their physical environment
- it can be small in size, like a pond, or large like a swamp or a large forest


In each ecosystem a a range of habitats. What are these and give some examples...

- habitats are places where specific organisms live
- some are provided by the physical environment, for example in a pond the habitat of many of the plants is provided by the soil at the bottom of the pond and by the water
- other habitats are provided by the organisms themselves, for example dead vegetation provides a habitat for many decomposers


All of the organisms of a particular species found in an ecosystem at any one time are known as the what?

The population of that species


The populations of all the different species in an ecosystem are known as what?

A community


How would an ecologist calculate how many organisms are present in a particular habitat?

The ecologist would count and analyse a representative part of the population, known as a sample


What is a quadrat and how is it used?

- a simple piece of equipment that can be used by ecologists to gather a sample of plants of animals in an ecosystem
- it is usually made of metal, wood or plastic
- the suitable size depends on the size of the organisms being sampled
- the sampling must be random in order to provide a representative sample of the area


Explain how organisms in an ecosystem continually interact with each other...

- feeding amongst organisms: plants, animals and decomposers are continually recycling the same nutrients through the ecosystem
- competition amongst organisms: animals compete for food, shelter, mates and nesting sites while plants compete for nutrients such as carbon dioxide, minerals and water
- numerous interactions between organisms and the environment: plants absorb minerals, carbon dioxide and water while returning water vapour and oxygen, and animals use materials from their environment to build shelters
- the temperature of the environment can also affect the processes occurring in organisms which can in turn affect the temperature of the environment as organisms release heat


What organism does a food chain always start with?

A green plant (a producer)


In a food chain, what is the animal that eats the producer called?

The primary consumer


In a food chain, what is the animal that eats the animal that eats the producer called?

The secondary consumer


What are the different stages in a food chain (eg: producer, primary consumer etc.) known as?

Tropic levels


Describe a food chain that ends with salmon as the tertiary consumer...

Filamentous algae > mayfly nymph > caddis fly larvae > salmon

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