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Ecosystems Basics In order for an organism to grow, survive and perpetuate their species, they must obtain the necessary resources. Every organism needs certain things to survive. h Each population within an ecosystem has a carrying capacity. This means they can only reach a certain size. What sorts of things would keep a population from becoming really HUGE? The size of the physical environment The ecosystem that contains the things that organism needs to survive is a certain size and they cannot leave it. Ilha de Queimada Grande (Snake Island) 2. Disease They become sick and perish Abiotic factors available to them Light Temperature Water Soil Space for shelter Biotic interactions What do I mean by this? Competition Two organisms, of the same population or different populations, competing for the same resources What are some of these things that organisms compete for? Deer game Predation One organism kills another organism Facilitation 1. Mutualism - both species benefit 1. 2. 3. 4. The The The The bee and the flower spider crab and the algae bacteria and the human oxpecker and the zebra Facilitation 2. Commensalism - One benefits and the other is unaffected 1. The whale and the barnacles 2. The clownfish and the anemones 3. The burdocks seeds and the fur Feeding Hierarchy Trophic levels: Producers An organism that can make its own energy through biological processes (usually photosynthesis) Trophic Levels: Consumers Organisms that eat producers 1. Primary consumers (usually herbivores) - eat producers 2. Secondary consumers (usually carnivores) eat primary consumers 3. Tertiary consumer - top of the food chain, feeds only on secondary consumers Trophic levels: Decomposers An organism, usually a bacterium or fungus, that feeds on and breaks down dead plant or animal matter, thus making organic nutrients available to the ecosystem Food webs simple More complex no composers With decomposers Because there are so many factors and everything is interdependent, ecosystems are always changing. If you change one factor, it can affect many other things. 1. Take away a biotic or abiotic component (i.g. extinction) 2. Add a biotic or abiotic component (i.g. invasive species) What would you do to lower the amount of snakes on Snake Island? What would you do to lower a population of deer on an island?