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Organisms and Their
Why are we studying the
-Understanding what affects the
environment is important because it’s
where we live!
I. Ecology
-Ecology is the study of interactions that
take place between organisms and their
II. Levels of Organization in
Biosphere (biggest group)
Organism(smallest group)
II. Levels of Organization in
1. Biosphere-part of the Earth that supports
II. Levels of Organization in
2. Biomes-large group of ecosystems that
share certain characteristics.
Ex: Desert, Forest
II. Levels of Organization in
3. Ecosystems-made up of interacting
Ex: Horse eating grass, grass
growing in ground.
II. Levels of Organization in
-Ecosystems are made up of biotic (living)
and abiotic (non-living) factors.
II. Levels of Organization in
Biotic factors-living things
Ex: trees, animals, bacteria
Abiotic factors-non-living things
Ex: sun, soil, air, water
Examples of ecosystems made up of biotic and abiotic factors:
II. Levels of Organization in
4. Communities-made up of interacting
Ex: Deer, zebra and grass living
II. Levels of Organization in
5. Population-a group of organisms of one
species that live in the same place at the
same time.
Ex: Many deer
II. Levels of Organization in
***Organisms in a population compete with
each other for food, water and mates.
Competition increases when these things
aren’t available.
II. Levels of Organization in
6. Organism-a living thing.
Ex: One deer.
III. Organisms in Ecosystems
-A habitat is an organism’s place of survival.
III. Organisms in Ecosystems
-A niche is the role an organism plays in its
environment (how it gets food, finds shelter, and
-A niche includes all of an organism’s interactions
with the biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living)
parts of its environment.
Example: A cockroach’s niche is inside a
house, eating garbage.
IV. Symbiosis
• A close and permanent relationship
between two organisms is called
• Symbiosis means living together.
There are three kinds of symbiosis:
mutualism, commensalism, and
1. Mutualism
• A symbiotic
in which
both species
benefit is
This little fish is
helping me by
cleaning my
teeth!!! Yeah!!!
I’m eating the big
fish’s food so he’s
helping me too!
More Examples of Mutualism
The coral reef and the algae exist in a
mutualistic relationship. They supply food and
shelter for each other.
Mutualism and Lichens!
Lichens are made up of fungi and algae. The
fungi attaches the organism to the tree and
protects the algae. The algae provides food
through photosynthesis.
Mutualism and flowers!
Flowers provide food for insects. Insects spread
the seeds of flowers. Both organisms benefit!
2. Commensalism
Commensalism is
a symbiotic
relationship in
which one
species benefits
and the other
species is
neither harmed
nor benefited.
In this picture, Spanish moss is
growing on the trees. The moss
benefits because it has a place
to live, and the tree doesn’t care.
More examples of Commensalism
Clownfish hide in poisonous sea anemones which
protect them from larger fish. The clownfish
benefit, and nothing happens to the sea anemones.
Commensalism continued…
This bird, called an
egret rides on the back
of large mammals like
elephants. The egret
benefits because it gets
a place to live, and the
elephant doesn’t care
because it does not
benefit or become
harmed by the
3. Parasitism
• Some interactions are harmful to
one species, yet beneficial to
A symbiotic relationship in which a
member of one species benefits and
the other species is harmed is called
• Parasites have evolved in such a way that
they harm, but usually do not kill the host
Tapeworms are parasites.
They attach to your intestines
and suck out all of your food.
the tapeworm benefits, and
the host is harmed because they
slowly starve to death.
One of the ways to get rid of a tapeworm is to starve yourself and
then place a piece of meat in front of your mouth. The tapeworm
will smell the meat and climb up your throat and out of your mouth.
Tapeworms continued!!!
Other parasites!
A lungworm benefits
while it harms the host.
This is the head of a
parasite. Parasites often
grab on to the digestive
tracts (intestines and
stomachs) of their hosts.
Guinea Worm-Another parasite!
• A predator is a type of consumer. Predators
seek out and eat other organisms.
• Predation is found in all ecosystems
and includes organisms that eat
plants and animals.
• The animals that predators eat are
called prey.