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KS4 Habitats & Sampling
- Know that an ecosystem is the interaction of a community of living organisms (biotic) with the non-living (abiotic) parts of their environment.
- Know that to survive and reproduce, organisms require a supply of materials from their surroundings and from the other living organisms there.
- Know that plants in a community or habitat often compete with each other for light and space, and for water and mineral ions from the soil.
- Know that animals often compete with each other for food, mates and territory.
- Know that within a community each species depends on other species for food, shelter, pollination, seed dispersal etc.
- Know that if one species is removed it can affect the whole community and that this is called interdependence.
- Know that a stable community is one where all the species and environmental factors are in balance so that population sizes remain fairly constant. Examples include tropical rainforests and ancient oak woodlands.
- Be able to record first-hand observations of organisms.
7.1.2 Abiotic factors
- Be able to explain how a change in an abiotic factor would affect a given community given appropriate data or context.
- Know that Abiotic (non-living) factors which can affect a community include:
- light intensity
- moisture levels
- soil pH and mineral content
- wind intensity and direction
- carbon dioxide levels for plants
- oxygen levels for aquatic animals.
- Be able to extract and interpret information from charts, graphs and tables relating to the effect of abiotic factors on organisms within a community.
7.1.3 Biotic factors
- Be able to explain how a change in a biotic factor might affect a given community given appropriate data or context.
- Know that Biotic (living) factors which can affect a community include:
- availability of food
- new predators arriving
- new pathogens
- one species outcompeting another so the numbers are no longer sufficient to breed, such as the introduction of grey squirrels into southern Britain outcompeted the native red squirrels.
- Be able to extract and interpret information from charts, graphs and tables relating to the effect of biotic factors on organisms within a community.
- Be able to explain how organisms are adapted to live in their natural environment, given appropriate information.
- Know that organisms have features (adaptations) that enable them to survive in the conditions in which they normally live and that these adaptations may be structural, behavioural or functional.
- Know that organisms that live in environments that are very extreme, such as at high temperature, pressure, or salt concentration are called extremophiles.
- Know that bacteria living in deep sea vents is an example of an extremophile.
7.2 Organisation of an ecosystem
7.2.1 Levels of organisation
- Know that photosynthetic organisms are the producers of biomass for life on Earth.
- Know that feeding relationships within a community can be represented by food chains.
- Know that all food chains begin with a producer which synthesises molecules and that this is usually a green plant or alga which makes glucose by photosynthesis.
- Know a range of experimental methods using transects and quadrats are used by ecologists to determine the distribution and abundance of species in an ecosystem.
- In relation to abundance of organisms students should be able to:
- understand the terms mean, mode and median
- calculate arithmetic means
- plot and draw appropriate graphs selecting appropriate scales for the axes.
- Know that producers are eaten by primary consumers, which in turn may be eaten by secondary consumers and then tertiary consumers.
- Know that consumers that kills and eat other animals are predators, and those eaten are prey.
- Know that in a stable community the numbers of predators and prey rise and fall in cycles.
- Be able to interpret predator-prey graphs.
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