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Teachers Notes

• Give out a copy of the glossary for this topic.

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Specification reference

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01 February 2019

Lesson 1: How are different parts of an


ecosystem linked?
Study the diagram of
a UK woodland
ecosystem.

How useful do you


find the diagram?
What else would you
like to know about
this ecosystem that
the diagram does not
tell you? 3
Today’s Objectives
• To understand the concepts of producers, consumers,
decomposers, the food chain, the food web and the
nutrient cycle.
• To be able to illustrate the concept of inter-relationships
within a natural system.
• To be able to give one example of a small-scale UK
ecosystem, Epping Forest.

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Ecosystems

Discuss, 1 minute:
How would you define an ecosystem?

In your glossary:
A community of plants and animals that
interact with each other and their physical
environment. Ecosystems can be identified at
a range of scales, from local to global.
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Scale
TEMPORAL: Ecosystems can take hundreds, or even
thousands of years to develop.

SPATIAL: Ecosystems exist at a range of scales:


- Local (a ‘habitat’), e.g. a wood
- Regional, e.g. England’s Lake District moorland
- Global (‘biomes’), e.g. Tropical Rainforest
- Earth (some scientists argue that all organisms on
the planet are linked together - James Lovelock’s
‘Gaia Theory’).
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Ecosystems - interrelationships
Important interrelationships exist between the biotic and
abiotic parts of an ecosystem.
In glossary:
Biotic: the living parts of an ecosystem, e.g. plants,
animals, birds, insects.
Abiotic: the non-living parts of an ecosystem, e.g. climate,
soils, bedrock, air (gases).

These include:
Physical linkages, e.g. animals eating plants.
Chemical linkages, e.g. mild acids in rainwater speeds up
the decay of dead leaves. 7
Ecosystems - interrelationships
TASK: Draw a simple diagram of a
tree in the middle of your page.
Add annotations to it to explain a
few interrelationships between
biotic and abiotic components of
the ecosystem.

Suggestions of words to include:


squirrels, nuts, trees, flowers,
shelter, rocks, soil, weathering,
nutrients, water, decomposers,
insects, temperature, sunshine,
rain, photosynthesis, fungi,
bacteria, dead plants & animals 8
REVIEW: Ecosystems - interrelationships

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REVIEW: Ecosystems - interrelationships

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Inputs and Outputs

CHALLENGE:
What are the inputs and outputs to an ecosystem?

Inputs: sunlight, water (precipitation)


Outputs: water (evaporation / surface runoff)

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Nutrient cycling

Plants and animals depend on nutrients in food for their


health and vitality.

Nutrients occur naturally in the environment and are


constantly recycled in every ecosystem.

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Nutrient cycling
TASK: Label each of the nutrient transfers (arrows) on your
copy of this diagram with one of the labels below:

• Release as litter
decomposes
• Uptake by plants
• Loss in runoff
• Fallout as tissues die
• Input dissolved in
rainwater
• Input weathered from
rock
• Loss by leaching 13
REVIEW:

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What is a food web and a food chain?
For each diagram, the arrows always show the direction which energy
(and matter) are flowing within the system.
• Food chain: A simple line diagram which displays the direct links
between different organisms (producers and consumers), in a given
ecosystem, that rely upon each other as their source of food.
e.g. green plant  caterpillar  snake  hawk
• Food web: A complex diagram which displays all of the connections
between producers and consumers, in a given ecosystem, which rely
upon each other as their source of food.
e.g.

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Ecosystem definitions
TASK: Without looking at your glossary, match the definition to the key term:
Key term Definition
Decomposer An organism or plant that is able to absorb energy from the sun and
convert it into sugars (glucose), through photosynthesis.
Food chain An animal that eats only plants (producers), to obtain its energy.
Secondary Consumer A creature that gets its energy by eating herbivores.
(Carnivore)
Producer A creature that gets its energy by eating herbivores and/or plant matter
(producers).
Food web A creature that gets its energy by eating other carnivores. It is at the top of the
food chain.
Top consumer An organism such as a bacterium or fungus, that breaks down dead tissue, which
(predator) is then recycled to the environment.
Omnivore A simple line diagram which displays the direct links between different organisms
(producers and consumers), in a given ecosystem, that rely upon each other as
their source of food.
Primary Consumer A complex diagram which displays all of the connections between producers and
(Herbivore) consumers, in a given ecosystem, which rely upon each other as their source of
food. 16
Ecosystem definitions
REVIEW:
Key term Definition
Producer An organism or plant that is able to absorb energy from the sun and
convert it into sugars (glucose), through photosynthesis.
Primary Consumer An animal that eats only plants (producers), to obtain its energy.
(Herbivore)
Secondary Consumer A creature that gets its energy by eating herbivores.
(Carnivore)
Omnivore A creature that gets its energy by eating herbivores and/or plant matter
(producers).
Top consumer A creature that gets its energy by eating other carnivores. It is at the top of the
(predator) food chain.
Decomposer An organism such as a bacterium or fungus, that breaks down dead tissue, which
is then recycled to the environment.
Food chain A simple line diagram which displays the direct links between different organisms
(producers and consumers), in a given ecosystem, that rely upon each other as
their source of food.
Food web A complex diagram which displays all of the connections between producers and
consumers, in a given ecosystem, which rely upon each other as their source
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food.
Food web for a deciduous woodland
ecosystem

1. Label each layer on your diagram: producers, primary consumers,


secondary consumers and top consumers.
2. Name 1 primary consumer which is not eaten by anything.
3. Which organism has the most varied diet?
4. Which organism is eaten by the most consumers/predators?
5. If the nuthatch population suddenly declined, what might happen to
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the size of the squirrel population and why?
REVIEW: Food web for a deciduous
woodland ecosystem

1. Label the producer, primary consumer, secondary consumers and tertiary


consumers on your diagram.
2. Name 1 primary consumer which is not eaten by anything. nuthatch / squirrel
3. Which organism has the most varied diet? blue tit
4. Which organism is eaten by the most consumers/predators? fruits & nuts /
foliage and bark
5. If the nuthatch population suddenly declined, what might happen to the size
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of the squirrel population and why? increase, because more food available
Example: Epping Forest - Location
TASK: Write down a brief description of the location of Epping
Forest.

After the end of the


last Ice Age, most of
England was covered
in forest. Much of
that forest was then
cut down for timber
and settlement.
Epping Forest is a part
of this original forest. Over the last 1000 years it has been managed
as a hunting ground for royalty, a timber
resources and, nowadays, for recreation. 20
Example: Epping Forest

DISCUSS: What biotic organisms do you think you might find


in this ecosystem? (Write a list) 21
Example: Epping Forest
TASK: Use the food web below to draw out two different
food CHAINS for Epping Forest.

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Characteristics of Epping Forest’s
Ecosystem
TASK: Match the characteristic of Epping Forest’s ecosystem to the
correct explanation for it.
Characteristic Explanation
By spring, leaf litter has all The UK has a seasonal climate: mean monthly
but disappeared from the temperature is 18degC in July but just 5degC in
forest floor. January. Amount of sunlight received changes
throughout the year.
Coppicing (cutting back This allows the trees to maximise photosynthesis
trees) was done in the past. during the summer.
Trees are deciduous (i.e. The allows the trees to conserve energy during the
lose their leaves in winter). winter.
Trees grow broad green Decomposers and detritivores have been working
leaves in spring. hard over the winter converting nutrients from the
leaves into humus in the soil.
Trees shed their leaves in This encourages new growth of wood.
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autumn.
Characteristics of Epping Forest’s
Ecosystem
REVIEW:

Characteristic Explanation
Trees are deciduous (i.e. The UK has a seasonal climate: mean monthly
lose their leaves in winter). temperature is 18degC in July but just 5degC in
January. Amount of sunlight received changes
throughout the year.
Trees grow broad green This allows the trees to maximise photosynthesis
leaves in spring. during the summer.
Trees shed their leaves in The allows the trees to conserve energy during the
autumn. winter.
By spring, leaf litter has all Decomposers and detritivores have been working
but disappeared from the hard over the winter converting nutrients from the
forest floor. leaves into humus in the soil.
Coppicing (cutting back This encourages new growth of wood.
trees) was done in the past. 24
Nutrient Cycling in Epping Forest
The size of each of the circles and
arrows on this diagram shows how
many nutrients are stored
in/moving through that element
of the nutrient cycle.

1. Where are most of the


nutrients being stored in the
Epping Forest ecosystem?
2. Is there much growth of new
biomass each year and how
can you tell?
3. How are the most nutrients
lost from the ecosystem and
during what events is this
most likely to occur? 25
REVIEW: Nutrient Cycling in Epping Forest
The size of each of the circles and arrows
on this diagram shows how many nutrients
are stored in/moving through that element
of the nutrient cycle.
1. Where are most of the nutrients being
stored in the Epping Forest ecosystem?
Biomass (tall trees and dense
undergrowth), then soil (humus)
2. Is there much growth of new biomass
each year and how can you tell? Yes,
arrow from soil store to biomass store
is thick.
3. How are the most nutrients lost from
the ecosystem and during what events
is this most likely to occur? Via
leaching – most likely during episodes
of high rainfall. 26
Review of Learning
‘Describe and explain the features of a small-scale
ecosystem in the UK.’ [4 marks]

Case study: Epping Forest, UK

Aim to write approximately ½ side of A4.

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Review of Learning
‘Describe and explain the features of a small-scale
ecosystem in the UK.’ [4 marks]

Level 1 (Basic) (1-2 marks) Level 2 (Clear) (2-3 marks)


AO1 – Knowledge Shows basic knowledge of Shows accurate knowledge
the features of a small- of the features of a small-
scale ecosystem in the UK. scale ecosystem in the UK.
AO2 - Understanding Basic and simplistic Clear understanding of
understanding of how the how the different
different elements of the elements of the ecosystem
ecosystem work together. work together.

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Homework

1. Print off Living World Specification


2. Using the following weblinks, and your own research,
write approximately 1 side of A4 to describe and explain
the effects of the reintroduction of the grey wolf on the
ecosystem at Yellowstone National Park, USA.

• http://www.yellowstonepark.com/wolf-reintroduction-
changes-ecosystem/ (Read text and watch video)
• http://visityellowstonenationalparkyall.weebly.com/yello
wstones-wildlife.html

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