Ecology – Junior Cert Science

Ecology – Junior Cert Science

  • Ecology is the study of the relationships of living things with one another and their environment.
  • A habitat is a place where a plant or animal lives, e.g. woodland or rocky seashore.
  • The environment is everything surrounding an organism.
  • A food chain is a chain showing how organisms are linked by what they eat. Solar energy is transferred through a food chain.
  • Producers are organisms that make their own food, e.g. green plants.
  • Consumers are all organisms other than producers.
  • Decomposers are organisms that feed on dead animals or plants.
  • The feeding level is the position of a particular organism in a food chain. Producers are at the first feeding level.
  • A food web is a number of intersected food chains.

Competition

  • Competition is where organisms compete for a resource that is in short supply.
  • Plants compete for light and water, animals compete for shelter and mates.

Interdependence

  • Interdependence is when organisms depend on each other for food or another resource.
  • Insects rely on plants for food and the plant relies on the insect for pollination.

Adaptation

  • Adaptation is when an organism changes in order to be better suited to survive in its habitat.
  • Thrushes have sharp, pointed beaks, allowing them to pick up snails.
  • Dandelion’s roots have adapted to take water from a deeper level than grass roots.

Habitat Study

  • pooter is used to collect insects. It consists of a jar with 2 tubes, one of which is covered in gauze to prevent insects being swallowed.
  • pitfall trap is a jar which is placed into a hole in the ground and then covered with a rock (which is raised slightly off the ground). It is used to collect small crawling insects.<
  • beating tray is placed under a tree, etc. to collect organisms that fall out of it.
  • quadrat is used to measure the frequency of a certain plant in a habitat. It is thrown randomly a number of times and the number and types of plant in the quadrat is recorded each time. This data can then be used to calculate the frequency with which a certain plant appears.
  • line transect is used to record how a species is distributed accross a certain area. An example is a rope with knots every 1 metre – the type & height of plant under each knot is recorded.
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