We have finished our symbiosis project. This week they will complete some graded papers on symbiosis and on producers and consumers. We will begin food chains and food webs by the end of the week.
Symbiosis is a long term relationship betwen species. (Don't let your child use the non-science definition that symbiosis is good for all parties.)
There are three types of symbiosis.
This first is parasitism. In this one is helped by the relationship and one is harmed. A good example is dogs and fleas.
The second type is commensalism, where one benefits and the other is unaffected. This is true when a yellow spider hides on a yellow flower. The flower is unaffected but the spider benefits because the relaitionship allows it to catch prey unobserved.
The final type of symbiosis is mutualism, which means both parties benefit. A good example is a bee getting nector from a flower, good for the bee and good for the flower as the bee pollinates them.
Vocabulary for this unit:
Ecosystem: a place where living, once-living and non-living organisms interact
Population: is all the same species...the population of pine trees in my yard is 3. The population of blue jays is 12, etc.
Community: All the species together that live in an area. My backyard is a community of grass, maple trees, oak trees, pine trees, chipmunks, snakes, mice, squirrels, etc. All are living together in one community.
Biotic: living or once-living things (bio means living)
Abiotic: non-living, never been alive (the prefix A means not)
Niche: the location and job of a species in it's environment. Example a blue jay eats flying insects and a woodpecker eats insects under bark. A slightly different niche.
Habitat: a home that provides food, water, shelter, space and air
Adaptations: a structure or behavior that lets animals survive in their environment Example of structure: a saguero cactus has spines to protect it from predatore. Example of behavior: a bear hibernates in the winter to allow it to surive with limited food resources
Producers : green plants that can make their own food
Photosynthesis: the process that green plants use to turn the sun's energy into food
Consumer: Organisms that obtain energy by eating other organisms
Decomposer: a consumer that feeds on the wast of living organisms and on dead. decaying plants and animals
Carnivore: A consumer that eats only meat
Omnivore: A consumer that eats plants and animals
Herbivore: A consumer that only eats plants