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ZingPath: Cell Division

Identifying Cancerous Cells

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Cell Division

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Lesson Focus

Identifying Cancerous Cells

Life Science

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You will take part in a simulation that studies the effect that biotic factors and abiotic factors have on a specific ecosystem.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Define abiotic factors as nonliving things such as the Sun and water.
  • Explain that all living organisms in a food chain need the appropriate amount of abiotic factors in order to survive.
  • Explain how a change in an ecosystem can affect a food chain.

Everything You'll Have Covered

Every organism needs to obtain energy in order to live. That is why the energy flow from a producer to a consumer is essential for balance within an ecosystem. This allows organisms the ability to receive the energy needed though various processes, to help them move and grow as well as reproduce and thrive. This course demands a balance between producer and consumer, which are then paired with abiotic factors such as Sun and water to ensure healthy growth within the habitat as a whole. A minor change of any one of these factors can upset the balance and even endanger an entire species.

An ecosystem is a natural unit consisting of all the plants and animals in a given area that function together as a whole. In a given ecosystem, there are primarily two parts that make up this habitat. The first part is known as biotic factors or living organisms. These factors fall at different parts of the food chain based on the level at which they produce or consume other organisms for energy. The other part of the ecosystem is made up of abiotic factors, or nonliving chemical and physical components. Both abiotic and biotic factors must be present and remain within acceptable ranges to ensure survival of all of the organisms.

A food chain depicts the necessary links that organisms follow. For example, the bottom of the food chain consists of abiotic factors such as Sun, water, wind, etc. These factors are the basic foundation for the next level of the food chain. Found at this level are such organisms as plants. These organisms have the ability to create their energy and food source using the intensity of the Sun or other abiotic factors. Therefore, plants are considered to be producers given that they can create their own food using nonliving organisms to survive. The next level of the food chain is based on primary consumers. This level utilizes the nourishment found in the plant and transfers it into energy so that they may grow and reproduce. These consumers are known as herbivores because they only eat plants. Examples of primary consumers are rabbits, sheep, deer, cattle, etc. Secondary consumers create the next level in the food chain and feed on the primary consumers. These meat-eating animals are known as carnivores. Examples of secondary consumer carnivores are tigers, eagles, sharks, etc. Another type of a secondary consumer is known as an omnivore. Humans are an example of this type of consumer because we eat both animals and plants.

Through this food chain network, energy is passed from the producer to the primary consumer, and then finally to the secondary consumer. As the energy is transferred from one organism to the next, about 90% of the energy gets lost in the transfer. Therefore, animals at the top of the food chain need a lot more food to meet their energy needs.

To connect food chains across a vast spectrum, a more complex network of energy transference is known as a food web. A food web shows the extension of a food chain over several different species rather than a simple linear path of producers and consumers. This food web consists of several interconnecting food chains that pass energy and materials within an entire ecosystem.

In conclusion, energy flow gives organisms the ability to grow and thrive within a given ecosystem, but the flow relies solely on the abiotic and biotic factors to create balance within the system. As animals maintain their energy through the chain, their environment requires minimal change to provide maximum energy transference.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 20 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be familiar with ecosystems and graphs.
Course Life Science
Type of Tutorial Concept Development
Key Vocabulary abiotic, bald eagle, biotic