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ZingPath: Interactions Among Organisms

Predation in Ecosystems

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Interactions Among Organisms

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Lesson Focus

Predation in Ecosystems

Life Science

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You will learn about predation in marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems.

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Now You Know

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

  • Describe predator/prey relationships as they occur in food webs within marine ecosystems.
  • Describe predator/prey relationships as they occur in food webs within freshwater ecosystems.
  • Describe predator/prey relationships as they occur in food webs within terrestrial ecosystems.

Everything You'll Have Covered

Food chains and food webs describe the series of events that occur when one organism consumes another to survive. An organism in a food web may be connected to many other organisms. For example, a cow might be food for humans, but it might also be food for bacteria and flies. In a food chain or web, the cow would be connected to humans, bacteria, and flies.

Every food chain or web has producers and consumers. Plants are the producers in an ecosystem. Plants make their own food through photosynthesis.

There are three types of consumers: herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. Herbivores are animals that eat only plants. Carnivores are animals that eat other animals. Omnivores eat both plants and animals. Humans are omnivores.

Predators are organisms that eat other organisms. The organisms they eat are called prey. Lions and zebras have a predator/prey relationship, so do bears and fish, and foxes and rabbits. Predators evolve, or change, over time to be more successful hunters. For example, they might develop better speed, eyesight, or hearing. Prey also evolves to better escape predators. They might develop better camouflage, poison, or keen senses.

Three main ecosystems exist on Earth. Since oceans make up the largest portion of the Earth's surface, marine ecosystems dominate. A marine ecosystem includes all living organisms in an ocean environment. This includes oceans, coral reefs, estuaries, and kelp beds. Marine ecosystems are home to many species including algae, marine mammals, and fish.

Freshwater ecosystems include all living organisms in a freshwater environment. This includes rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, and wetlands. Freshwater ecosystems include many mammals, insects, plants, and fish.

Terrestrial ecosystems include all living things on land. Included in terrestrial ecosystems are forests, grasslands, deserts, and mountains. Twenty-eight percent of the earth is made up of terrestrial ecosystems, which are home to birds, mammals, insects, and plants.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 3 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should understand the concepts of ecosystems and symbiosis.
Course Life Science
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary freshwater ecosystems, marine ecosystems, parasite, parasitism, predator, terrestrial ecosystems