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ZingPath: Environmental Change

The Effects of Natural Disasters on Ecosystems

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Environmental Change

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Lesson Focus

The Effects of Natural Disasters on Ecosystems


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You get to learn about the effects that humans have on the environment, as well as the effects, such as species diversity, that natural disasters have on communities and ecosystems.

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Now You Know

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

  • Define ecosystem.
  • Give examples of natural disasters that affect ecosystems.
  • Explain how earthquakes affect ecosystems.
  • Explain how volcanic eruptions affect ecosystems.
  • Explain how storms, lightning, and floods affect ecosystems.

Everything You'll Have Covered

How might an earthquake affect an ecosystem?

~ An earthquake may cause land masses to rise out of, or sink into, water. When a land mass rises out of the water, the aquatic plants and animals that once lived there will no longer exist. When a land mass sinks, it becomes covered with water and is transformed into an aquatic ecosystem.

What effect might a volcano have on an ecosystem?

~ When a volcano erupts, the liquid magma that is expelled can destroy all plant and animal life in its path. An erupting volcano also releases ash clouds that can prevent sunlight from reaching the plants that depend on it to survive. Once liquid magma has cooled, it forms a rocky land surface that is inhospitable for most forms of life.

In what way could lightening affect an ecosystem?

~ Lightning strikes may cause fires that can destroy plant life. As a result, animals that depend on plant life may suffer as well.

How can floods hurt an ecosystem?

~ Flooding may cause soil to be transferred from one area to another. Soil that is moved from one region to another because of a flood may have a serious impact on the ecosystem it is moved to.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be familiar with earthquake, ecosystem, and ecosystem changes.
Course Biology
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary earthquake, ecosystem, ecosystem changes