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1 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Feeding relationships
2 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Food chains and webs
3 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Feeding types Different types of organism can be grouped in several ways. One grouping system is based on how organisms obtain their food. Some organisms produce their own food. They are called producers. Plants produce their own food using light energy from the Sun. Some types of bacteria can also make their own food by using light or chemical reactions. Other organisms cannot make their own food. They are called consumers.
4 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Producer or consumer?
5 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Consumers Consumers can be grouped into different types: Herbivores These consumers eat producers. Carnivores These consumers eat other consumers. Omnivores These consumers eat other consumers and producers. Omnivores eat animals and plants. Most humans are omnivores.
6 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Feeding types
7 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Predator-prey relationships Animals that are high up in food chains, such as the fox, tend to be hunters that are skilled at locating and killing their food. These hunters are called predators. Common prey adaptations include camouflage or the ability to produce poisonous toxins. The animals on which the predator feeds are called their prey. Prey animals tend to be well adapted to avoid the predator.
8 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Prey population changes The relationship between predator and prey population numbers in a food web is very close and follows a cyclical pattern. This means that it rises and falls in a fairly regular cycle. Why is this? Individual rabbits must compete for food and mates, and must also avoid being killed by their predators, the foxes. The rabbit population changes due to both the vegetation growing season and changes in the fox population.
9 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Predator population changes The fox population also follows a cyclical pattern very similar to the rabbit population. Why is this? The fox is very dependent on rabbits for food, so as the rabbit population changes so does the fox population. This is why the fox population rises and falls slightly after the rise and fall of the rabbit population. How do cyclical rises and falls in population numbers affect the organisms in a larger food web?
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11 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Food chains – who eats what? Can you see a food chain in this habitat?
12 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Food chains A food chain is a sequence that shows how each individual feeds on the organism below it in the chain. Each arrow means ‘eaten by’. caterpillarleafbirdfox What does this food chain show? A leaf is eaten by a caterpillar, which is then eaten by a bird, which is then eaten by a fox. Energy is transferred from one organism to another in the direction of the arrow.
13 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Food chains – draw your own Draw your own food chains based on the following guidelines: A food chain from a forest habitat. A food chain from an ocean habitat. A food chain with four organisms in it. A food chain that ends with you! Use arrows ( ) to show the transfer of energy between the organisms that you choose.
14 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 An Antarctic food chain
15 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Producer, herbivore or carnivore? What are the feeding types of the animals in this food chain? From a food chain, we can tell if an organism is a producer, a herbivore or a carnivore. If the producer is a plant, only a small part of it might be involved in the food chain, such as its seeds, fruits, leaves or even dead leaves. Food chains always start with a producer. snailleafbirdowl
16 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Name that feeding type
17 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Ranking consumers Consumers eat plants or animals, or both. A food chain can be used to rank different types of consumers. Producers – make their own food. Primary consumers – eat producers. Secondary consumers – eat primary consumers. Tertiary consumers – eat secondary consumers. producerprimary consumer secondary consumer tertiary consumer seaweedlimpetcrabhuman
18 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Primary, secondary or tertiary?
19 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 What is a food web? Why is it a good idea for an organism to have different sources of food? Animals usually eat many different things and are involved in lots of different food chains: These food chains can be put together in a food web, which shows how the food chains are connected. What would the food web for these food chains look like? plantsowlaphidblue titladybird plantsmothowlblue tit plantsvolestoat plantsvoleowl
20 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Food webs bluetit owl chiffchaff stoat vole plant aphid ladybird moth spider
21 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Using a food web 1. Name the producer in this food web. 2. Name two herbivores in this food web. 3. Name two species that are top carnivores. 4. How many secondary consumers are there? 5. Which food chains include the moth?
22 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Build a food web
23 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Changes in the food chain Nearly every species of animal is dependent on a number of other species for survival – this is called interdependence. Currently human activity is damaging the natural habitats of many animals. If the population of a species declines dramatically how might this affect the other species that depend upon it? This will not only affect the animals in the area, but it could have far-reaching effects on the rest of the species in the food web.
24 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Changes in a food web
25 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Food chain populations
26 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Biomass
27 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Food for energy Why do organisms need to feed? Most animals get their energy from food. If the producers at the bottom of the food chain are small organisms, then the consumers at the top of chain need to eat many of them to gain enough energy. Much of the energy that prey generate is lost on a daily basis through heat, growth and waste. Very little energy is actually transferred to the predator.
28 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 What can a pyramid of numbers show about energy transfer? Food chains and pyramids
29 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Pyramids of numbers only give an accurate impression of the flow of energy in a food chain if the organisms are of similar size. Measuring the biomass (living material that makes up all organisms) at each level in the food chain can give a more accurate picture. Pyramids of numbers are a numerical way of representing food chains. What are the problems of representing food chains in pyramids of numbers? They record the number of organisms at each level in the food chain. What are pyramids of numbers?
30 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Numbers or biomass?
31 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 In a pyramid of numbers, the length of each bar represents the number of organisms at each level in the food chain. As a single tree can support many organisms, this food chain produces an unbalanced pyramid. Understanding pyramids of numbers
32 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Understanding pyramids of biomass In a pyramid of biomass, the length of each bar represents the biomass at each level of the food chain. At each level, the amount of biomass and energy available is reduced, giving a pyramid shape.
33 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Death benefits? When animals and plants die, they are decomposed by microbes. In this way, the nutrients that were stored in animals and plants are eventually returned to the soil. As the number of producers increases, how will this affect the populations of organisms higher up in the food chain? The nutrients fertilize the soil, helping producers, such as plants, to grow better.
34 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Food chains and pyramids
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36 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Glossary
37 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Anagrams
38 of 38© Boardworks Ltd 2008 Multiple-choice quiz
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