|The concepts developed in this standard
include the following:
∑ Organisms have structural adaptations or physical attributes that help
them meet a life need.
∑ Organisms also have behavioral adaptations, or certain types of activities
they perform, which help them meet a life need.
∑ The organization of communities is based on the utilization of the
energy from the sun within a given ecosystem. The greatest amount of energy in a
community is in the producers.
∑ Within a community, organisms are dependent on the survival of other
organisms. Energy is passed from one organism to another.
∑ The organization of a community is defined by the interrelated niches
∑ The sunís energy cycles through ecosystems from producers through
consumers and back into the nutrient pool through decomposers.
∑ An organismís habitat provides food, water, shelter, and space. The size
of the habitat depends on the organismís needs.
∑ A niche is the function that an organism performs in the food web of that
community. A niche also includes everything else the organism does and needs
in its environment. No two types of organisms occupy the exact same niche in
∑ During its life cycle, an organismís role in the community, its niche, may
change. For example, what an animal eats, what eats it, and other
relationships will change.
∑ Humans can have a major impact on ecosystems.
∑ Habitat is the place or kind of place in which an animal or plant
|∑ Organisms have structural adaptations or
physical attributes that help them meet a life need.
∑ Organisms also have behavioral adaptations, or certain types of
activities they perform, which help them meet a life need.
Structural and Behavioral
All organisms have adaptations that help them survive and
thrive. Some adaptations are structural.
Structural adaptations are physical features of an
organism like the bill on a bird or the fur on a bear. Other
adaptations are behavioral. Behavioral adaptations
are the things organisms do to survive. For example,
bird calls and migration are behavioral adaptations.
Adaptations are the result
Evolution is a change in a species over long periods of
time. Adaptations usually occur because a gene mutates
or changes by accident! Some mutations can help an animal or
plant survive better than others in the species without the
example, imagine a bird species. One day a bird is born with
a beak that is longer than the beak of other birds in the
species. The longer beak helps the bird catch more food.
Because the bird can catch more food, it is healthier than
the other birds, lives longer and breeds more. The bird
passes the gene for a longer beak on to its offspring. They
also live longer and have more offspring and the gene
continues to be inherited generation after generation.
Eventually the longer beak can be found in all of the
species. This doesn't happen overnight. It takes thousands
of years for a mutation to be found in an entire species.
Over time, animals that
are better adapted to their environment survive and breed.
Animals that are not well adapted to an environment may not
The characteristics that
help a species survive in an environment are passed on to
future generations. Those characteristics that don't help
the species survive slowly disappear.
look at how adaptations work! A camel lives in the hot, dry
desert. Winds blow sand all around, so a camel has long
eyelashes. It has nostrils that can open and close. The long
eyelashes keep sand out of its eyes. Its nostrils can close
so it doesn't get sand up its nose. These are two
adaptations that a camel has that help it live in the dry,
polar bear lives in the cold, snowy Arctic lands. It is
white. This helps it blend in with the snow and ice that are
found there. It is has a layer of fat under its skin. This
helps it stay warm. It has very wide, large paws. Wide,
large paws help it walk in the snow. These are three
adaptations a polar bear has to its Arctic environment.
is the way an organism acts or behaves to stay alive. For
example if the American Wigeon cannot find enough food, it
will steal food right out of the bill of an American Coot,
or a Snowy Egret will stand still in the water with its
wings stretched out, because fish are attracted to the
shade. These are ways of behaving.