Changes to Ecosystems
by Jessica Villalobos
| 8 Questions
Analyze the food web of the Kelp Forest Ecosystem above. Predict what would happen in the ecosystem if the number of otters decreased or the population disappeared. What will happen to each of the other organisms in the ecosystem?
Watch Otters, Urchins, and Kelp . Does the information in the video support your prediction? Why or why not?
Still referring to the video, is a change to the number of otters considered a change to a living or non-living factor? Explain.
Still referring to the video, imagine what would happen if the number of another organism in this ecosystem decreased. Describe the effect you think this would have on the ecosystem.
Decrease in Arctic Sea Ice Sea ice forms and melts in sea water, as opposed to land-based ice such as glaciers. Sea ice begins to form when water temperature dips just below freezing, at around -1.8°C (or 28.8°F). It grows into small sheets that look like pancakes, and eventually merge together to form large sheets that can span miles. Here are two important facts about sea ice you will need for the following question:
  1. Temperature in the Arctic has increased at twice the rate as the rest of the globe, and the region is expected to increase an additional 8°C (14°F) in the 21st century.
  2. As a result, satellite data show that since the late 1970s, the amount of Arctic sea ice has decreased by about 12% per decade (every 10 years)
Using the information above, how does decreasing the sea ice affect the arctic ecosystem?
How does decreasing the sea ice affect organisms that are high up in the food chain, such as polar bears?
A decrease in the amount of sea ice in the Arctic leads to a decrease in the amount of ice algae, which grow in the ice.
Using this information and the food web above, predict what would happen if the sea ice and ice algae continues to decrease.
Is a change in sea ice considered a change to a living or non-living factor in the ecosystem? Explain.
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