Reconstructing the past
Students are introduced the arid zone by constructing a food web and pyramid to represent the pre-European ecosystem. Students learn that ecosystems can be represented in different ways, and that there are different kinds of relationships between species, including a variety of symbiotic relationships and predation. Using a food pyramid model as well as a food web model illustrates the approximate ratios of species in different trophic levels.
VCE Biology (2016-2020)
Unit 1, Area of Study 2, Outcome 2, VCE Biology Study Design
VCE Key knowledge
Relationships between organisms within an ecosystem
- Interdependencies between species as represented by food webs, including impact of changes to keystone species
- The beneficial, harmful and benign relationships between species including amensalism, commensalism, mutualism, parasitism and predation
Student learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will:
- Construct food webs and food pyramids as ways to represent relationships in an ecosystem
- Describe how energy flows through an ecosystem and is represented by trophic levels
- Identify and describe a range symbiotic and predatory relationships between species
Step 1: pre-European
Watch short film on arid zone ecosystem.
Step 2: food web refresher
Look at example food web.
Step 3: reconstructing the food web
Reconstruct a food web for the arid zone as it would have looked pre-European colonisation.
Step 4: helping each other
Watch film on symbiosis, write definitions in books, identify and annotate examples in your food web.
Step 5: eating each other
Watch film on predation, define terms in books, identify and annotate examples in your food web.
Arid Zone Map
This video by Professor Chris Dickman introduces students to the arid zone
This video explores symbiosis and the various interactions (mutualism, parasitism and commensalism) between organisms
This video describes predation and the many ways prey organisms have developed to avoid it
Next activity: Activity 2