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What Lives Where and Why

In this worksheet, students will be able to review their understanding of why certain organisms are found in particular habitats and how they adapt to their surroundings in order to be successful there.

'What Lives Where and Why' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Evolution and Inheritance

Curriculum subtopic:  Adaptation

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

All over the UK, and indeed all over the world, there are lots and lots of different habitats, each containing their own set of organisms: woodland, seashore, fields, mountainside, etc..

 

Woodland Seashore Field Mountain

 

Do the organisms choose where to live? Do they adapt to their habitat and, if so, how? What sort of factors influence the kinds of organism that live there?

 

The object of this worksheet is to explore questions like these and see what sorts of factors are involved in the distribution of different organisms.

If you visit a rocky seashore you may be able to spend a fun hour or so exploring the rock pools there and looking at the organisms living in them.

 

 

Here is a list of organisms that you might find in a rock pool - you have to pick out the one that you would NOT find living there.

limpet

earthworm

crab

bladder wrack

Here is a list of environmental factors which might have determined why you would never find that organism (the one you chose in Q1) in a rock pool. Tick TWO from the list that you think would make it impossible for it to live there.

saltiness (salinity)

temperature

light

daylength

amount of water

Here is a list of organisms:

  • fox
  • holly
  • blue tit
  • ground beetle
  • spider
  • bramble
  • bluebell

 

Which ONE of the following habitats would you be likely to find them all living in?

woodland

sea

mountaintop

field

Pond in woodland

 

In a patch of woodland there is a pond. There are a number of organisms that ONLY live in the pond and also some that ONLY live in the wood. Some spend time in both.

In the list below drag WOOD, POND or BOTH next to each organism according to where you think it can live.

Column A

Column B

oak tree
POND
bulrush
WOOD
frog
WOOD
robin
BOTH
dragonfly
BOTH
badger
WOOD
duckweed
POND
centipede
WOOD

Here is a picture of a diving beetle that lives in the pond:

 

Diving beetle

 

Which ONE of the following do you think is an ADAPTATION to its life in a pond, showing that it is designed for the habitat in which it lives?

hairs on its legs

abdomen divided into segments

hard exoskeleton

Here is a list of organisms which might live in the pond - predict which ONE is likely to stay on the surface of the water.

duckweed

stickleback

pond snail

dragonfly nymph

Bluebell

 

In the woodland that surrounds the pond lives a whole community of plants and animals. One of them is the bluebell. Bluebells flower early in the year, much earlier than many other flowers.

 

Pick from the list what you think is the most likely reason for this.

blue shows up better in woodland compared to other colours

more people walk in the woods in summer and will pick the flowers

they flower before the leaves are fully open on the trees, which make the wood darker

Grey squirrel

 

Grey squirrels are one of the mammals that live in the wood. They are adapted to living in the trees.

 

From the list below choose TWO adaptations you think are used by squirrels to help them live amongst the trees.

sharp claws

long fluffy tail

grey colour

heavier than a red squirrel

A number of different mammals have adapted to life in the Arctic.

 

From the list choose TWO environmental factors that you think they have had to adapt to.

freezing temperatures

bright sunshine

snow and ice on the ground

changing tides

varying oxygen levels

Mammals that live in the desert have a completely different set of conditions that they have to adapt to, including high temperatures, lack of water as well as sandstorms.

 

Here is a list of adaptations that one of the desert-living mammals has evolved to cope with these conditions:

 

  • splayed-out wide feet for moving on soft sand
  • can drink many litres of water in one go
  • large eyelashes to protect the eyes from flying grains of sand
  • store quantities of fat for food

 

Having looked at this list which mammal below do you think is adapted in this way?

meerkat

ostrich

fennec fox

camel

scorpion

  • Question 1

If you visit a rocky seashore you may be able to spend a fun hour or so exploring the rock pools there and looking at the organisms living in them.

 

 

Here is a list of organisms that you might find in a rock pool - you have to pick out the one that you would NOT find living there.

CORRECT ANSWER
earthworm
EDDIE SAYS
Well that wasn't too hard to start off with! Earthworms are soil-dwellers and, although they might be able to burrow into sand, the salt would kill them. Also, in a rock pool the sand is underwater, so they'd drown.
The limpet is a shelled animal (mollusc) living on the rocks, the crab will often be found in rock pools and bladder wrack is a common seaweed you will find there (with air bubble things on it!).
  • Question 2

Here is a list of environmental factors which might have determined why you would never find that organism (the one you chose in Q1) in a rock pool. Tick TWO from the list that you think would make it impossible for it to live there.

CORRECT ANSWER
saltiness (salinity)
amount of water
EDDIE SAYS
The temperature of the rock pool, how much light there is and how long the day lasts probably won't have affected the earthworm any more than they would do in your garden. However, it is not designed to cope with a salty environment and there would be too much water, so it would drown.
  • Question 3

Here is a list of organisms:

  • fox
  • holly
  • blue tit
  • ground beetle
  • spider
  • bramble
  • bluebell

 

Which ONE of the following habitats would you be likely to find them all living in?

CORRECT ANSWER
woodland
EDDIE SAYS
Well, the sea is obviously not the answer as none of these organisms would survive living under water, and whilst SOME of them might commonly be found on a mountaintop or in a field, only woodland could support them all.
  • Question 4

Pond in woodland

 

In a patch of woodland there is a pond. There are a number of organisms that ONLY live in the pond and also some that ONLY live in the wood. Some spend time in both.

In the list below drag WOOD, POND or BOTH next to each organism according to where you think it can live.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

oak tree
WOOD
bulrush
POND
frog
BOTH
robin
WOOD
dragonfly
BOTH
badger
WOOD
duckweed
POND
centipede
WOOD
EDDIE SAYS
OK, how many surprises? Frog - yes, it goes to breed in the pond but it spends most of the time in cool damp places in the wood or marshy places near to the pond. The dragonfly hunts for insects both around the pond and throughout the wood. Otherwise, hopefully that was quite straightforward.
  • Question 5

Here is a picture of a diving beetle that lives in the pond:

 

Diving beetle

 

Which ONE of the following do you think is an ADAPTATION to its life in a pond, showing that it is designed for the habitat in which it lives?

CORRECT ANSWER
hairs on its legs
EDDIE SAYS
The hairs help the beetle to swim more effectively by increasing the area with which the legs push against the water - like having webbed feet. The segmented abdomen and exoskeleton are features of all the arthropods.
  • Question 6

Here is a list of organisms which might live in the pond - predict which ONE is likely to stay on the surface of the water.

CORRECT ANSWER
duckweed
EDDIE SAYS
OK, so let\'s say you don\'t know much about pondlife - how are you going to approach this question? The answer is an organism that has to stay near the surface. Could that be a plant - they have to have good light to make their food and that won\'t happen near the bottom? Yes, the answer is duckweed, the little plant that often covers the surface of ponds. The others live at lower levels in the pond, the dragonfly nymph hunting for prey on the bottom.
  • Question 7

Bluebell

 

In the woodland that surrounds the pond lives a whole community of plants and animals. One of them is the bluebell. Bluebells flower early in the year, much earlier than many other flowers.

 

Pick from the list what you think is the most likely reason for this.

CORRECT ANSWER
they flower before the leaves are fully open on the trees, which make the wood darker
EDDIE SAYS
Bit of a toughie! In fact bluebells are adapted to flower early before the wood darkens as all the leaves spread out and block the light - the flowers use that early light to advertise to the insects that are out in the spring. Does blue show up better? White and yellow are probably more noticeable in a wood and, to be honest, plants won't have adapted to the possibility of people picking them, say by flowering earlier.
  • Question 8

Grey squirrel

 

Grey squirrels are one of the mammals that live in the wood. They are adapted to living in the trees.

 

From the list below choose TWO adaptations you think are used by squirrels to help them live amongst the trees.

CORRECT ANSWER
sharp claws
long fluffy tail
EDDIE SAYS
Life in the trees (properly called an ARBOREAL LIFE) means that the animal must be able to balance well (that's the tail) and grip the bark as it runs up and down and along branches (that's the sharp claws). The grey colour isn't an especial advantage (consider red squirrels) and being heavier is a disadvantage as they are slower and cannot get on to thin branches to escape predators like a pine marten.
  • Question 9

A number of different mammals have adapted to life in the Arctic.

 

From the list choose TWO environmental factors that you think they have had to adapt to.

CORRECT ANSWER
freezing temperatures
snow and ice on the ground
EDDIE SAYS
The Arctic is all about adapting to punishingly cold temperatures (sometimes below minus 60°C) and blending in with the snow (white camouflage) amongst other things. There is bright sunshine in the summer, when it is daylight for 24 hours, but no more so than other parts of the globe. Tides change and oxygen levels vary (a little) pretty much everywhere, so not an especial Arctic problem.
  • Question 10

Mammals that live in the desert have a completely different set of conditions that they have to adapt to, including high temperatures, lack of water as well as sandstorms.

 

Here is a list of adaptations that one of the desert-living mammals has evolved to cope with these conditions:

 

  • splayed-out wide feet for moving on soft sand
  • can drink many litres of water in one go
  • large eyelashes to protect the eyes from flying grains of sand
  • store quantities of fat for food

 

Having looked at this list which mammal below do you think is adapted in this way?

CORRECT ANSWER
camel
EDDIE SAYS
OK, so that's two out straight away: the question asks you to choose a mammal, but the ostrich is a bird and the scorpion's an arthropod. The big clue is in the amount of water that can be drunk - both the meerkat and the fennec fox are quite small whereas the camel is a large mammal. That also means its weight needs to the spread out on wide feet. Its hump is where it stores the fat for long journeys.
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