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Environmental Variations

In this worksheet, students will learn about the different types of environments and how the organisms that live in them are suitably adapted.

'Environmental Variations' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:   Biology: Interactions and Interdependencies

Curriculum subtopic:   Relationships in an Ecosystem

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

A number of changes take place in the environment and these affect organisms that live there.  Changes can be daily (see day and night picture) or seasonal. Organisms adapt to these changes to ensure their survival.

 

Day and night

 

 

Daily changes

 

Flowers give off smells to attract the animals that pollinate them. Some flowers are nocturnal, which means they open at night. This is because the animals that pollinate them are active during the night. Some animals are also nocturnal, because they have to avoid being seen and eaten during the day!  Others hunt at night, because the animals they eat are active at night! Nocturnal animals are adapted to have excellent eyesight and/or hearing.

 

Seashore organisms are adapted to tides (see picture).  Sea anemones, for example, use tentacles to feed underwater, whereas when the tide goes out, they pull their tentacles in to stop them drying out.

 

NarbourRock pool with anenomes

 

 

Seasonal changes

 

In winter, deciduous trees lose their leaves, as there is not much light for photosynthesis and a lot of water is lost through leaves. This water cannot be replaced if the water in the ground is frozen. Evergreen trees have tougher leaves that do not lose that much water. They keep their leaves all year round, so they can start photosynthesis as soon as there is enough liquid water and light. These trees usually grow in places with short summers.

 

Some plants die completely in the winter. Their seeds grow into new plants in spring. Other plants die just above the ground, whereas their bulbs below ground are ready to grow again as soon as the weather is warmer.

 

Animals also adapt to life during winter. Some grow longer fur to keep warm. Some change their fur colour into white, so they are better camouflaged in snowy environments; a bird called the ptarmigan even grows feathers on its feet to walk better in the snow!  Others collect and store food so they can eat during the winter when food is not available easily. Furthermore, some animals eat a lot in the autumn and sleep during the winter, waking up in spring, when there is more food available. This is called hibernation (see cartoon). Finally, some organisms just migrate to warmer climates, like some species of geese.

 


Hibernating bear

 

Let's explore further how these variations in their environment affect the organisms that live there.

Complete this sentence:

 

The environmental changes that take place during the year are called ____________ changes.

What are animals that are active during the night called?

Why are some animals nocturnal?

Tick two possible reasons.

They hunt animals that are also nocturnal.

They pollinate at night.

They hide better in the dark to avoid being eaten.

They have excellent eyesight.

Give two adaptations for nocturnal animals.

excellent eyesight

excellent hearing

thick fur

spines for leaves

What do sea anemones use to feed?

Is this statement true or false?

 

Deciduous trees keep their leaves on during winter.

true

false

Why is there not much water during winter?

because it does not rain

because it evaporates into the atmosphere

because it is frozen in the ground

How do some plants grow next spring if they die during the winter?

 

Tick two answers.

They are evergreen.

Their seeds grow next spring.

Their bulbs underground are still alive.

They lose their leaves.

Tick two adaptations for animals in the winter.

pollinate at night

grow longer fur to keep warm

change their feathers into grey

hibernate to reserve energy when there is not enough food available

Why do some organisms migrate to warmer climates before winter?

to survive where there is more warmth and available food

to change scenery

to meet new organisms

  • Question 1

Complete this sentence:

 

The environmental changes that take place during the year are called ____________ changes.

CORRECT ANSWER
seasonal
EDDIE SAYS
Seasonal changes take place during the year, like preparing for winter or making sure there are lots of flowers for busy insects to pollinate in the summer.
  • Question 2

What are animals that are active during the night called?

CORRECT ANSWER
nocturnal
nocturnal animals
EDDIE SAYS
Nocturnal animals are active during the night; it comes from the Latin word "nocturnalis" meaninf 'belonging to the night' and such animals are specially adapted to their nightly activities.
  • Question 3

Why are some animals nocturnal?

Tick two possible reasons.

CORRECT ANSWER
They hunt animals that are also nocturnal.
They hide better in the dark to avoid being eaten.
EDDIE SAYS
Some animals are nocturnal, because they hunt animals that are also nocturnal or hide better in the dark while feeding themselves.
  • Question 4

Give two adaptations for nocturnal animals.

CORRECT ANSWER
excellent eyesight
excellent hearing
EDDIE SAYS
Nocturnal animals often have excellent eyesight and hearing (such as a barn owl) which ensures that the hunters have a good chance of locating their prey and the hunted a chance of escaping!
  • Question 5

What do sea anemones use to feed?

CORRECT ANSWER
tentacles
EDDIE SAYS
Sea anemones use their tentacles to feed underwater. The tentacles have tiny stinging cells in them which paralyse other small animals which can then be drawn into the anenome's mouth.
  • Question 6

Is this statement true or false?

 

Deciduous trees keep their leaves on during winter.

CORRECT ANSWER
false
EDDIE SAYS
This is false; deciduous trees lose their leaves during winter. This is so that they don't freeze up (leaves are mostly water) and so they don't provide a lot of resistance to gale-force winds.
  • Question 7

Why is there not much water during winter?

CORRECT ANSWER
because it is frozen in the ground
EDDIE SAYS
Plants may not be able to find liquid water during the winter, because it is frozen in the ground.
  • Question 8

How do some plants grow next spring if they die during the winter?

 

Tick two answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
Their seeds grow next spring.
Their bulbs underground are still alive.
EDDIE SAYS
Some plants die during winter, but their seeds grow next spring. Others die only above the ground, while their bulbs underground are still alive.
  • Question 9

Tick two adaptations for animals in the winter.

CORRECT ANSWER
grow longer fur to keep warm
hibernate to reserve energy when there is not enough food available
EDDIE SAYS
Some animals grow longer fur during the winter to keep warm, like red squirrels, and others hibernate to save energy, like dormice.
  • Question 10

Why do some organisms migrate to warmer climates before winter?

CORRECT ANSWER
to survive where there is more warmth and available food
EDDIE SAYS
Some organisms migrate before the winter in order to survive where there is more warmth and available food. So, pink-footed geese arrive in Britain from the Arctic just when it's getting really cold in the north. The warmer climate of the British Isles means that they can survive the winter better here. Swallows, on the other hand, fly to Africa for precisely the same reason, but they like warmer holidays!
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