Ecosystems & Biodiversity

Ecosystems & Biodiversity

Did you know that coral reefs have been referred to as “the rainforests of the sea”, ponds are home to some of the rarest species in the entire world, and thriving ecosystems can be found in densely populated urban landscapes? These are some of the aspects of life on this incredible planet that we will explore in the wonderful (and sometimes wacky!!) world of nature!

The word Ecosystem can be defined as:

A geographic area where plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather and landscapes, work together to form a bubble of life. Ecosystems contain biotic or living, parts, as well as abiotic factors, or nonliving parts. Biotic factors include plants, animals, and other organisms. Abiotic factors include rocks, temperature, and humidity. (National Geographic)

You can find this definition in National Geographic, as well as some awesome information and  images.

The word Biodiversity can be defined as:

The enormous variety of life on Earth. It can be used more specifically to refer to all of the species in one region or ecosystem. Biodiversity refers to every living thing, including plants, bacteria, animals, and humans.

You can find this definition in National Geographic, as well as some additional information.

There are two videos to choose from to learn about Ecosystems and Biodiversity.

Feel free to watch one, or both!

You will see a number of other videos that are a deeper dive into things you might be interested in. Feel free to watch as many of those as you like. Then choose some activities!

Take A Deeper Dive!

In this section you will learn more about some of the types of ecosystems that were mentioned earlier. These ecosystems are deserts, rainforests, tundras, coral reefs, and oceans.

This video explains why biodiversity helps ecosystems to function, and how we benefit from healthy ecosystems.

Activities

Build Your Own Biome!

Use a variety of materials such as Play Doh, leaves, a pair of scissors, fake grass, plastic models, cardboard, drawings/print-outs of any animals, paints, glue, construction paper, scotch tape etc. to create a model of your favourite ecosystem! These models are sometimes called dioramas.

Here is a photo of an example of a model of a desert:

“diorama mojave desert” by kinwart is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Here is a video that shows a rainforest diorama being built:

This is an example of an ocean diorama:

My Fantastic Voyage!

Choose your favourite ecosystem, such as a desert, an ocean, a rainforest, or a tundra. 

Choose one living organism from that ecosystem, and imagine that you are that organism, travelling through the landscape of your ecosystem, and encountering other living things. Write a description of your journey and the plants/animals/insects that you encounter.