Part D

Observing Your Ecosystem

16. Place the chosen animals in the jar, and loosely replace the lid.

17. Observe the jar for a few minutes daily.

18. Make a chart in your lab report to record the original number of each species in your ecosystem. Record daily any changes you observe.

19. Make a graph for each species in your chart, and plot the number of organisms as a function of time. Place a clear acetate sheet over each graph. Using a pen used for overhead transparencies, trace each graph onto the acetate sheet. Use a different colored pen and a different acetate sheet for each organism.

20. Compare the acetate sheets of two organisms that you hypothesized would interact—a predator and its prey, for example. Hold one sheet on top of the other, and analyze both graphs. Record the results in your lab report.

21. Jjt^ Clean up your materials, and wash your ^^ hands before leaving the lab.

Analysis and Conclusions

1. What happened to the organisms in your ecosystem? How did their population sizes change?

2. What are some possible causes of the change in the populations you observed?

3. Construct a food chain or food web for the ecosystem you observed. Which organisms were producers? Which organisms were consumers?

4. What could you learn if you set up more than one jar in an identical manner?

5. How does your ecosystem resemble a natural ecosystem? How does it differ?

6. How did your observation compare with your hypotheses? If the results differed from what you expected, explain what might have caused the difference.

7. Look at your graphs, and determine what kind of relationship exists between predator and prey populations.

8. How would you modify the ecosystem if you were to repeat this investigation?

Further Inquiry

Develop an experiment to study the effects of abiotic factors—such as temperature, light, and moisture—on the organisms in the ecosystem you constructed.

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