Ecology: some more revision for your end of unit test on thursday

The basic terminology of ecology has already been covered in a previous post. You are welcome to retest yourself and get feedback.

Niche and habitat have also been previously covered and you can do the quick test on it again. Ensure you understand the different aspects of the niche an organism occupies. e.g. the niche occupied by Gannets at Muriwai.


Coastal waters breeding mostly on crowded colonies on small islands or isolated cliffs

Physical environment:

  • require warm temperatures
  • Require a metre space between breeding pairs to prevent other adults attacking the egg

Biological/Biotic factors

  • presence of shoals of small fish such as anchvies pilchards and mullets within range of breeding sites.
  • Some predation of chicks by gulls.

Special adaptations for survival.

  • Inflatable airbags under the skin on their chests to cushion the impact of diving below the waves to catch fish.
  • Nostrils are inside their mouth to avoid pressure problems in their lungs when fishing. (equivalent to holding your nose if you are doing a dive bomb from height.)
  • Breed in large colonies on isolated cliff tops to minimise predation of chicks.
  • Form lifelong pair bonds but separate during winter.
  • Webbed feet with lots of blood vessels to help keep a single egg warm.
  • Young migrate to Australia for a year. Helps reduce pressure on the colony.

Feeding Role:

Carnivores which consume small fish and squid by performing deep dives at high speeds. (hitting the water at speeds up to 150km/, the average speed of a V8 racing in Hamilton).

…….. and finally the carbon cycle


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