In this lesson you will study examples of actual food webs to become familiar with the organization of these diagrams and develop an understanding of the information about an ecosystem that they contain. Take notes as you read this information and answer the questions listed in each lesson. Email me your answers as an attachment in MS doc or RTF format.
For the first lesson go to The Encyclopedia of Earth, read the short enter there and study the diagram of the Kelp Forest ecosystem when sea otters are present and when they are absent. Answer the following questions.
What does the term "Biodiversity" mean and explain how the biodiversity of the Kelp Forest ecosystem changes when sea otters are absent.
What factors would cause sea otters to be absent from this ecosystem? Be specific.
A "keystone species" is a species in an ecosystem upon which most of the other species in the ecosystem depend either directly or indirectly. Explain why the sea otter is considered to be a keystone species in the Kelp Forest ecosystem. Be specific and give examples.
Describe two examples that demonstrate that the health of sea otter populations can be affected by the food available to them. Be specific.
How might human activity be indirectly responsible for the presence of these parasites in the ecosystem?
Killer whales eat sea otters. They also eat salmon, seals, and the occasional surfer. A healthy Kelp Forest ecosystem will attact kill whales. If you own a California restaurant that served Abalone, Salmon, and Sea Urchin (very expensve dinners) why would you be conflicted about efforts to save the endangered sea otters? Be specific and give examples.
If you were a salmon or abalone fisherwoman, answer the same question.