Adaptations for survival
Adaptations for survival in deserts and
the Arctic.
Adaptations to cope with specific
features of the environment.
Observe adaptations of a range of
Explain how organisms are adapted to
survive in their habitat.
To be able to identify special adaptive
features of animals
To appreciate how adaptations allow
an animal to survive in hostile
To recognise the adaptations of plants
for different environments
Living things adapt to their environment.
 Watch the video clip, and then try to fill in the
table explaining how the creature is adapted to
it’s environment.
How this helps them
Look at the animals on the worksheet,
for each one try to give where it lives
and an example of how it is adapted
for survival in its environment.
Look at the animals on the worksheet,
for each one try to give where it lives
and an example of how it is adapted
for survival in its environment.
You need to be able to:
 Explain how animals are adapted for survival in
arctic and desert environments in terms of:
Body size and surface area
Thickness of insulating coat
Amount of body fat
 Explain how plants are adapted to survive in arid
 Suggest how organisms are adapted to the
conditions in which they live.
Surviving in different environments.
 Read all information carefully
 Answer questions 3 - 9
Hibernation – animals build up a fat
layer and sleep through the worst of
the winter months.
Migration – animals move off to
warmer climes.
Insulation – many animals grow thicker
Leaf shedding
Food storing
Describe and explain adaptations for
survival in the Arctic.
Describe and explain adaptations for
survival in a desert.
An adaptation is a feature that allows
an organism to survive in the
environment in which it lives.
 Polar bears and Arctic foxes are adapted
to survive in the Arctic
 A camel and the Fennec fox are adapted
to live in hot arid (desert) conditions
Small head
and ears
White fur
Thick layer
of fat
body shape
Thick layer
of fur
Thin hair on
top of body
Fatty hump
Nostrils which
can close
Two rows of
Long legs
and neck
No hair on
of body
Little body fat
A camel’s hump is a
fat store. It can
break down fat to
release water.
A camel can
drink large
amounts of
Its mouth is
tough so that
it can eat
thorny plants
like cacti.
Coarse wool on
top of its body
protects the
camel from the
Short hair
underneath the camel
lets heat escape.
Big flat feet
stop it
sinking into
the sand.
For each of the adaptations labelled on the
polar bear and the camel
 Explain how each adaptation helps the animal
survive in the conditions where it lives
polar bear
White fur
Survival Advantage
Radiates less heat
energy – prevent
heat loss
Survival Advantage
Fatty hump
Metabolic source of water
Nostrils which can close
Close for protection during sandstorms
Long legs and neck
Increase surface area for heat loss
Thin hair on top of body
Allow heat loss
Sandy colouring
Camouflage from predators
Two rows of eyelashes
Prevent sand from entering the eyes
No hair on underside of body
Makes heat loss easier
Little body fat
Increase heat loss from skin capillaries
Survival Advantage
A small head and
Smaller surface area to reduce heat loss
Compact body
Smaller surface area to volume ratio to reduce
heat loss
Thick layer of fur
Traps air, which is a good insulator
Thick layer of fat
Insulates against heat loss
Acts as a food reserve during hibernation
White fur
Reduce heat radiated from the body
Fleshy green
Short stem
Waxy, shiny
outer covering
to the leaves
Long roots
Leaves reduced to spines – to reduce water
loss through stoma
Swollen stem
stores water
Wide spread root
systems to increase
surface area for absorption.
For each of the adaptations labelled on the
house leek
 Explain how each adaptation helps plant survive
conditions on a rocky outcrop.
Survival Advantage
Survival advantage
Adaptation to extremes encompasses all
the special behaviours and physiologies
that living things need to withstand the
planet's harshest conditions and
Whether it's a lack of oxygen at altitude,
the searing heat of deserts or the bitter
cold of the polar regions, plants, animals
and other organisms have evolved a
multitude of coping strategies.
 Watch the video
 Make notes on the
adaptations shown
by the animals or
plant in the video
The environments
shown will include
 Altitude tolerant
 Chemical tolerant
 Cold tolerant
 Dry tolerant
 Fire tolerant
 Heat tolerant
To draw labelled diagrams of a plant
or animal, describing the adaptation
and detailing the survival advantage
of each adaptation.
Define the term extremophile and be
able to give general examples.
Environmental extremes for small plants and
animals on the Antarctic Peninsula
 Write out a list of environmental conditions you
think that an organism living on the Antarctic
Extreme cold in the winter
Fairly mild summers (up to 45 °F), with rock and
moss surface temperatures of up to 70 °F
 Very short growing season each year for the plants
that provide food for small organisms
 Intense ultraviolet light due to the hole in the ozone
 High winds on small islands
 Extreme dryness
 Exposure to high acidity, due to immersion in
penguin guano (waste) during summer breeding
 Possible immersion in both salt and freshwater due
to weather and tides in the summer
Draw a labelled diagram of an animal
or plant adapted to survive on the
Antarctic peninsula.
 This organism can be real or fictitious
Extremophiles are adapted to live in
extreme environments.
Extremophiles can be tolerant to
 High salt levels
 High temperatures
 High pressure
As the conditions are extreme, there are
very few other organisms to compete
Extreme high temperatures can be
found around hot springs or
hydrothermal vents.
Most organisms will die at
temperatures about 40oC because
proteins and enzymes in their bodies
breakdown (denature).
Bacteria that can survive in these
places have enzymes that do not
denature at high temperatures of
greater than 60oC.
Deep in the ocean, water pressure is
great and there is no light.
Bacteria are the producers in these
communities and they make sugars
using chemical energy released from
the hydrothermal vents
Populations and
Organisms require materials from their
surroundings and from other organisms
to survive.
Plants compete for light, space, water
and nutrients.
Animals compete for food, mates and
List factors that affect the survival of
organisms in their habitat.
Give examples of resources that plants
and animals compete for in a given
Describe adaptations that some
organisms have to avoid being eaten.
Interpret population curves.
An ecosystem is an environment
where living organisms can survive.
Each ecosystem is made up of
Habitats and Communities
Habitat - This is the place where the
organisms live. It has the conditions
that they need to survive.
Community – all the living organisms
that live in the habitat.
Each ecosystem has a set of
environmental factors.
 Organisms live, grow and reproduce in places
where, and at times when, conditions are
 These factors vary according to the time of
day and the time of year.
Availability of water
 Few living organisms can grow outside the
range of 0oC to 40oC.
Light Intensity
 photosynthesis in plants, animals need
light for visibility.
Availability of carbon dioxide and
Environmental factors affecting life
Read all the information supplied on
the sheet carefully.
Answer questions 3-5 and 8-11 in full
A population is a group of individuals
of the same species living in a
particular habitat at the same time.
The number of individuals present in
the population will depend on how
they can interact with two types of
Biotic (living)
 food, disease, predation, mates, effects of
humans, and competition
Abiotic (non living)
 water, oxygen, carbon dioxide,
temperature and light intensity
Populations need things called
resources to grow.
Organisms that are better suited
(adapted) to compete are more likely
to survive and have offspring
Plants and animals compete for
 Plants often compete with each other for
space, and for nutrients and water from
the soil.
 Animals often compete with each other
for space, water and food.
Competition between members of the
same species
▪ Organisms produce more offspring than can
▪ This leads to competition
▪ If there is plenty of food the population is likely
to increase, if food is depleted it is likely that
population size will decrease
Gannets are sea
birds that catch fish
by diving head first
into the water.
 They live and breed
on remote cliffs
Gannets compete for space on the
 The nests are distributed “pecking
distance” apart
Plenty of fish
 more young gannets are raised
 Increase competition for nesting sites in
future years
Competition between members of
different species
 Several species might rely on the same
food source or space
▪ E.g. primroses flower early in the year to avoid
competition for light. They also produce leaves,
flowers and seeds before the tree leaves open
and put them into shade
Predation will limit the prey population.
Disease can spread quickly through
large populations.
Animals that kill and eat other animals
are called predators. The animals that
they eat are called prey.
Predators are usually bigger and fewer
in number than their prey.
 List five things that make a good predator:
 List five ways prey have adapted escape
from predators:
The prey has plenty of food. It
breeds and increases in number.
The increase in prey means that
there is more food for the predator.
So the predator breeds and
increases in number.
There are now lots of predators so
more prey will be eaten. The
number of prey goes down.
There are now less prey for the predator to
feed on. Food will be scarce and many
predators starve.
With fewer predators, more prey survive to
breed. The prey numbers increase
The cycle continues…
Environmental change and the
distribution of organisms.
Environmental changes due to living
and non-living factors.
Indicators of pollution – lichens and
Measuring environmental changes.
Evaluate data on environmental
change and the distribution and
behaviour of living organisms.
Give examples of how an environment
can change.
The distribution of plants and animals
can be affected by changes in their
Environmental changes could be due
 Non-living factors – temperature, rainfall,
light and oxygen levels
 Living factors – predators, disease,
introduction of new species
Interpret data on lichen distribution
and sulfur dioxide levels.
Interpret data on invertebrates and
water pollution.
Living organisms can be used as
indicators of pollution
 The presence or absence of particular
organisms can indicate the level of
pollution in an area.
 These are called Indicator Species
Biological indicators of air and water
pollution can give a longer term view
of changes than chemical sampling.
Freshwater invertebrates can be used
as indicators of freshwater pollution
Lichens can be used as indicators of
air pollution due to their sensitivity to
sulfur dioxide.
Indicator Species
 Animals found in
water with low levels
of oxygen
▪ Sludge worm
▪ Rat-tailed maggot
▪ Blood worm
 Animals found in
water with high levels
of oxygen
▪ Mayfly nymph
▪ Stonefly nymph
▪ shrimp
What could cause the oxygen
concentration in a river to decrease?
Yup, that’s right SEWAGE or organic
Organic waste (sewage) provides
food for bacteria, which allows them
to grow and reproduce
Bacteria use up the oxygen in the
water when they respire
There is less oxygen for other organisms
such as fish and insects.
Animals such as fish, stonefly nymphs
and shrimps decrease in number.
As the concentration of sewage pollution
rises, the population of bacteria rises.
 This is because the bacteria feed off the
sewage which provides raw materials and
energy for growth and reproduction.
 At the same time the concentration of
oxygen falls.
 This is because the bacteria use up the
oxygen in respiration as they break down
the organic waste in the sewage.
 Animals such as fish and stonefly nymphs
decrease in number.
What effect does domestic sewage have on the
number of bacteria in a river?
How do the bacteria numbers affect the level of
dissolved oxygen in the water?
How does the reduction in oxygen level affect the
numbers of fish and invertebrate numbers in the
What name is given to an organism whose presence
or absence gives information about the level of
pollution in a river?
Name two organisms that can live in water where
the oxygen level is low.
Name two organisms that can only live in water that
is unpolluted.
 To
explain how lichens can be
used to indicate air pollution
 To analyse data on air pollution
and draw conclusions
 The
presence or absence of
particular organisms can
indicate the level of pollution in
an area.
 These are called Indicator
 Different types of lichen have different sensitivities
to sulfur dioxide gas.
 3 main types – crusty, leafy and shrubby
Indicator species
Crusty lichens
Crusty and leafy
Appearance of
Lichens as indicators of Air Pollution
Carrying out a pollution survey
Look at the air pollution map, and
explain the distribution of the different
types of lichen.