Every entity consists of an Ecosystem in which it resides. This consists of its natural habitat and the basic necessities that are required for survival. These basic necessities are food, shelter, availability of the land, and mates. We all are surrounded by different plants, trees, birds, animals, microbes, and many other living and nonliving things depending on certain parameters. Scientists were able to differentiate between living and nonliving things. Different regions in the world have different types of living creatures that are called organisms. Even the openings of the volcanoes contain tiny living organisms. Even our homes are not deprived of any of these tiny organisms. We will learn in this article about the living organisms and their surroundings, the characteristics and habitats of the living organism, and learn in detail about the organisms that live on land.
Every organism has features that enable them to survive even in unfavourable environments. This occurs naturally and is referred to as adaptation. It differs depending on the place the organism lives. The place wherein an organism resides is called a habitat.
For example, the natural habitat of fishes in the water. This habitat provides them with air, water, food, shelter. Other animals and plants can also co-exist in the same habitat.
Living organisms residing in a habitat are called biotic components. For example, a habitat can have both animals and plants as biotic components. The non-living things present in a habitat are known as the abiotic components. For example, rocks, water, soil, etc.
Adaptation is brought about by several changes in the organism’s body or activities for them to survive. Some animals even adapt to severe climatic conditions like the polar bears and penguins in the polar regions, whereas some animals bring about structural adaptations, for example, birds tend to modify their limbs into wings and use them for flight, fish use their gills to breathe in water. These adaptations are important for the functioning of living organisms, wherein the survival of the fittest plays a crucial role.
A habitat wherein the animals live is generally accompanied by flora. The animal Ecosystem, in particular, is very challenging since the animals become both the predators and prey in the food chain. Some animals can even camouflage, and this type of adaptation enables them to protect themselves from predators.
Terrestrial habitats consist of both plants and animals living on land. For example, forests and deserts, whereas the aquatic habitats consist of animals and plants that are living in water, for example, rivers, lakes, etc.
1. What are the Different Characteristics of Living Organisms?
Ans: The different characteristics of living organisms are as follows:
The process through which animals obtain their food and utilize it for different activities is called nutrition. Every organism needs nutrition for gaining energy.
All living organisms tend to grow and exhibit their growth in different ways. Their body cells divide and grow and hence their overall growth is attained.
Respiration is important for all living organisms. It is via respiration that the body gets energy from the food it consumes. Some animals might have different mechanisms for the exchanging of gases, which is a crucial part of the whole respiration process. For example, earthworms breathe via their skin and fish have gills on them for using the oxygen dissolved in water. We, humans, respire by breathing in the oxygen and breathing out the carbon dioxide.
Response to Stimulus
Changes in our everyday surroundings which make us respond to them are known as stimuli. All living beings tend to react to the changes in their surroundings. For example, in response to the increased temperatures during summer, we use fans to cool ourselves and our homes.
All living things ingest food but not all the food which is eaten is really used. Only a small portion of it is utilised by our body. The remaining food becomes waste which needs to be excreted. Our body also generates some wastes just as urea from the other life processes. All living organisms get rid of this waste material from their bodies and the process is called excretion.
All living organisms give rise to another organism of their own kind through a process called reproduction. The mode of reproduction can be different amongst the different animals and plants. Some animals produce the young ones through eggs. Some animals give birth to their young ones. Plants tend to produce seeds that germinate into new plants. Some plants also reproduce through other parts than seeds. For example, a part of the potato with a bud grows into another plant.
Animals move from one place to the other and show many body movements. Plants are anchored in the soil and hence they do not move from one place to the other. However, various substances such as water, minerals and the food which is synthesised by the plants move from one place to the other. Plants also show other types of movement such as the opening and closing of the flower buds.
The presence of certain features or habits that enable plants or animals for living in its surroundings, is referred to as adaptation. Different animals are adapted to their surroundings in many different ways. For example, fishes have slippery scales located on their bodies. These scales protect them and also help in the easy movement through the water.
2. What are the Different Kinds of Habitats of Living Organisms?
Ans: The surroundings in which the living organisms survive is called a habitat. The organisms depend on their habitat for food, water, air, shelter and many other needs. Habitat means living in a home. Several types of plants and animals share the same kind of habitat.
The living components of habitat are known as the biotic components. Eg: plants and animals
The non-living components of habitat are known as the abiotic components. E.g: air, water, rocks, soil, etc
The plants and animals which live on land are said to be living in terrestrial habitats. E.g: forests, deserts, grasslands, mountain and coastal regions.
The habitats of the plants and animals which live in water are known as aquatic habitats. E.g: ponds, lakes, rivers, swamps, and oceans.
Aquatic habitats can be freshwaters such as river, pond or marine like the sea or even estuaries like the delta of a river that meets the sea
Ans: Habitats are very important for every living organism. There are various activities related to their survival, reproduction and rest that the living organisms avail in their habitats. Every living organism has a characteristic of reproduction, they lay their offspring in the form of eggs or young ones. To create a safe and sound environment, either for the hatching of the eggs or for protecting the newly born babies and feeding them, the parent living organisms require a place which in turn becomes their habitat. For humans, the habitat is in the shape of a house, which may also be in different forms like a tent or a concrete building. For a lion, the habitat is in the form of a den, for the birds the habitat is in the form of a nest. All the living organisms create a habitat for the expansion of their family and for taking rest whenever they feel for it.
Ans: The characteristics of different living organisms are very diverse and hence some of them stay at one place for their whole lives while others change their living places very often. Some of the living organisms migrate from one place to another in search of food, shelter or favourable climatic conditions e.g. Siberian Cranes, Ruff Bird, Zebra, Sea Turtle etc. This means they change their habitat every time they move from one place to another or every time they migrate in search of favourable conditions
Thus there are certain living organisms that move from one place to another place several times in their life and hence they don’t have a permanent habitat, while there are certain other living organisms that don’t move from one place to another place very frequently in their lifetimes and hence they create a permanent habitat for themselves eg Humans, Lions etc
Ans: Living organisms of all types have a certain level of cognitive ability and thus are able to make decisions that are the most efficient and productive for them. The same happens in cases when the different types of living organisms designate or choose their habitat. Humans choose their habitats by taking into consideration the factors of convenience, comfort and safety. The same is the case with other living organisms, however, some may prioritise safety over convenience while others prioritise comfort over safety.
Lion is a fierce and brave animal hence isn’t more concerned with safety and chooses his habitat in priority of comfort and convenience over safety. Similar is the case with other living organisms, birds choose nests at the height of trees so as to be safe, snakes find convenience in holes and thus choose holes as their habitats.
Different living organisms, from viruses to the whale and from dolphins to humans have the ability to choose what is the most favourable for their survival, convenient for their life cycle and viable in their Ecosystem. Habitat is like a home for a particular living organism, it is the place where the living organism comes back to after its activities of day or night. Habitat is the place where the living organisms lay their eggs or give birth to their young ones, in the habitat the living organisms set up their day to day activities.
The biotic and non-biotic components of the habitat are very important deciding factors for a living organism while choosing the habitat, the biotic components are mainly related to the factors of its safety, the security of its eggs or young ones and availability of food. The non-biotic components like water, rocks, soil etc are mostly associated with the favourable conditions for its cervical and its ability to adapt.
The amount of cognitive ability that a particular organism has defines the sophistication of its habitat. Birds create complex weaved nests while as the snake has just a simple hole, the bees weave their hive in a very calculated manner and put in an enormous amount of effort to make their hives able to hold in it the honey they produce and also to make it very safe for the members of their group. Penguins live on the land but go for hunting inside the water, its habitat is on the land but its day to day activities happen inside the water. Thus, the habitat of penguins is one the land.
In the case of aquatic animals, their habitat is the water body where they are present, some aquatic animals create their habitats at the bottom of the sea like octopuses, sea turtles etc. Small fishes in the waters create their habitats within the waters by staying in the group all time, this gives them the ability for creating the illusion of being large aquatic animals and keeps the whales and sharks away from them.