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Environment and Evolution

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Introduction

What determines where particular species live and how many of them there are? Animals and plants are well adapted to survive in their normal environment. Their population depends on many factors including competition for the things they need, being eaten for food and being infected by disease. * ?to suggest how organisms are adapted to the conditions in which they live * to suggest the factors for which organisms are competing in a given habitat * to suggest reasons for the distribution of animals or plants in a particular habitat. * To survive, organisms require a supply of materials from their surroundings and from the other living organisms there. * Plants often compete with each other for light and for water and nutrients from the soil. * Animals often compete with each other for food, mates and territory. * Organisms have features (adaptations) which enable them to survive in the conditions in which they normally live. * Animals and plants may be adapted for survival in the conditions where they normally live eg deserts, the Arctic. * Animals and plants may be adapted to cope with specific features of their environment eg thorns, poisons and warning colours to deter predators. ...read more.

Middle

* In genetic engineering, genes from the chromosomes of humans and other organisms can be 'cut out' using enzymes and transferred to cells of other organisms. * Genes can also be transferred to the cells of animals or plants at an early stage in their development so that they develop with desired characteristics. Why have some species of plants and animals died out? How do new species of plants and animals develop? Changes in the environment of plants and animals may cause them to die out. Particular genes or accidental changes in the genes of plants or animals may give them characteristics which enable them to survive better. Over time this may result in entirely new species. * to suggest reasons why scientists cannot be certain about how life began on Earth * to interpret evidence relating to evolutionary theory * to suggest reasons why Darwin's theory of natural selection was only gradually accepted * to identify the differences between Darwin's theory of evolution and conflicting theories * to suggest reasons for the different theories. * Fossils provide evidence of how much (or how little) different organisms have changed since life developed on Earth. * The theory of evolution states that all species of living things have evolved from simple life-forms which first developed more than three billion years ago. ...read more.

Conclusion

* Living organisms can be used as indicators of pollution: lichens can be used as air pollution indicators invertebrate animals can be used as water pollution indicators. * Large scale deforestation in tropical areas, for timber and to provide land for agriculture, has: increased the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (because of burning and the activities of microorganisms) reduced the rate at which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and 'locked-up' for many years as wood. * Loss of forest leads to reduction in biodiversity. Some of the organisms that are lost may have been of future use. * Increases in the numbers of cattle and rice fields have increased the amount of methane released into the atmosphere. * Carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere absorb most of the energy radiated by the Earth. Some of this energy is reradiated back to the Earth and so keeps the Earth warmer than it would otherwise be. Increasing levels of these gases may be causing global warming by increasing the 'greenhouse effect'. An increase in the Earth's temperature of only a few degrees Celsius: may cause quite big changes in the Earth's climate may cause a rise in sea level. * Improving the quality of life without compromising future generations is known as sustainable development. Planning is needed at local, regional and global levels to manage sustainability. ...read more.

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