Educator Info: Habitat Overcrowding
See what happens when plants compete for survival in an area with limited resources. What survives? How is plant quality affected?
Lesson at a Glance
Students will understand that plants have basic survival needs. They'll also describe competition for survival and explore how overcrowding affects plant quality and survival.
Illinois Learning Standards
7:C; 10: A, B; 11: A; 17: B, C
Middle / Junior High
7: C; 10: A, B; 11: A; 17: B, C
Most living things need food, water, shelter and space to survive in their habitat. Competition for survival occurs at all times as organisms seek out the resources they need. If the conditions of a habitat change, animals are able to travel to a new habitat that meets their needs.
However, most plants are rooted to one spot and unable to travel to a new habitat. Any plant that can get more water, nutrients and sunlight than its neighbors will grow and reproduce more successfully.
Over time, plants have developed adaptations to help them get resources. Some have long, deep root systems to get more water and nutrients. Some grow taller than others, so they get more energy from sunlight. Some plants produce chemicals that kill the roots of plants growing nearby. If a habitat becomes overcrowded, no one plant gets everything it needs. Unless the overcrowded plants have developed adaptations to survive, the plants will suffer in quality and survival rate. <//span>
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