Year 10 Ecology Independent Study tasks

Hello and welcome to your Independent tasks on Ecology.

This Tackk is a series of information, links, videos's and tasks. Each task is clearly marked with a !   TO DO    !

It is expected that each task takes between 30 - 45 minutes to complete once you have watched, read the necessary information.

The deadline for these tasks is... 25th September 2015, however we know many students want to get started over the summer as part of their Independent study.

The content covered in these tasks will be assessed alongside your learning in the lessons at the start of year 11.

You will be submitting this work to your class teacher on this date, and tasks may be added as we move into year 11, so please do not send or share with your teacher yet!  

Food supply


Ways to improve yield (increase amount of food produced)

  • Agricultural  machinery - e.g machines that sow seeds, spread fertilisers or harvest the crop. Makes it much quicker to carry out these tasks and can be carried out over large areas. Extra info - slide share
  • Fertilisers- Give plants the nutrients they need (nitrates, phosphates, etc) that they need for rapid and healthy growth and therefore produce a greater yield. 500 million tonnes of fertiliser are made and used every year.  Extra info - BBC bitesize
  • Pesticides - Pests that could damage the crop and reduce the yield are destroyed using chemical pesticides. Extra info - crop life america
  • Herbicides - plant growth is reduced if other plants (weeds) are competing with the crop. Herbicides target and kill weeds, allowing a bigger yield.
  • Selective breeding - can be used to produce crop plants and animals with characteristics that result in more food for us.Extra info - BBC bitesize

!     TO DO     !
1) - Using the information above describe and explain 4 ways that modern technology has increased food production.

Problems with food supply

You have just learnt that food production is increasing. The graph above illustrates the overall increase in world food supply. Yet every day 14% of the population of the world do not have enough to eat and 6 million children die of starvation every year. Can you think why this might be the case?

!     TO DO     !
2) Research an area in the world (be specific) where starvation is a major issue, and use this as an example to explain why people still suffer from starvation even as food production increases.

Problems caused by food production

Monoculture - One type of crop (mono) grown (cultured) in one area. E.g a farmer just growing rice, or wheat or potatoes. This can be very useful for farmers - only one type of machinery needed to harvest crop for example.

Problems with monoculture;

  • a) plenty of food for pests of that particular type of crop. Pest numbers can increase to such a high level that they destroy crop. Requires farmers to start spraying chemical pesticides.
  • b) Reduction in genetic diversity in the population - leaving entire crop vulnerable to disease. Example of poor genetic diversity - Irish potato famine
  • c) Decrease in biodiversity in the ecosystem. Reduces the number of food chains, and therefore numbers of different species. Possibly linked to the decline in bee numbers as pollinators.

!     TO DO     !
3a) Summarise on your document the main problems with monocultures and suggest ways that they can be avoided.

Intensive Livestock production - Growing of animals for use of food for people. Large areas of land are required for this need, most of which are monocultures, and often overgrazed.

!     TO DO     !
3b) Read the article above on Livestock impacts on the environment.
In your own words (less than 300) summarise the 4 main issues of livestock production and potential solutions.

Habitat Destruction

Humans destroy and change habitats for a number of reasons, and you are expected to know the three above in more detail. The first point is obvious; In order to grow food, allow cattle to graze or build houses we clear natural habitats. The other two are less obvious, so....

!     TO DO     !
4a) Find examples of three natural resources that habitats are destroyed to find, and explain how the habitats are affected
4b) Describe generally how about how marine habitats can be affected by human activity, and find a recent example (hint; BP oil)


Deforestation is simply the permanent destruction of large areas of forests and woodlands.

To further understand deforestation, where it occurs and why follow the links below to a range of videos.

!     TO DO     !
5) On your document create a table that:
Names the undesirable effect of deforestation
Explains why deforestation causes this effect
Gives a real life example of where this has taken place.


Marine pollution

!     TO DO     !
6) Use images above (save the image, or google your own, or DRAW your own) to create a mind map showing the causes and effects of marine pollution.

Air pollution

Since the start of the industrial revolution Humans have burnt fossil fuels as a way of generating energy. However, we all know there are considerable problems with the increasing volume of fossil fuels being burnt, and here we look at 2:


!     TO DO     !
7a) Follow the link above to the Acid rain info sheet and task. MAKE A COPY of the task sheet and complete.
b) Using the information from BBC bitesize