NOVA

Garden of Eden

Student Handout

I Can Live Here

The program shows a raft of geckos and skinks that find themselves carried by currents to a new island. Here they must find a niche or they will die. In finding a niche, organism "invaders" like these sometimes displace organisms that are already there as they compete for the same food or living space. Can you invent an organism that could survive in either the granitic or coral islands of the Seychelles?

Procedure

  1. Describe the different plants and animals of the granitic and coral Seychelles islands.

  2. Based on your knowledge of what lives on the Seychelles islands, invent a plant or animal with adaptations that make it able to survive in the ecosystem of one of the island types. You may want to consider the following questions when creating your organism:

    • How big is your organism going to be?

    • What kind of food will it eat? How much food will it need to survive? How will it capture its food?

    • What behaviors will your organism possess that will aid its survival?

    • What other organisms might help your organism survive?

    • What is its reproductive strategy?

    • How will it reproduce? How often?

  3. Be sure to describe the form and function of each trait your organism possesses.

  4. Draw the organism, explaining special adaptations that might enable it to find a niche where it could survive. For example, an animal might have skin or feathers to which the sticky seeds of the mapou tree do not stick, thereby allowing it to fly away after feeding.

  5. Analyze the impact of this new species on the island's food web. Consider these questions as you conduct your analysis:

    • What other organisms might want to eat your organism?

    • What other organisms compete for your organism's niche?

    • How does your organism impact the existing food web?

Imaginary animal


-->