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Ecosystems

Within all species, individuals interact with each other - feeding together, mating together, and living together. Some species have a pecking order as well, and each individual has a role to play within it. Families also have pecking orders, if you are the youngest then you are at the bottom of the order! Don't worry though, one day you will have your own family and then you'll be at the top of the pecking order.

However, it is not only individuals within a species that interact. Different species of animals interact with each other all the time. For instance, animals eat other animals through their interactions in a food web. But plants are included in this web as well as they, too, are eaten by animals.

Ecosystems are everywhere, and an individual plant or animal - even a human being - cannot exist separate from an ecosystem. They are diverse and always changing. Within an ecosystem, all aspects of the environment (both living things and their non-living settings) interact and affect one another. Every species affects the lives of those around them. Remember that the next time you're thinking about doing something crazy!

Different areas in the world house different ecosystems. For example, you won't find an elephant or a tropical rainforest in Alberta! Not unless you are at the zoo! The different world ecological units are called biomes and they each have different plants, animals, landscapes and weather patterns. An ecosystem is not the same thing as a biome. A biome is a large unit that is home to many different ecosystems. Within Alberta, there are six different biomes that each have their own specific plant and animal distribution. These regions are: Grassland, Parkland, Boreal Forest, Foothill, Rocky Mountain and the Canadian Shield.

To learn more about ecosystems and how they develop click here.

Every living thing is part of an ecosystem.

Every living thing is part of an ecosystem.