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AoS 2: Adaptations and Dynamic Ecosystems

Full Day
Book Program
Year Levels
Unit 2 — How does Inheritance Impact on Diversity?


Part 1: Adaptations - Adaptations are the result of natural selection. An adaptation is an inherited characteristic that increases the likelihood of survival and reproduction of an individual organism. Adaptations may be structural, physiological or behavioural features. Organisms have a variety of adaptations that enable them to cope with varying environmental conditions.

Part 2: Macroinvertebrates - Macroinvertebrates are animals without backbones that are large enough to be seen with the naked eye and live in freshwater habitats. The group includes many insect larval and nymph forms as well as some crustaceans, leeches and worms.

Ecolinc’s wetland provides a range of macroinvertebrates which recycle nutrients back into the ecosystem, are an important food source for other animals and also act as biological indicators telling us about the health of an ecosystem. They all have their own adaptations to survive in their environment.

Part 3: Foodweb modelling - A wetland ecosystem such as Ecolinc’s has many complex interactions occurring between the macroinvertebrates, other species and the environment which affects population sizes, density and distribution.

Prior Knowledge

No prior knowledge required.

Learning Intentions

In this program student’s will:

  • Determine adaptations of some of Ecolinc’s animals and plants
  • Differentiate between structural, behavioural and physiological adaptations
  • Investigate a wetland ecosystem and its keystone species
  • Identify freshwater macroinvertebrates and their adaptations
  • Investigate the interactions between living things in the Ecolinc wetland
  • Discover how human activities can alter the wetland ecosystem


Students will:

  • Observe some of Ecolinc’s organisms up close
  • Determine and categorise adaptations as either structural, behavioural or physiological
  • Identify the producers, consumers and detritivores in Ecolinc’s wetland
  • Model the interdependencies of organisms found in wetland ecosystems
  • Evaluate the changes to wetlands over time and some effects of human impact

VCE links

  • Structural, physiological and behavioural adaptations that enhance an organism’s survival and enable life to exist in a wide range of environments.
  • Survival through interdependencies between species, including impact of changes to keystone species and predators and their ecological roles in structuring and maintaining the distribution, density and size of a population in an ecosystem.