Living Organisms And Their Surroundings
Introduction to diverse habitats:
Living creatures are collectively called as organisms. It is easy to find organisms all around us. We find spiders, flies, dogs and cats inside our house, cattle, horses, birds, outside our house, fishes in ponds and streams, crabs and larger fishes in sea, whales and sharks in the oceans, leopards and panthers in the forests, camels in deserts and polar bears and penguins in Antarctic regions.
On comparing deserts to snowy regions of Antarctic, these environments are extremely different to each other but yet, organisms exist in these environments. These organisms are designed or rather shaped in such a way that they adapt to the environmental conditions.
For example, camels in the deserts have long legs so as to protect themselves from the heat of the sand; also their skin is thick so they do not sweat in the heat of deserts. Camels have the capacity to remain alive without water for days in the desert. Likewise, fishes in the sea have a shallow streamlined body so they can swim easily.
The fishes live by respiring dissolved oxygen in the sea and have the ability to live in salinity (salt water) of the sea as well as in fresh water of the ponds. This implies that the presence or absence of certain features in an organism’s body enables them to adapt to the existing environmental conditions and survive with its surroundings is called as an adaptation. The place where the organism’s life is called as its habitat which has its requirements for food, shelter, and water.
Terrestrial and aquatic habitats:
Plants and animals which dwell on land in areas like forests, grasslands, mountains and coastal areas are called as terrestrial habitats whereas plants and animals that live in water are called as aquatic habitats. Some animals change their habitats by overcoming the changes in their surroundings over several thousand years. This change of habitat and adaptations in animals is called as acclimatization, meaning to change themselves with the change in surroundings. Acclimatization and adaptation occur over thousand years and cannot occur in short time.
Thus, we can observe a wide range of diversity in living organisms around the world. These organisms have varied their adaptations over several years and survived among the fittest. In the next section, we learn about the diverse surroundings the organisms have adapted to and their habitats in detail.