Unit 1 - Adaptations for Survival
Polar bears live in the Arctic.

Unit 1 - Adaptations for Survival

This GCSE Biology quiz is all about the adaptations of animals, plants and other organisms which enable their survival. For an organism to be successful, it needs to be well adapted. Adaptations for survival are the ways in which an organism is suited to life in a particular environment or habitat. These adaptations can be characteristics, behaviour or both. Organisms that are perfectly adapted to a particular way of life in a habitat will change little over long periods of time, unless something changes.

Slow changes in organisms are made through natural selection. In any population of plants or animals, genetic mutations will occur. Badly (or not so well) adapted mutations are less likely to survive and breed but well adapted mutations will do both. The new characteristics that make them better adapted than their competitors are therefore passed on to their offspring.

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Natural selection and adaptation through inherited characteristics occurs slowly but behavioural adaptations can arise over much shorter time periods. Environmental and other changes may affect the behaviour and distribution of living organisms causing significant changes in populations - plants not suited to the new conditions will die and animals will either die or move elswhere. Population size depends on factors including competition, predation and human influences.

Test your knowledge of adaptations for survival by playing this quiz on the subject.

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  1. How does a cactus avoid being eaten by animals?
    Cacti avoid being eaten by having sharp spines which deter animals from coming near
  2. Which of the following statements is true of extremophiles?
    They are also tolerant to other extremes such as high or low pH
  3. Microorganisms have to compete with each other for which of the following?
    Bacteria reproduce rapidly and can adapt to new conditions in a few generations
  4. Which one of the following resources is the least likely to be a limiting factor for plants?
    Growth is controlled by the scarcest resource so if there is light and water but the temperature is low, growth would be limited. The same works for the other two factors but there is always more than enough carbon dioxide in the air for plants as air is a gas and is constantly circulating
  5. Which of the following is a special adaptation for survival in desert plants?
    This helps them to conserve water. Having a larger surface area to volume ratio or an increased number of stomata would have the opposite effect. Thorns are not an adaptation that is special to desert plants, they occur in a other climate zones and habitats. The most common desert plants studied for the GCSE are cacti, which develop spines (adapted leaves) and not thorns (adapted branches)
  6. Arctic animals have which adaptation to allow survival?
    The layer of fat also helps to insulate their bodies against the extreme cold
  7. Animals compete with each other for which of the following resources?
    Competition can lead to changes in behaviour or characteristics
  8. How does camouflage help an animal to survive?
    It is important for survival that the predator and prey find it hard to see each other
  9. In order to survive, plants need: light, space, nutrients, water and what else?
    Carbon dioxide is a resource for which plants don't compete
  10. Animals can display features similar to those of poisonous animals, to deter predators. What is this known as?
    Often animals with the markings of poisonous animals will be less likely to be eaten by predators, thus increasing their chances of survival

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