Where do we fit in?
This assignment you are exploring the characteristics of our species and the role we play in our ecosystem. Two terms commonly used to describe an organism’s place in the environment is their “habitat” and their “niche.” A habitat is defined as an area inhabited by particular species. A niche is defined as the role (job), activities and resources used by an organism. For example, a polar bear’s habitat is the arctic whereas its niche is to swim, eat fish, walruses and seals, and to take care of polar bear cubs. Have you ever considered the characteristics of your habitat and niche or thought about what might happen if you were forced to move and occupy another habitat, and switch to another niche? This Assignment will give you the opportunity to compare and contrast your current habitat and niche with an assigned niche (An Ecologist Studying Polar Bear Behavior in the Arctic).
Your essay should include:
A description of your personal habitat and your assigned habitat highlighting the similarities and differences.
A description of your personal niche and of your assigned niche highlighting the similarities and differences.
Consider what characteristics would provide a survival advantage to you or to the individuals who currently occupy each niche and habitat.
How have humans adapted to the two habitats and niches?
What difficulties might you have living in the assigned niche and why?
What types of cultural adaptations have evolved from living in your niche? Your assigned niche? What are the benefits and challenges of these cultural adaptations?
Your discussion should consider any biological adaptations as well; things such as dealing with food spoilage, insect vector control, food and waterborne illnesses, etc.
Consider the organism you have been assigned to study in your assigned niche. Would you classify it as a biotic or an abiotic component of the environment?