SC.912.L.17.6

Compare and contrast the relationships among organisms, including predation, parasitism, competition, commensalism, and mutualism.
General Information
Subject Area: Science
Grade: 912
Body of Knowledge: Life Science
Idea: Level 2: Basic Application of Skills & Concepts
Standard: Interdependence -

A. The distribution and abundance of organisms is determined by the interactions between organisms, and between organisms and the non-living environment.

B. Energy and nutrients move within and between biotic and abiotic components of ecosystems via physical, chemical and biological processes.

C. Human activities and natural events can have profound effects on populations, biodiversity and ecosystem processes.

Date Adopted or Revised: 02/08
Date of Last Rating: 05/08
Status: State Board Approved

Related Courses

This benchmark is part of these courses.
2002080: M/J Comprehensive Science 2, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2000330: Biology 2 Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2000370: Botany (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2000380: Ecology (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2001340: Environmental Science (Specifically in versions: 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002490: Forensic Sciences 2 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2017, 2017 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002440: Integrated Science 3 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002450: Integrated Science 3 Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2000390: Limnology (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018 (course terminated))
2002500: Marine Science 1 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002510: Marine Science 1 Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2000020: M/J Life Science, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002085: M/J Comprehensive Science 2 Accelerated Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002445: Integrated Science 3 for Credit Recovery (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2020 (course terminated))
2001341: Environmental Science Honors (Specifically in versions: 2016 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))

Related Access Points

Alternate version of this benchmark for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
SC.912.L.17.In.3: Identify relationships among organisms, including helping each other (mutualism); obtaining food (predation); benefiting at the expense of the other (parasitism); and competing with each other for food, space, or shelter (competition).
SC.912.L.17.Su.3: Recognize that organisms can interact with other organisms in an ecosystem to help each other (mutualism), to obtain food (predation), and to benefit at expense of the other (parasitism).
SC.912.L.17.Pa.3: Recognize examples of mutual relationships between people and other living things.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Lesson Plans

Many Thrive If the Wolf Survives:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The article discusses the interactions of many different species of organisms in Yellowstone National Park. Specifically, the text focuses on the importance of not only the interactions that wolves have with the ecosystem, but how important beavers are to the stability of the whole ecosystem. This lesson includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Mutualistic Mussels:

In this lesson, students will read an article from the National Science Foundation that discusses how extended droughts have affected salt marsh ecosystems found in the Southeastern part of the United States. The article then describes the mutualistic relationship that was discovered between ribbed mussels and salt marsh grasses and how this relationship is helping the marshes survive and recover from the droughts. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Killer Prairie Dogs:

In this lesson, students will analyze an  intended to support reading in the content area.  The National Geographic article profiles the scientists who discovered that the white-tailed prairie dog is killing ground squirrels in order to eliminate its competition for food. The article further highlights how the squirrel killings benefit the prairie dogs' offspring.  The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. 

 

Type: Lesson Plan

Helping the Honey Bee!:

In this lesson, students will analyze an article that discusses the problem of declining honey bee populations in the United States and lists the possible factors involved. The text then describes the study on African honey bees to determine if there are genetic or physiological causes in their positive response to the Varroa parasite. Researchers are hoping the data they gather will help them improve breeding programs or management practices in U.S. bee populations. This lesson plan is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Drama in the Deep:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The article describes the interactions between three different microorganisms and the implications on the food webs found in the oceans near Antarctica. Phytoplankton and bacteria are competing for food and resources in previously unknown ways. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

Exploring Relationships in an Ecosystem:

This lesson plan will enable students to explore the types of relationships that are found in ecosystems. Students will independently sort cards with no guidance from the teacher. As the lesson goes on, they will reassess their card groups in order to classify examples of symbiotic and other relationships. The lesson ends with students explaining each type of relationship and how individuals are affected by these interactions.

Type: Lesson Plan

Seeking the Zika Virus:

In this lesson, students will read an informational text from the National Science Foundation. The text describes current research into the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus, with the ultimate goal of using the research to predict and possibly prevent future outbreaks. Scientists are studying three towns in Ecuador by collecting data to help them discover the socioeconomic and environmental factors that put people most at risk for diseases carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, including the Zika virus. The scientists are also examining how virus transmission by these mosquitoes may be affected by climate change. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes text-dependent questions with an answer key, a writing prompt with a sample response, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Investigating Rulers of the Reef: Coral Reef Parasites :

This lesson uses an NSF article to inform the reader about the influence of parasites on damselfish, a coral reef species. The author explains how his team determined the reason for the consistent behavior of damselfish leaving their aggressively guarded territory each morning to go to a cleaning station. He also explains how more questions arose throughout his investigation, questions like "Do these parasites carry other parasites that infect fishes?" and "Do these gnathiid parasites infect other species of fish?" This first-person account creates an interesting view of how marine research is done, including field work, lab work, and collaborating with other scientists. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Who's in My Burrow?:

Students will be introduced to the sandhills ecosystem, the commensalism of gopher tortoise burrows, and various other relationships between organisms. Class discussion, independent research, and presentations will then allow further development of the concepts of parasitism, competition, mutualism, commensalism, and predation.

Type: Lesson Plan

Close Reading Exemplar: Living Like Weasels:

The goal of this four-day exemplar is to give students the opportunity to use the reading and writing habits they've been practicing on a regular basis to discover the rich language and life lesson embedded in Dillard's text. By reading and rereading the passage closely and focusing their reading through a series of questions and discussion about the text, students will be equipped to unpack Dillard's essay. When combined with writing about the passage, students will learn to appreciate how Dillard's writing contains a deeper message and derive satisfaction from the struggle to master complex text.

Type: Lesson Plan

What's that Smell? Avoiding Peers with Parasites:

In this lesson, students will analyze two informational texts intended to support reading in the content area. The primary article discusses social behavior in mandrills that helps them know when to avoid certain individuals in their community in order to prevent becoming infected with parasites. A second related text discusses adaptations in Atlantic killifish that allow them to survive in water polluted by high levels of toxins. By reading and synthesizing both texts, students will learn about adaptations that enable survival of species. This lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Original Student Tutorial

Interactions among Organisms: Kenya:

Explore examples of mutualism, competition, and predation in the Kenyan savannah ecosystem. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Perspectives Video: Experts

Invasive Ants and Competition in the Kenyan Savannah:

Patrick Milligan shares his research on invasive ant species in the Kenyan savannah.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Relationships of Organisms in the Kenyan Savannah:

Patrick Milligan discusses the relationship of organisms in the Kenyan savannah.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Fish and Bacteria Symbiosis:

Dr. Andrea Larsen describes interactions between bacteria and fish that allow both to thrive.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Fish Microbiota, Dysbiosis, and Disease Prevention:

Dr. Andrea Larsen explains how fish microbiota are connected to fish health for aquaculture applications.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Symbiotic Plant-Bacteria Interactions:

Agriculture takes teamwork! Watch now to learn more about how plants, bacteria, and viruses interact.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Teaching Idea

Design an Ecosystem-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

The student will describe various adaptations and how they enable the organism to survive in its habitat.

Type: Teaching Idea

Text Resources

Yellowstone Ecosystem Needs Wolves and Willows, Elk and...Beavers?:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article discusses the effects of the wolf population in Yellowstone National Park, as well as how other organisms are linked in this food web. As the wolf population decreases, the elk population increases due to lack of predation. The larger elk population decimates the willow population, a prime source of food and building for the beaver. As beaver population decreases, streams no longer deposit enough sediments. This then changes the willow population, because they are no longer able to take root in the stream.

Type: Text Resource

Gut Check: Mandrills Sniff Poop to Avoid Peers with Parasites:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text describes a mechanism of behavioral avoidance to help maintain health between mandrills. Mandrills use their olfactory senses in order to determine which of their peers to avoid due to parasitic infections.

Type: Text Resource

Prairie Dogs Are Serial Killers That Murder Their Competition:

This  resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article discusses the discovery of the white-tailed prairie dog murdering ground squirrels in cold blood in order to eliminate the competition for food. The article further highlights how the killings of the squirrels benefit the prairie dog offspring.

Type: Text Resource

Protecting the Honey-Bearers:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article discusses the problem of declining honey bee populations in the United States and lists the possible factors involved. The text then describes the study on African honey bees to determine if there are genetic or physiological causes in their response to the Varroa parasite. Researchers are hoping the data they gather will help them improve breeding programs or management practices in U.S. bee populations.

Type: Text Resource

Research Spotlights a Previously Unknown Microbial 'Drama' Playing in the Southern Ocean:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article discusses the relationship between phytoplankton and different bacteria in the Southern Ocean. The text goes on to describe the results and how they changed previous ideas and assumptions about the needs of phytoplankton.

Type: Text Resource

Seeking Zika: Where and When Will Zika-Carrying Mosquitoes Strike Next?:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The text describes current research into the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus, with the ultimate goal of using the research to predict and possibly prevent future outbreaks. Scientists are studying three towns in Ecuador by collecting data to help them discover the socioeconomic and environmental factors that put people most at risk for diseases carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, including the Zika virus. The scientists are also examining how virus transmission by these mosquitoes may be affected by climate change.

Type: Text Resource

Parasites: Rulers of the Reef:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The text informs readers about the influence of parasites on damselfish, a coral reef species. The author explains how his team determined the reason for the consistent behavior of damselfish leaving their aggressively guarded territory each morning to go to a cleaning station. Through the scientist describing how his research lead to new observations that lead to new questions and research, the text is a good example of how scientific investigations are conducted, including working collaboratively and communicating important results.

Type: Text Resource

Undead-End: Fungus that Controls Zombie-Ants has own Fungal Stalker:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Zombies may seem like science fiction, but that's exactly what scientists are calling the behavior in some species of ants. This article looks at the parasitic relationship between a form of fungus and carpenter ant that causes this zombie-like behavior. It also looks at a further complication to the process as the parasitic fungus has a parasite of its own.

Type: Text Resource

The Infinite Struggle Against Invasive Species in the Galapagos:

The Galapagos Islands provide some of the most unique flora and fauna in the world, and the islands have served as a hot spot for modern evolutionary theory, thanks to the work of Charles Darwin. However, the island's unique biodiversity is threatened by invasive species. This article delves into the struggle we face to preserve the species which are native to the islands.

Type: Text Resource

Salamander's Hefty Role in the Ecosystem:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This is a fascinating article about the large role one tiny organism plays in its ecosystem. The author explores the predatory habits of the salamander, how this amphibian can affect the carbon cycle, and the changes that have been taking place in the salamander populations over time.

Type: Text Resource

The Sloth's Busy Inner Life:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article is about how scientists sought to understand why some sloths descend from trees, risking their lives, to defecate on the ground. Their research results suggest that the behavior is to increase the benefit gained from the sloth's mutualists: moths and algae.

Type: Text Resource

Seahorse Heads Have a 'No Wake Zone' That's Made for Catching Prey:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article explains how seahorse heads are specialized to eliminate vibrations in the water, which might alert prey to their presence.

Type: Text Resource

Threatened Coral Get Fishy Rescue:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article describes an experiment that was done by scientists to show how corals are being destroyed by a certain type of seaweed and how goby fish rescue the coral.

Type: Text Resource

Plant vs. Predator:

Ecologist Daniel Janzen of the University of Pennsylvania describes how this plant's strategy came about and what's in it—both good and bad—for the bamboo, the rats and other predators, and anyone living nearby.

Type: Text Resource

Tutorials

Malaria: Human Host:


When a malaria-carrying mosquito bites a human host, the malaria parasite enters the bloodstream, multiplies in the liver cells, and is then released back into the bloodstream, where it infects and destroys red blood cells. This animation will help you to understand the process of malarial infection.

Type: Tutorial

Population Ecology:

In this interactive, explore one of the most well-understood mass seedings—that of oak-tree acorn crops—and its widespread effects on various animals in the ecosystem as well as on nearby human populations.

Type: Tutorial

Video/Audio/Animation

Birds of Paradise: Competition among birds:

This video shows mating displays and courtship behavior of Birds of Paradise. These birds display bright colors and visually stunning behaviors during courtship. 

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Virtual Manipulative

Winn Bee Foraging Activity:

In this software simulation, students take on the role of bees and experiment with different foraging patterns in a field of flowers to maximize net energy input. Students generate quantitative data that can be analyzed and graphed.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Original Student Tutorials Science - Grades 9-12

Interactions among Organisms: Kenya:

Explore examples of mutualism, competition, and predation in the Kenyan savannah ecosystem. 

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Original Student Tutorial

Interactions among Organisms: Kenya:

Explore examples of mutualism, competition, and predation in the Kenyan savannah ecosystem. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Tutorial

Malaria: Human Host:


When a malaria-carrying mosquito bites a human host, the malaria parasite enters the bloodstream, multiplies in the liver cells, and is then released back into the bloodstream, where it infects and destroys red blood cells. This animation will help you to understand the process of malarial infection.

Type: Tutorial

Video/Audio/Animation

Birds of Paradise: Competition among birds:

This video shows mating displays and courtship behavior of Birds of Paradise. These birds display bright colors and visually stunning behaviors during courtship. 

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.