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Interactions among species

The Cumberland Plain Woodland at the Australian Botanic Garden has a variety of habitats for particular plants and animals.

Interactions among species

Habitats

A habitat is the home of a plant, animal or other living thing which provides for the living thing’s needs: shelter, food, water and space to interact with other organisms.

The Cumberland Plain Woodland at the Australian Botanic Garden has a variety of habitats and microhabitats for particular plant and animal species. These are due to soil types, topography (slope) or past management practices. A variety of habitats increases biodiversity.

View the variety of habitats and animals that use them in the Habitat Image Gallery on the page Habitats Within the Woodland.

Web of life

All living things have relationships that link them together and enable them to survive. This can be described as the ‘web of life’. 

Interactions between plants and animals may be simple one-way activities, such as an animal eating a plant, two-way relationships or more complex interactions. 

An example of a two-way interaction is an animal feeding from nectar in a flower and pollinating the plant. Another example is ants that help disperse seeds for a native daisy in the woodland. The seed has an oil-rich food body that attracts certain ants. The ants carry these seeds away to their nests, eat off the food bodies, and discard the seeds in or on the soil, ready to germinate at the next suitable time.



Ecologists work to understand the interactions of living organisms with each other and with their environment. Read about animal-plant interactions in the Cumberland Plain Woodland on the Wildlife in the Woodland page.

Woodland wildlife

Birds are the most conspicuous animals of the Cumberland Plain Woodland. Mammals include wallaroos and swamp wallabies which are mostly seen at dawn and dusk. Frogs might be heard in the ponds. Reptiles such as the bearded dragon, blue-tongue lizard and red-bellied black snakes may be seen early on warm sunny days.
 
Invertebrates also inhabit the woodland. Butterflies are common on warm summer days, moths are mostly nocturnal. Colourful beetles may be seen on the plants, along with flies, wasps, bees and ants. Cicadas may be heard high in the trees and spider webs are strung between plants. Other invertebrates include worms and snails, including the Cumberland Land Snail. 

View the video Abundant Life (1:45min) for an introduction to the wildlife of the woodland.

For more comprehensive galleries of photographs, browse the  Wildlife in the Woodland image galleries.

View some of the animals and species interactions in the Woodland Wildlife image gallery below.

Interactions among species activities

  • Construct flowcharts to represent one way and two-way species interactions in the woodland. Create a cartoon to illustrate an example of a two-way interaction between woodland plants and animals.
  • Field journals are used by ecologists to record observations, events and sightings in nature. These can be described in words, sketches, data tables and diagrams. An example of sketches and a written recount is in A year in the woodland. Create pencil sketches of a plant and an animal in the Cumberland Plain Woodland observed in the photograph galleries, videos or 360º virtual woodland experience. Add field notes on each of the species.
  • Apply systems thinking to construct a web of life for at least six woodland plants and animals. Use lines to represent the connections, creating a web of interactions. Bring the web to life, taking on role as the animal and plant species and using string for connections. Verbalise the connections as they are made. What happens to the web if a species is lost?
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