​Lonesome Historic Site


2006 TN-96  •  Burns, TN 37029  •  206-953-2766

Copyright © Lonesome Historic Site. All rights reserved.

Science Station 1: Interdependence

Ecology is the study of the relationships between different forms of life and nature. All living things here at Lonesome are dependent on both nature and each other for their survival. This is called ecological interdependence and it can take many forms.

The most easily understood method of ecological interdependence is a tough one: living things eat other living things to survive. Hawks here at Lonesome eat mice and other small animals to survive. Humans killed deer to eat and survive when Lonesome was being built. 

Mutualistic relationships evolved over time. In these relationships, the two species involved benefit from their interaction. For example, bees and flowers rely on one another. The bee gathers nectar from the flower and makes it into honey for food. Pollen attaches to the body of the bee. When the bee visits the next flower, pollen rubs off and pollinates the flower helping the flowers reproduce.

Many animals create their own shelter that creates habitats for other species. When Lonesome beavers construct dams in the creek they create habitats for other species. Beaver dams create a slow-moving pond of water. This allows species of fish that cannot live in fast-moving water to survive, and the beavers get to eat the fish. The creation of a slow moving body of water allows nutrients that would otherwise wash downstream to settle. This nutrient-rich water supports the growth of new plant life that allows other species to thrive.

Ecological interdependence can happen when a species helps build the Earth's atmosphere. Most living organisms on Earth require oxygen to survive. Plants produce oxygen and consume carbon dioxide. Without plants, oxygen would be rapidly depleted and carbon dioxide levels would rise, destroying life on Earth.

Everything here at Lonesome is dependent on nature and each other for survival.