This lesson plan, inspired by the video Vultures: India's Clean-Up Crew, examines the role of vultures in an ecosystem and dives deeper into the roles of scavengers and decomposers in general. In addition, the lesson explores the concept of niche replacement within an ecosystem and looks closely at the niches of animals that are often overlooked, like those of scavengers or parasites.
In Part 1, students learn about the cause and consequences of the vulture population decline in India. In Part 2, students examine Colony Collapse Disorder in bees and determine if there are suitable organisms to fill the role of honeybees. In Part 3, students discuss the role of mosquitoes in several ecosystems and to use their understanding of niches to discuss the consequences of a world without mosquitoes.