ECOSYSTEM PDF FILE
PDF | Environment involves both living organisms and the In the subject of ecology, the term ecosystem refers to the environment of life. species (population ecology); between organisms of different species ( community ecology); and between (New York, NY: Wildlife Conservation Society, July ), resourceone.info Ecology_of_NE_Coyotes. pdf, pp. 17– An ecosystem is a community of living and non-living things that work together – it parts of an ecosystem are: water, water temperature, plants, animals, air.
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ecosystem is referred to as its biotic component. Ecosystems are divided into terrestrial or land- based ecosystems, and aquatic ecosystems in. DIFFERENT TYPES OF ECOSYSTEM: Ecosystem is an open system and Biotic Components: The living organisms present in an ecosystem form the biotic. An ecosystem can be visualised as a functional unit of nature, where living organisms interact among themselves and also with the surrounding physical.
The ecosystem relates to the way that all these different organisms live in close proximity to each other and how they interact with each other.
For instance, in an ecosystem where there are both rabbits and foxes, these two creatures are in a relationship where the fox eats the rabbit in order to survive. This relationship has a knock on effect with the other creatures and plants that live in the same or similar areas. For instance, the more rabbits that foxes eat, the more the plants may start to thrive because there are fewer rabbits to eat them. These biotic and abiotic components are regarded as linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows.
What is an Ecosystem?
As ecosystems are defined by the network of interactions among organisms, and between organisms and their environment, they can be of any size but usually encompass specific, limited spaces although some scientists say that the entire planet is an ecosystem.
Ecosystems can be huge, with many hundreds of different animals and plants all living in a delicate balance, or they could be relatively small. In particularly harsh places in the world, particularly the North and South Poles, the ecosystems are relatively simple because there are only a few types of creatures that can withstand the freezing temperatures and harsh living conditions. Some creatures can be found in multiple different ecosystems all over the world in different relationships with other or similar creatures.
Ecosystems also consist of creatures that mutually benefit from each other. For instance, a popular example is that of the clown fish and the anemone — the clown fish cleans the anemone and keeps it safe from parasites as the anemone stings bigger predators that would otherwise eat clown fish. Earth as an ecosystem stands out in the all of the universe. An ecosystem can be destroyed by a stranger.
The stranger could be rise in temperature or rise in sea level or climate change. The stranger can affect the natural balance and can harm or destroy the ecosystem. Its a bit unfortunate but ecosystems have been destroyed and vanished by man-made activities like deforestation , urbanization and natural activities like floods, storms, fires or volcanic eruptions.
At a basic functional level, ecosystem generally contains primary producers plants capable of harvesting energy from the sun through the process called photosynthesis. This energy then flows through the food chain.
Next come consumers. Consumers could be primary consumers herbivores or secondary consumers carnivores. These consumers feed on the captured energy. Decomposers work at the bottom of the food chain.
Prior treatment with heat shock attenuates the stress response in isolated working rat hearts. Biochem Cell Biol. Aquatic insects and trace metals: bioavailability, bioaccumulation, and toxicity. Crit Rev Toxicol. Influence of temperature. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. Bioaccumulation and bioamplification of mercury compounds in a second level consumer, Gambusia affinis--temperature effects. Evelyn Hutchinson , a limnologist who was a contemporary of Tansley's, combined Charles Elton 's ideas about trophic ecology with those of Russian geochemist Vladimir Vernadsky.
As a result, he suggested that mineral nutrient availability in a lake limited algal production.
This would, in turn, limit the abundance of animals that feed on algae. Raymond Lindeman took these ideas further to suggest that the flow of energy through a lake was the primary driver of the ecosystem. Hutchinson's students, brothers Howard T. Odum and Eugene P. Odum , further developed a "systems approach" to the study of ecosystems.
This allowed them to study the flow of energy and material through ecological systems. Ecosystems are controlled both by external and internal factors. External factors, also called state factors, control the overall structure of an ecosystem and the way things work within it, but are not themselves influenced by the ecosystem.
The most important of these is climate. Rainfall patterns and seasonal temperatures influence photosynthesis and thereby determine the amount of water and energy available to the ecosystem.
Parent material determines the nature of the soil in an ecosystem, and influences the supply of mineral nutrients. Topography also controls ecosystem processes by affecting things like microclimate , soil development and the movement of water through a system.
For example, ecosystems can be quite different if situated in a small depression on the landscape, versus one present on an adjacent steep hillside. Other external factors that play an important role in ecosystem functioning include time and potential biota. Similarly, the set of organisms that can potentially be present in an area can also significantly affect ecosystems.
Ecosystems in similar environments that are located in different parts of the world can end up doing things very differently simply because they have different pools of species present. Unlike external factors, internal factors in ecosystems not only control ecosystem processes but are also controlled by them. Consequently, they are often subject to feedback loops. Primary production is the production of organic matter from inorganic carbon sources. This mainly occurs through photosynthesis. The energy incorporated through this process supports life on earth, while the carbon makes up much of the organic matter in living and dead biomass, soil carbon and fossil fuels.
It also drives the carbon cycle , which influences global climate via the greenhouse effect. Through the process of photosynthesis, plants capture energy from light and use it to combine carbon dioxide and water to produce carbohydrates and oxygen. The photosynthesis carried out by all the plants in an ecosystem is called the gross primary production GPP.
These include the amount of light available, the amount of leaf area a plant has to capture light shading by other plants is a major limitation of photosynthesis , rate at which carbon dioxide can be supplied to the chloroplasts to support photosynthesis, the availability of water, and the availability of suitable temperatures for carrying out photosynthesis.
Energy and carbon enter ecosystems through photosynthesis , are incorporated into living tissue, transferred to other organisms that feed on the living and dead plant matter, and eventually released through respiration. The carbon and energy incorporated into plant tissues net primary production is either consumed by animals while the plant is alive, or it remains uneaten when the plant tissue dies and becomes detritus.
The remainder is either consumed by animals while still alive and enters the plant-based trophic system, or it is consumed after it has died, and enters the detritus-based trophic system.
In aquatic systems , the proportion of plant biomass that gets consumed by herbivores is much higher. The organisms that consume their tissues are called primary consumers or secondary producers — herbivores.
Organisms which feed on microbes bacteria and fungi are termed microbivores. Animals that feed on primary consumers— carnivores —are secondary consumers. Each of these constitutes a trophic level. The sequence of consumption—from plant to herbivore, to carnivore—forms a food chain. Real systems are much more complex than this—organisms will generally feed on more than one form of food, and may feed at more than one trophic level.
Carnivores may capture some prey which are part of a plant-based trophic system and others that are part of a detritus-based trophic system a bird that feeds both on herbivorous grasshoppers and earthworms, which consume detritus. Real systems, with all these complexities, form food webs rather than food chains. The carbon and nutrients in dead organic matter are broken down by a group of processes known as decomposition. This releases nutrients that can then be re-used for plant and microbial production and returns carbon dioxide to the atmosphere or water where it can be used for photosynthesis.
In the absence of decomposition, the dead organic matter would accumulate in an ecosystem, and nutrients and atmospheric carbon dioxide would be depleted. Decomposition processes can be separated into three categories— leaching , fragmentation and chemical alteration of dead material. As water moves through dead organic matter, it dissolves and carries with it the water-soluble components.
Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment
These are then taken up by organisms in the soil, react with mineral soil, or are transported beyond the confines of the ecosystem and are considered lost to it. Leaching is more important in wet environments and much less important in dry ones.
Fragmentation processes break organic material into smaller pieces, exposing new surfaces for colonization by microbes. Freshly shed leaf litter may be inaccessible due to an outer layer of cuticle or bark , and cell contents are protected by a cell wall.
Newly dead animals may be covered by an exoskeleton. Fragmentation processes, which break through these protective layers, accelerate the rate of microbial decomposition. Freeze-thaw cycles and cycles of wetting and drying also fragment dead material. The chemical alteration of the dead organic matter is primarily achieved through bacterial and fungal action.
Fungal hyphae produce enzymes which can break through the tough outer structures surrounding dead plant material. They also produce enzymes which break down lignin , which allows them access to both cell contents and to the nitrogen in the lignin. Fungi can transfer carbon and nitrogen through their hyphal networks and thus, unlike bacteria, are not dependent solely on locally available resources.
Decomposition rates vary among ecosystems. It also affects soil moisture, which slows microbial growth and reduces leaching. Freeze-thaw cycles also affect decomposition—freezing temperatures kill soil microorganisms, which allows leaching to play a more important role in moving nutrients around.
This can be especially important as the soil thaws in the spring, creating a pulse of nutrients which become available. Decomposition rates are low under very wet or very dry conditions. Decomposition rates are highest in wet, moist conditions with adequate levels of oxygen. Wet soils tend to become deficient in oxygen this is especially true in wetlands , which slows microbial growth.
In dry soils, decomposition slows as well, but bacteria continue to grow albeit at a slower rate even after soils become too dry to support plant growth. Ecosystems continually exchange energy and carbon with the wider environment.
Mineral nutrients, on the other hand, are mostly cycled back and forth between plants, animals, microbes and the soil.
Most nitrogen enters ecosystems through biological nitrogen fixation , is deposited through precipitation, dust, gases or is applied as fertilizer. Since most terrestrial ecosystems are nitrogen-limited, nitrogen cycling is an important control on ecosystem production.
Until modern times, nitrogen fixation was the major source of nitrogen for ecosystems. Nitrogen-fixing bacteria either live symbiotically with plants or live freely in the soil. Many members of the legume plant family support nitrogen-fixing symbionts.
Some cyanobacteria are also capable of nitrogen fixation. These are phototrophs , which carry out photosynthesis. Like other nitrogen-fixing bacteria, they can either be free-living or have symbiotic relationships with plants.
When plant tissues are shed or are eaten, the nitrogen in those tissues becomes available to animals and microbes. Microbial decomposition releases nitrogen compounds from dead organic matter in the soil, where plants, fungi, and bacteria compete for it.
Some soil bacteria use organic nitrogen-containing compounds as a source of carbon, and release ammonium ions into the soil. This process is known as nitrogen mineralization. Others convert ammonium to nitrite and nitrate ions, a process known as nitrification.
Nitric oxide and nitrous oxide are also produced during nitrification. Other important nutrients include phosphorus , sulfur , calcium , potassium , magnesium and manganese. As ecosystems age this supply diminishes, making phosphorus-limitation more common in older landscapes especially in the tropics. Although magnesium and manganese are produced by weathering, exchanges between soil organic matter and living cells account for a significant portion of ecosystem fluxes.
Potassium is primarily cycled between living cells and soil organic matter. Biodiversity plays an important role in ecosystem functioning. The nature of the organisms—the species, functional groups and trophic levels to which they belong—dictates the sorts of actions these individuals are capable of carrying out and the relative efficiency with which they do so.
Ecological theory suggests that in order to coexist, species must have some level of limiting similarity —they must be different from one another in some fundamental way, otherwise one species would competitively exclude the other. The addition or loss of species which are ecologically similar to those already present in an ecosystem tends to only have a small effect on ecosystem function.While ecosystem management can be used as part of a plan for wilderness conservation, it can also be used in intensively managed ecosystems  see, for example, agroecosystem and close to nature forestry.
In two of these the very base of the food chain is plankton, just as it is in freshwater ecosystems. Keystone species tend to have an effect on ecosystem function that is disproportionate to their abundance in an ecosystem. Down in the deepest depths of the ocean, therefore, creatures have adapted very strangely and are amongst some of the most fascination and the most terrifying and intriguing living creatures on Earth. Such disturbances can cause large changes in plant, animal and microbe populations, as well soil organic matter content.
The Need for Ecosystem-Scale Experiments". The remainder is either consumed by animals while still alive and enters the plant-based trophic system, or it is consumed after it has died, and enters the detritus-based trophic system.
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