P. 1
Lecture the Biosphere

Lecture the Biosphere

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The Biosphere

Part 1 Biomes

The Order of Things .  

Subatomic Particles Atoms molecules macromolecules Organelles Cells tissues Organs Organisms (Ecological Order ) Populations Communities Ecosystems Biomes Biosphere

The study of the distribution of organisms and the processes that underlie distribution patterns (a central question ± evolutionary and ecological answer -

Biogeographic Realms

Factors that Affect Distribution 

Geologic history Topography Climate Species interactions


Sum total of the places in which organisms live 

Includes portions of the hydrosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere


Average weather condition in a region Affected by: 

amount of incoming solar radiation prevailing winds elevation precipitation

Climagraph, San Diego, CA

More Climagraphs

Fig. 5.4

The Atmosphere 

Three layers 

Outer mesosphere Middle stratosphere (includes ozone layer) Inner troposphere (where air is warmed by the greenhouse effect)  

Earth s Atmosphere

Ozone Layer 

Region 17 to 27 kilometers above sea level in the stratosphere Molecules of ozone absorb most layers of ultraviolet light Protects living organisms from excess exposure to UV light
2O3 (ozone)  

3O2 -

Warming the Atmosphere 

Solar energy warms the atmosphere and sets global air circulation patterns in motion

Figure 49.4 Page 890

Rotation and Wind Direction 

Earth rotates faster under the air at the equator than it does at the poles Deflection east and west
Figure 49.4 Page 890 

Global Wind Patterns

Trade winds, doldrums, and horse latitudes Red Arrows Indicate Very Strong Winds

Seasonal Variation 

Northern end of Earth s axis tilts toward sun in June and away in December Difference in tilt causes differences in sunlight intensity and day length The greater the distance from the equator, the more pronounced the seasonal changes  

Earth s Axis Tilts

Ocean Currents 

Upper waters move in currents that distribute nutrients and affect regional climates

Figure 49.6 Page 892

Rain Shadow 

Air rises on the windward side, loses moisture before passing over the mountain

Figure 49.7 Page 893


A monsoon is defined as a seasonal shift in wind direction, being derived from the Arabic word "mausim", meaning season. Affect continents north and south of warmwater oceans 

Can cause seasonal variation in rains

Air Moves from Cool to Warm Regions

Coastal Breezes 

Breeze blows in direction of warmer region Direction varies with time of day


Figure 49.8 Page 893

Biogeographic Realms 

Eight areas in which plants and animals are somewhat similar 

Maintain their identity because of climate and physical barriers that tend to maintain isolation between species

Biogeographic Realms


Regions of land characterized by habitat conditions and community structure Distinctive biomes prevail at certain latitudes and elevations A biogeographic realm generally composed of many biomes

Fig. 5.2

Olympic NP  

The most famous temperate rainforest is in the Olympic National Park of Washington state. It is locates on the western slope of an Olympic mountain where it gets about 200 inches of rain per year.

Temperate Rainforest Great Smoky Mountains NP  

Each 1,000 feet of elevation gained is the equivalent of moving 250 miles north. This creates a temperature gradient combined with additional precipitation (GT 100 inches per year) classifies small sections of the Park as a temperate rainforest.


Forests in the Great Smoky Mountains     

Five forest types dominate the Great Smoky Mountains. The spruce-fir forest caps the Park's highest elevations. (4500 5500 ft) A northern hardwood forest dominates the middle to upper elevations from 3,500- 5,000 feet. Drier ridges in and around the Park hold a pine-oak forest. A hemlock forest often grows along stream banks. The cove hardwood forest lines the valleys throughout the Park.

Fig. 5.3

Hot Spots 

Portions of biomes that show the greatest biodiversity Conservationists are working to inventory and protect these regions 24 hot spots hold more than half of all terrestrial species  

Conservation International s Definition 

Conservation International defines hotspots as "regions that harbor a great diversity of endemic species and, at the same time, have been significantly impacted and altered by human activities."

Hotspots Map



Large areas of globally important biomes or water provinces Currently vulnerable to extinction Targeted by World Wildlife Fund for special study and conservation efforts  

WWF global 2000 Project 

WWF has ranked the terrestrial Global 200 ecoregions by their conservation status classifying those ecoregions that are considered critical, endangered, or vulnerable as a result of direct human impacts, and those that are relatively stable or intact. Nearly half (47%) of the terrestrial ecoregions are considered critical or endangered; another quarter (29%) are vulnerable; and only a quarter (24%) are relatively stable of intact.


Map of WWF s Ecoregions

Soil Characteristics 

Amount of humus pH Degree of aeration Ability to hold or drain water Mineral content

Soil Profiles 

Layer structure of soil Soil characteristics determine what plants will grow and how well




Figure 49.12 Page 896


Less than 10 centimeters annual rainfall, high level of evaporation Tend to occur at 30 degrees north and south and in rain shadows One-third of land surface is arid or semiarid  

Sonoran Desert

Temperate Grasslands
Precipitation less than 60 centimeters per year and greater than 10 cm per year Temperature range -5 to 20 C0 (usually)


Dry Shrublands and Woodlands 

Semiarid regions with cooler, wet winters and hot, dry summers Tend to occur in western or southern coastal regions between latitudes of 30 and 40 degrees 

Dry Scrubland


A savanna is a rolling grassland, dotted with trees, which can be found between a tropical rainforest and desert biomes. There are actually two very different seasons in a savanna; a very dry season (winter), and a very wet season (summer). 


Map of Savannas

African Savanna

Forest Biomes
Tall trees form a continuous canopy 

Evergreen broadleaves in tropical latitudes Deciduous broadleaves in most temperate latitudes Evergreen conifers at high temperate elevations and at high latitudes 

Evergreen Broadleaf Tropical Forest

Temperate Deciduous Forest

Evergreen Forest, Pacific Coast


Biome that borders the artic tundra Few trees Most common tree is the black spruce Can be considered an ecotone Low bio - productivity and diversity



Arctic Tundra 

Occurs at high latitudes Permafrost lies beneath surface
Do not post on Internet Arctic tundra in Russia in summer Figure 49.19 Page 903  

Nutrient cycling is very slow

Alpine Tundra   

Occurs at high elevations No underlying permafrost Plants are low cushions or mats as in Arctic tundra

Do not post on Internet Figure 49.19 Page 903

The Biosphere
Part 2 Aquatic Ecosystems


Bodies of standing freshwater Eutrophic: shallow, nutrient-rich, has high primary productivity Oligotrophic: deep, nutrient-poor, has low primary productivity Lake Zonation 


LITTORAL Figure 49.21 Page 904

Thermal Layering 

In temperate-zone lakes, water can form distinct layers during summer


Figure 49.22 Page 904

Seasonal Overturn 

In spring and fall, temperatures in the lake become more uniform Oxygen-rich surface waters mix with deeper oxygen-poor layers Nutrients that accumulated at bottom are brought to the surface  


Enrichment of a body of water with nutrients Can occur naturally over long time span Can be triggered by pollutants  


Begin as springs or seeps Carry nutrients downstream

Do not post on Internet 

Solute concentrations influenced by streambed composition and human activities Figure 49.23
Page 905

Ocean Provinces
neritic zone intertidal zone continental shelf bathyal shelf PELAGIC PROVINCE 0 200 1,000 abyssal zone hadal zone deep-sea trenches 11,0000 depth (meters) 2,000 4,000 oceanic zone


Figure 49.24 Page 906


Floating or weakly swimming photoautotrophs; form the base for most oceanic food webs 

Ultraplankton are photosynthetic bacteria

Plankton Nets

Diatoms and Dinoflagellates

Primary Productivity 

Primary producers are usually the phytoplankton Productivity can vary seasonally
north polar 

north temperate


Figure 49.25 Page 906

Deep Ocean Food Webs 

Regions too dark for photosynthesis Marine snow supports a detrital food web Organic matter drifts down from shallower water Diverse species migrate up and down in water column daily

Hydrothermal Vents  

Openings in ocean floor that spew mineral-rich, superheated water Primary producers are chemoautotrophic bacteria; use sulfides as energy source

Do not post on Internet

Tube worms at hydrothermal vent Figure 49.26 Page 907

Mangrove Wetlands 

Tropical saltwater ecosystem Form in nutrient-rich tidal flats Dominant plants are salt-tolerant mangroves Florida, Southeast Asia (25 ° N/S latitude) 

Red Mangroves

Mangrove Ecosystem

Where the Rivers meet the Sea: 5. Mangroves (Video) 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SM M7x7qKE4


Partially enclosed area where saltwater and freshwater mix Dominated by salt-tolerant plants Examples are Chesapeake Bay, San Francisco Bay, salt marshes of New England 

Estuarine Food Webs 

Primary producers are phytoplankton and salt-tolerant plants Much primary production enters detrital food webs Detritus feeds bacteria, nematodes, snails, crabs, fish  

Intertidal Zones 

Littoral zone is submerged only during highest tides of the year Midlittoral zone is regularly submerged and exposed Lower littoral is exposed only during lowest tides of the year  

Rocky Intertidal 

Grazing food webs prevail Vertical zonation is readily apparent Diversity is greatest in lower littoral zone
Figure 49.29 Page 909 Do not post on Internet  

Sandy Coastlines 

Vertical zonation is less obvious than along rocky shores 

Detrital food webs predominate



Beach Processes  

Sandy beaches form by the accretion of sand particles, the product of erosion, which have been carried in and deposited by waves. Once it forms, a beach changes continuously. Winds are constantly blowing the sand - often in the opposite direction of the waves.



Accretion: the process of growth or enlargement by gradual buildup. Barrier islands grow through the process of accretion. Currents wash the sand from the northern end of the island and deposit it on the southern tip.

The growth of the islands in this manner causes the islands to migrate up and down the coast. Jekyll Island is migrating south toward Florida.


Erosion: Erosion: the process or state of being slowly worn away. Soil is eroded by wind and water .

Biotic Factors 

Crabs and other animals are moving sand from the bottom up as they emerge from their burrows. Crabs can move several tons of sand in one day

http://www.amyingalls.net/jekyll/pages/beach/sandy_b.html THE GHOST CRAB, Ocypode quadrata

Beach Dynamics  

Through the seasons, the waves constantly rework the sand and reshape the beach. During spring and summer, gentle waves deposit sand onto the beach platform forming a broad sandy slope called a berm.

Summer Sand Accretion 

During the summer, the gentle waves build up sand on the beach platform.

A berm is a narrow shelf or ledge of sand and debris running parallel to the beach. It is made by the building up, or accretion, of sand.

Winter Sand Removal   

Through the seasons, the waves constantly rework the sand and reshape the beach. During the Winter, storms often remove sand from the berm. The Southerly long shore current tends to move the entire barrier island southward.

Sand Dunes 

Sand dunes are vital to the barrier island ecosystem. They provide shelter for shorebirds and sea turtles.

Dune Sand Reservoirs   

Dunes also provide the necessary sand supply for the constantly changing beach. This supply of sand helps to control beach erosion - a problem many beaches experience. Sand dunes provide the first line of defense from severe storms and hurricanes.

Dune Zonation  

There are three different zones in the sand dunes: primary dunes, secondary dunes, and the interdune meadow. As the dunes get older, they migrate back toward the maritime forest.

Interdune Meadows  

Between the dunes in a interdune meadow, water will begin to collect. If there is enough soil to hold this water, a swamp will form. These swamps are called sloughs (pronounced slews).

Role of Freshwater   

Because they are far enough back from the ocean, sloughs contain fresh, and not salt water. Fresh water allows more animals and plants to live and grow. If enough time passes, the slough will find itself in a maritime forest.

Later, alligator - 9-footer comes ashore on St. Simons
Fri, Aug 23, 2002 By KAREN SLOAN The Brunswick News Tourists were not the only ones who wanted to enjoy the sun and surf on the beach near the old U.S. Coast Guard Station on St. Simons Island Thursday. A 9-foot alligator was found about 10 a.m. lingering in the waters about 20 feet from the beach .


Read the Beach ,127 (Video) 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU7 hAZB1ATo

Upward movement of water along a coast; replaces surface waters that move away from shore
Figure 49.31 Page 910


El Nino Southern Oscillation Climactic event that involves changes in sea surface temperature and air circulation patterns in the equatorial Pacific Ocean (Western Pacific waters become warmer)

Between ENSOs 

Warm water and heavy rainfall move west across the Pacific Warm moist air rises in the western Pacific causing storms Upwelling of cool water along western coasts  

During an ENSO 

Trade winds weaken and warm water flows east across the Pacific Sea surface temperatures rise Upwelling along western coasts ceases Heavy rainfall occurs along coasts, droughts elsewhere 


Cholera Connection 

Cholera outbreaks correlate with rises in sea temperature Copepod population increases when phytoplankton increase in warming seas
Do not post on Internet Copepod host of Vibrio cholerae harbors dormant stage Figure 49.34 Page 913 

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