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Chapter 47: Ecosystems 47.

1 The Nature of Ecosystems: - Definiton of Ecosystems: array of organisms and their physical enviorment, interactint througha one-way flow of energy and a cycling of materials required to sustain life; a localized group of interdependent organisms together with the environment that they inhabit and depend on -Enegry inputs to most ecosystems is in the form of sunlight -Over time Energy transfers are not as effective because of some of the energy originally gathered by producers escaping to the environment through loss of heat - Organisms that make up the system are producers (autotropshs), consumers (different kinds of heterotrophs) or decomposers. -Producers provide the energy, Consumers use the energy provided to survive, Decomposers break down the materials in the waste and dead bodies and recycle them back to the producers -An producer (autotroph) is an organism that makes its own food from inorganic substances. They get hydrogen, oxygen and carbon atoms from water and carbon dioxide in their enviorment -A consumer (heterotroph) is the organisms that obtain nutrients from other organisms. -A decomposer is an organism of decay that breaks down the remains of dead animals and plants, releasing the substances that can be used by other members of the ecosystem. (recycle nutrients in dead organisms and their wastes) -Consumers can be divided into catagories by their diet: herbivores (eat plants), carnivores (eat flesh), parasites (feed off their hosts), omnivores/scavengers (feed off both plants and animals), detritivores (feeds on decaying plant and animal matter) -Organisms of an ecosystem are classified by their trophic levels (functional roles in a hierarchy of feeding relationshops) Who eats whom? -Autotrophs are always at the bottom 1st trophic level, then followed by herbivores the primary consumers of autotrophs, 2nd level carnivores follow herbivores and so on. -A food chain is a straight line sequence of steps by which energy stored in autotrophs moves to higher trophic levels. (An illustration of how trophic levels work)

-Food webs also depict the movement of energy thought trophic levels but in cross connected illustrations instead of a straight line like food chains. 47. 2 Food Webs -Plants capture energy from the sun, use some for metabolism, store about half of it in new plant tissues while the rest in lost as metabolic heat. -Consumers tap into energy that is stored in plant tissues, remains and wasters and also lose metabolic heat. -The inefficiency of energy transfers can limit the sequence of food chains/webs. -food webs tend to be shortest where enviormental conditions vary widely , while food chains are longer where habitats are more stable. -Food webs with fewer connections usually have more carnivores, and the most complex webs are usually primary full of herbivores. - Two catagories of food webs: grazing food web (energy flows mostly into hebirvores, carnivores then decomposers) and detrital food web (energy from producers flows mainly into detritivores and decomposers) -In nearly all ecosystems both webs cross connect. - The amount of energy that moves through the two kinds of food webs differs among ecosystems and often varies with the seasons. 47. 3 Biological Magnification in Food Webs -Biological Magnification: the increasing concentration of toxic substances within each successive link in the food chain -Researchers are working to identify all the indentifying all the interacting factors that determine an ecosystems processes and patterns -They gather info thorugh direct observations, satellite imaging and othe remote sensing devices and tests. -This information helps them to predict how ecosystems will react to forces of change such as toxins like pesticides -DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) was first sprayed to kill budworm larvae and control Dutch Elm disease, in both cases in affected other animals of the ecosystems. Songbirds and fish died and new pest even moved in to replace what the DDT had destroyed

an insectide is extremely effective against malaria carrying mosquitoes but due to its stable hydrocarbon it is persistant in staying in an environment -DDT is highly soluable in fats and accumulates very easily in the tissues of organisms -The side of effects of biological magnification of the DDT stated to show in habitats far removed from the area where it was first applied and much later in time -Speies like brown pelicans, bald eagles, peregrine falcons and other top carnivores of food web faced extinction due to DDT interfering with physiological process. (Many chick embryos couldnt even hatch) -In the US, DDT is banned expect when necessary to protect public health -20years late DDT was from industrial waste that had closed 20yrs earlier was still contaminating an ecosystem -Ecologists also montieor radioisotopes and heavy metals like mercury, lead, copper and zinc. -The longer the food chain the greater the biological magnification 47.4 Studying Energy Flow Through Ecosystems Primary productivity- the rate at which produces capture and store energy during a given interval -It depends on: the amount of producers and the balance between photosynthesis Gross Primary Production: all enegy intialy trapped by producers Net primary production: fraction of trapped energy that produces funnel into growth and reproduction Net Ecosystem Production: the gross primary production minus the energy used by producers and soil detritivores and decomposers -The size and form of primary producers, the temperature range, abvaiblabilty of mineral ions and the amouht of sunlight and rainfall affect the amount energy gained and storage. -The hasher the season, the lower the primary productivity -Ecologists represent the trophic structure of an ecosystem usually though the form of an ecological pyramid -In pyramids primary producers form a base at the top of the tiers with consumers following below them

-Biomass pyramid depicts thedry weight of all of an ecosystems organisms at each tier ; it is measured in grams per sq. meter at a specific time -Enegry pyramids illustrate how the amount of usable energy decreases as it transferred thorugh an ecosystem 47.5 Overview of Biogeochemical Cycles - Biogeochemical Cycles: Essential elements (like nutrients such as oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and phosphourus) of living matter cycled though pathways. -Nutrients move into/out of ecosystems by way of natural geologic processes. -The quanity of a nutrient being cucled thorugh an ecosystem each year is usually greater thatn the amount entering and leaving -Decomposers (like prokaryotes) help recycle the nutrients in ecosystems. -There are three types of Biogeochemical Cycles: hydrologic cycle ( oxygen and hydrogen moves on a large scale in molecules of water), atmospheric cycles (some gaseous form of the nutrient is the one available to ecosystems), sedimentary cycles ( phosphourus and other solid nutrients that have non gaseous form; this is the slowest cycle and can take many years) 47.6 Hydrologic Cycle -Hydrologic Cycle: The continous movement of water from the atmosphere to the ocean through condensation, precipitaino, transpiration, evaporation, sublimation, percolation, runoff, etc. - Water moves nutrients into and out of ecosystems -Watershed: any region where precipitation flows into a single steream or river -Plants take up water from soil and lose it though transpiration 47.7 Watershed Experiments - The early ecosystem monitoring was aimed at studying the effects of forest management practices on water flow and quality. -In the hubbard Brrok Valley deforestation caused a shift in nutrient outputs. Calcium and other nutrients cycle slowly meaning that deforestation can disrupt the availability of of nutrients for an entire ecosystem. 47.8 A Global Water Crisis

-Where soils drains poors evaporation results in salinization ( build up of salt in soil that stunts crop plants and decreases yields) -Groundwater (water that flows or collects under the ground) is held by soil and aquifers -Inputs of sewage, animal waster and toxic chemicals oftern contaminate the groundwater which is a main source of drinking water for the US population -If the currentrates of human population growth and water depletion conitnute the amount of fresh water available for everyone will soon be 55 to 66 percent less than it was in 1976 -Desalization (removal of salt from seawater) may help meet out water needs, but the process if not cost effective for large scale agriculture and it will produce mountains of salt if done. 47.9 Carbon Cycle -Through the carbon cycle, carbon moves through the lower atmosphere and all food webs on its way to and from its large reservoirs. -Many single celled organisms of ancient aqutic habitats formed shells of calcium carbonate, carbon in their remains have been cycled exceedingly slowly -Most annual cycling take place between the ocean and atmosphere -Detritus in soils, methane hyrdrates, the ocean all contain carbon atoms -CO2 cannot all dissolve and escape into the atmosphere because it is contiously moving in a giant loop from the ocean surfaces to seafloors - CO2 is the key source of carbon for autotrophs and for food webs in ecosystems on land/sea. -When photosynthetic autotrops fix carbon, they lock up billons of metric tons of carbon atoms annually. Aerobic cells release CO 2 in aerobic respiration. Carbon Dioxide is also released when fossil fuels or forest burn and when volcanoes erupt. -Average time an ecosystem holds a given carbon atom varies because Organic Wastes like CO2 and remains decompose fast in tropical rain forest while bogs contain lots of accumulated carbon due to their low rate of decomposition. -many researchers suspect that the carbon build up is contributing to global warming. 47.10 Greenhouse gases, Global Warming

-Concentrations of a variety of gasesous molecules in Eaths atmosphere profoundly influence the average temperature near its surface. The increase of temperature has great effects on climate -Greenhouse gases known as Carbon dioxide, warer, nitous oxide, methan and chloroflourocarbons are among the main gases affecting global temp and consequentially Global Warming (long term increase in temp. near Earths surface). -Wavelengths of visible light pass thought those gases to Earths surface which absorbs them and then emits longer wavelengths of hear -Greenhouse gases hinder the escape of heat enegy into space -When Photosynthesis rates are highest carbon dioxide concentrations are found to be lower -The atmosphereic levels of greenhouse gases highest now most likely due to increasing burining of fossil fuels and other human activities 47.11 Nitrogen Cycle -Nitrogen cycle: the travel in an atmospgeric cycle of gaseuous nitrogen (N 2 ) -Nitrogen fixation: process by which nitrogen in the atmosphere is converted into compounds like ammonia NH3 -Many plantas absorb the converted nitrogen in the form of ammonia of ammonium -Nitrogen in plant tissues moves throught trophic levels of ecosystems and end up in nitrogen rich wasters and remains where it is recycled by decomposers. -Through the process of ammonificatino microbes break down nitrogenous material and ammonium forms. -1st step of nitrification: certain bacteria cause nitrate to form when electrons are stipped form ammonium -Ecosystems lose nitrogen through denitrification(process where bacteria convert nitrogen nitrate or nitrite to gaseous nitrogen or to nitrogen oxide; most bacteria anaerobic) -Human activites such as deforestation and grassland conversion for agriculture causes great nitrogen losses -Soil becomes more vulnerable to erosion and nitrogen in plant tissue continually decreases; farmers counter the nitrogen loss by rotating crops which keeps soil stable and productive

-High temperature and pressure converst nitrogen and hydrogen gases to ammoinia fertilizers which greatly increase crop yields -Although the fertilizers interrupt the pH deprendent process of ion exchange causing ions dissociate from soil particles and other ions in soil water replace them -Hydrogen ions in the fertilizer makes soil wate more acidic diplacing the ions neeed for plant growth -The most abundant exchanable ions are calcium and magnesium -Acid rain can have the same effect as fertilizer due to its heavy content of nitrogen 47.12 Sedimentary Cycles -Phosphorus cycle: phosphourus passes quickly thourgh food webs as it moves from land to ocean sediments then back to dry land -Phosphours in rock formations in mainly in the form of phosphate -Phosphates are required building blocks for ATP, phospholipids, nucleic acids and other compounds -Hydrologic cycle helps move phosphorus and other minerals thoruhg ecosystems -Many soils have phosphorus overloads while others have a deficit of it -Eutrophication: refers to the nutrient enrichment of any ecosystem that is otherwise low in nutrients, it is a process of natural succession. -Phosphourus inputs as from agriculture can acclearte the process