You are on page 1of 97

The Biosphere

The Order of Things….

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

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
 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
Climagraph, San Diego, CA
More Climagraphs
Fig. 5.4
The Atmosphere

 Three layers
 Outer mesosphere

 Middle stratosphere (includes ozone


 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
3O2 - 2O3 (ozone)
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
 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

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 warm-
water oceans
 Can cause seasonal variation in rains
Air Moves from Cool to Warm
Coastal Breezes
 Breeze blows in direction of warmer region
 Direction varies with time of day

Afternoon Night

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
 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

 Five forest types dominate the Great Smoky

 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
 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
 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
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
 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

Rainforest Desert Grassland

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
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
Map of Savannas
African Savanna
Forest Biomes
Tall trees form a continuous canopy
 Evergreen broadleaves in tropical
 Deciduous broadleaves in most
temperate latitudes
 Evergreen conifers at high temperate
elevations and at high latitudes
Evergreen Broadleaf Tropical
Temperate Deciduous Forest
Evergreen Forest, Pacific
 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
 Permafrost lies
beneath Do not post
on Internet
Arctic tundra in Russia in summer

 Nutrient Figure 49.19

Page 903
cycling is very
Alpine Tundra
 Occurs at high
 No underlying
 Plants are low
cushions or mats as
in Arctic tundra Do not post
on Internet
Figure 49.19
Page 903

 Bodies of standing freshwater

 Eutrophic: shallow, nutrient-rich, has
high primary productivity
 Oligotrophic: deep, nutrient-poor, has
low primary productivity
Lake Zonation
PROFUNDAL 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

 Can occur naturally over long time span

 Can be triggered by pollutants


 Begin as springs
or seeps
 Carry nutrients Do not post
on Internet
 Solute concentrations influenced by
streambed composition and human
activities Figure 49.23
Page 905
Ocean Provinces
neritic oceanic
zone zone
continental a te r
shelf lit w ater
su ht" w
0 ilig
200 "t w
bathyal PELAGIC
shelf wa
PROVINCE 1,000 n les
hadal zone

Figure 49.24 trenches 11,0000
Page 906 depth (meters)

 Floating or weakly swimming

photoautotrophs; form the base for
most oceanic food webs

 Ultraplankton are photosynthetic

Plankton Nets
Diatoms and Dinoflagellates
Primary Productivity
 Primary producers are usually the
 Productivity can vary seasonally
north temperate
north polar


Figure 49.25
Page 906
Deep Ocean Food Webs
 Regions too dark for photosynthesis
 Marine snow supports a detrital food
 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, Do not post
superheated water on Internet

 Primary producers are

bacteria; use sulfides as
energy source
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
 Florida, Southeast Asia
 Partially enclosed area where
saltwater and freshwater mix
 Dominated by salt-tolerant plants
 Examples are Chesapeake Bay, San
Francisco Bay, salt marshes of New
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
 Grazing food webs
 Vertical zonation is
readily apparent
 Diversity is greatest
in lower littoral zone Do not post
Figure 49.29 on Internet
Page 909
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: 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
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
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
 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
Dune Zonation
 There are three different zones in the
sand dunes: primary dunes,
secondary dunes, and the interdune
 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

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….
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
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
Do not post
increases when on Internet
phytoplankton Copepod host of Vibrio cholerae
increase in warming harbors dormant stage

seas Figure 49.34

Page 913