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ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE 13e

CHAPTER 3:
Ecosystems: What Are
They and How Do
They Work?

Core Case Study:
Tropical Rainforests Are Disappearing (1)
• Found near the equator
• 2% land surface
• ~50% world’s known terrestrial plant and
animal species
• ≥50% destroyed or disturbed by humans
– Cutting trees
– Growing crops
– Grazing cattle
– Building settlements

Core Case Study:
Tropical Rainforests Are Disappearing (2)
• Consequences of disappearing tropical
rainforests
1. Decreased biodiversity as species become
extinct
2. Accelerated global warming: fewer trees to
remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
3. Changes regional weather patterns: can lead
to increase in tropical grasslands

p. 39 . 3-1.Fig.

the hydrosphere (water). . the cycling of nutrients within the biosphere.3-1 What Keeps Us and Other Organisms Alive? • Concept 3-1A The four major components of the earth’s life-support system are the atmosphere (air). • Concept 3-1B Life is sustained by the flow of energy from the sun through the biosphere. and gravity. the geosphere (rock. sediment). and the biosphere (living things). soil.

Earth Has Four Major LifeSupport Components • • • • Atmosphere Hydrosphere Geosphere Biosphere .

p. 41 . 3-2.Fig.

3-2. p. mantle.Vegetation and animals Atmosphere Biosphere Soil Rock Lithosphere Crust Mantle Biosphere (living organisms) Core Mantle Atmosphere (air) Crust (soil and rock) Geosphere (crust. 41 . core) Hydrosphere (water) Fig.

Three Factors Sustain Life on Earth • One-way flow of high-quality energy from the sun • Cycling of matter or nutrients through parts of the biosphere • Gravity .

Solar Energy Reaching the Earth • Electromagnetic waves – Visible light – UV radiation – Heat • Natural greenhouse effect • Energy in = energy out • Human-enhanced global warming .

41 . p. 3-3.Fig.

41 . 3-3.Solar radiation Reflected by atmosphere UV radiation Most absorbed by ozone Radiated by atmosphere as heat Lower Stratosphere (ozone layer) Visible light Troposphere Heat Absorbed by the earth Heat radiated by the earth Greenhouse effect Fig. p.

and some recycle nutrients back to producers by decomposing the wastes and remains of organisms. others get the nutrients they need by consuming other organisms.3-2 What Are the Major Components of an Ecosystem? • Concept 3-2 Some organisms produce the nutrients they need. .

Ecology • How organisms interact with biotic and abiotic environment • Focuses on specific levels of matter: – Organisms – Populations – Communities – Ecosystems – Biosphere .

3-4. p.Fig. 42 .

p. 3-4.Biosphere Parts of the earth's air. 42 .water. and soil where life is found Ecosystem A community of different species interacting with one another and with their nonliving environment of matter and energy Community Populations of different species living in a particular place. and potentially interacting with each other Population A group of individuals of the same species living in a particular place Organism An individual living being Cell The fundamental structural and functional unit of life Molecule Chemical combination of two or more atoms of the same or different elements Atom Smallest unit of a chemical element that exhibits its chemical properties Water Hydrogen Oxygen Fig.

3-4.Biosphere Parts of the earth's air. and soil where life is found Ecosystem A community of different species interacting with one another and with their nonliving environment of matter and energy Community Populations of different species living in a particular place. 42 . and potentially interacting with each other Population A group of individuals of the same species living in a particular place Organism An individual living being Cell The fundamental structural and functional unit of life Molecule Chemical combination of two or more atoms of the same or different elements Atom Smallest unit of a chemical element that exhibits its chemical properties Stepped Art Fig. p.water.

Living and Nonliving Components (1) • Abiotic – Water – Air – Nutrients – Solar energy – Rocks – Heat .

Living and Nonliving Components (2) • Biotic – Plants – Animals – Microbes – Dead organisms – Waste products of dead organisms .

3-5.Fig. 43 . p.

43 . p. 3-5.Oxygen (O2) Precipitation Carbon dioxide (CO2) Producer Secondary consumer (fox) Primary consumer (rabbit) Producers Water Decomposers Soluble mineral nutrients Fig.

Trophic Levels (1) • Producers – autotrophs – Photosynthesis • Consumers – heterotrophs – Primary .herbivores – Secondary .carnivores – Third-level • Omnivores .

Trophic Levels (2) • Decomposers – Release nutrients from the dead bodies of plants and animals • Detrivores – Feed on the waste or dead bodies of organisms .

3-6. p.Fig. 44 .

44 .Detritus feeders Decomposers Carpenter Termite and Bark beetle ant galleries carpenter engraving Dry rot ant work Long-horned fungus beetle holes Wood reduced Mushroom to powder Time progression Powder broken down by decomposers into plant nutrients in soil Fig. 3-6. p.

Production and Consumption of Energy • Photosynthesis • Carbon dioxide + water + solar energy glucose + oxygen • Aerobic respiration • Glucose + oxygen  carbon dioxide + water + energy .

Energy Flow and Nutrient Recycling • Ecosystems sustained through: – One-way energy flow from the sun – Nutrient recycling .

Fig. p. 3-7. 45 .

Heat Abiotic chemicals (carbon dioxide. oxygen. 45 . p. nitrogen. fungi) Heat Solar energy Consumers (herbivores. minerals) Heat Heat Producers (plants) Decomposers (bacteria. 3-7. carnivores) Heat Fig.

Science Focus: Invisible Organisms (1) • Microorganisms/Microbes – Bacteria – Protozoa – Fungi – Phytoplankton .

Science Focus: Invisible Organisms (2) • Microbes can cause disease – Malaria – Athlete’s foot • Microbes are also beneficial – Intestinal flora – Purify water – Phytoplankton remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere .

3-3 What Happens to Energy in an Ecosystem? • Concept 3-3 As energy flows through ecosystems in food chains and webs. . the amount of chemical energy available to organisms at each succeeding feeding level decreases.

each of which serves as a source of food for the next • Food web – Network of interconnected food chains – More complex than a food chain .Energy Flow in Ecosystems • Trophic levels • Food chain – Sequence of organisms.

3-8. 46 .Fig. p.

First Trophic Level Second Trophic Level Third Trophic Level Fourth Trophic Level Producers (plants) Primary consumers (herbivores) Secondary consumers (carnivores) Tertiary consumers (top carnivores) Heat Heat Heat Heat Solar energy Heat Heat Heat Decomposers and detritus feeders Fig. p. 46 . 3-8.

p. 46 . 3-9.Fig.

3-9. 46 .Humans Sperm whale Blue whale Elephant seal Crabeater seal Adelie penguin Killer whale Leopard seal Emperor penguin Squid Petrel Fish Carnivorous plankton Herbivorous zooplankton Krill Phytoplankton Fig. p.

Usable Energy by Trophic Level • Energy flow follows the second law of thermodynamics – energy lost as heat • Biomass decreases with increasing trophic level • Ecological efficiency – typically 10% • Pyramid of energy flow .

Fig. 47 . p. 3-10.

000 Heat 10.Usable energy available at each trophic level (in kilocalories) Tertiary consumers (human) 10 Secondary consumers (perch) 100 Primary consumers (zooplankton) Heat Heat Heat Decomposers Heat 1.000 Producers (phytoplankton) Fig. p. 3-10. 47 .

3-10.000 Producers (phytoplankton) Stepped Art Fig. p.000 Heat 10. 47 .Usable energy available at each trophic level (in kilocalories) Tertiary consumers (human) 10 Secondary consumers (perch) 100 Primary consumers (zooplankton) Heat Heat Heat Decomposers Heat 1.

Two Kinds of Primary
Productivity
• Gross primary productivity (GPP)
• Net primary productivity (NPP)
• Planet’s NPP limits number of
consumers
• Humans use, waste, or destroy 1055% of earth’s total potential NPP
• Human population is less than 1% of
total biomass of earth’s consumers

Fig. 3-11, p. 48

Terrestrial Ecosystems
Swamps and marshes
Tropical rain forest
Temperate forest
Northern coniferous
forest (taiga)
Savanna
Agricultural land
Woodland and shrubland
Temperate grassland

Tundra (arctic and alpine)
Desert scrub
Extreme desert

Aquatic Ecosystems
Estuaries
Lakes and streams
Continental shelf
Open ocean
800

1,600 2,400 3,200 4,000 4,800 5,600 6,400 7,200 8,000 8,800 9,600
Average net primary productivity (kcal/m2/yr)

Fig. 3-11, p. 48

and human activities are altering these chemical cycles. in the form of nutrients.3-4 What Happens to Matter in an Ecosystem? • Concept 3-4 Matter. . cycles within and among ecosystems and in the biosphere.

Biogeochemical Cycles • Nutrient cycles • Reservoirs • Connect all organisms through time .

Precipitation 3. Evaporation 2.evaporates from plant surfaces • Water vapor in the atmosphere comes from the oceans – 84% • Over land. ~90% of water reaching the atmosphere comes from transpiration .Hydrologic Cycle • Water cycle is powered by the sun 1. Transpiration .

49 . 3-12.Fig. p.

p.Climate change Condensation Ice and snow Condensation Precipitation to land Transpiration from plants Evaporation from land Evaporation from ocean Surface runoff Runoff Lakes and reservoirs Infiltration and percolation into aquifer Reduced recharge of aquifers and flooding from covering land with crops and buildings Increased flooding from wetland destruction Precipitation to ocean Point source pollution Surface runoff Groundwater movement (slow) Processes Aquifer depletion from overpumping Ocean Processes affected by humans Reservoir Pathway affected by humans Natural pathway Fig. 49 . 3-12.

Science Focus: Water’s Unique Properties (1) • Holds water molecules together – hydrogen bonding • Liquid over a wide temperature range • Changes temperature slowly • Requires large amounts of energy to evaporate .

Science Focus: Water’s Unique Properties (2) • Dissolves a variety of compounds • Filters out UV light from the sun • Adheres to a solid surface – allows capillary action in plants • Expands as it freezes .

038% of atmosphere volume • Major cycle processes – Aerobic respiration – Photosynthesis – Fossil fuel combustion and deforestation • Fossil fuels add CO2 to the atmosphere and contribute to global warming .Carbon Cycle • Based on carbon dioxide (CO2) • CO2 makes up 0.

3-13. p. 51 .Fig.

p. decomposers Carbon in limestone or dolomite sediments Respiration Plants (producers) Carbon in plants (producers) Carbon in animals (consumers) Decomposition Carbon in fossil fuels Compaction Processes Reservoir Pathway affected by humans Natural pathway Fig. 3-13. 51 .Carbon dioxide in atmosphere Respiration Photosynthesis Forest fires Animals (consumers) Diffusion Burning fossil fuels Deforestation Transportation Carbon dioxide dissolved in ocean Marine food webs Producers. consumers.

Nitrogen Cycle • Multicellular plants and animals cannot utilize atmospheric nitrogen (N2) • Nitrogen fixation • Nitrification • Ammonification • Denitrification .

p. 52 .Fig. 3-14.

Processes Nitrogen in atmosphere Reservoir Pathway affected by humans Natural pathway Denitrification by bacteria Electrical storms Nitrogen oxides from burning fuel Nitrates from fertilizer runoff and decomposition Volcanic activity Nitrogen in animals (consumers) Nitrification by bacteria Nitrogen in plants (producers) Decomposition Uptake by plants Nitrate in soil Nitrogen loss to deep ocean sediments Nitrogen in ocean sediments Bacteria Ammonia in soil Fig. 3-14. p. 52 .

Phosphorus Cycle • Does not cycle through the atmosphere • Obtained from terrestrial rock formations • Limiting factor on land and in freshwater ecosystems • Biologically important for producers and consumers .

3-15.Fig. 53 . p.

Processes Reservoir Pathway affected by humans Natural pathway Phosphates in sewage Phosphates in mining waste Phosphates in fertilizer Plate tectonics Runoff Runoff Sea birds Runoff Erosion Animals (consumers) Phosphate dissolved in water Plants (producers) Phosphate in rock (fossil bones. guano) Phosphate in shallow ocean sediments Ocean food chain Phosphate in deep ocean sediments Bacteria Fig. p. 53 . 3-15.

Sulfur Cycle • Most sulfur stored in rocks and minerals • Enters atmosphere through: – Volcanic eruptions and processes – Anaerobic decomposition in swamps. and tidal flats – Sea spray – Dust storms – Forest fires . bogs.

p.Fig. 54 . 3-16.

rock and fossil fuels Pathway affected by humans Natural pathway Fig. 3-16. 54 . p.Sulfur dioxide in atmosphere Sulfuric acid and Sulfate deposited as acid rain Smelting Burning coal Refining fossil fuels Sulfur in animals (consumers) Dimethyl sulfide a bacteria byproduct Sulfur in ocean sediments Processes Reservoir Sulfur in plants (producers) Mining and extraction Decay Uptake by plants Decay Sulfur in soil.

.3-5 How Do Scientists Study Ecosystems? • Concept 3-5 Scientists use field research. and mathematical and other models to learn about ecosystems. laboratory research.

Field Research • Collecting data in the field by scientists • Remote sensing devices • Geographic information systems (GIS) .

Laboratory Research • Simplified model ecosystems – Culture tubes – Bottles – Aquariums – Greenhouses – Chambers with controllable abiotic factors • How well do lab experiments correspond with the greater complexity of real ecosystems? .

Scientific Studies of Ecosystems • Models – Mathematical – Computer simulations • Models need to be fed real data collected in the field.baseline data • Models must determine relationships among key variables .

Baseline Data to Measure Earth’s Health • Needed to measure changes over time • Lacking for many ecosystems • Call for massive program to develop baseline data .

Animation: Levels of organization .

Animation: Linked Processes .

Animation: Feedback Control of Temperature .

Animation: Diet of a Red Fox .

Animation: Prairie Trophic Levels .

Animation: Rainforest Food Web .

Animation: Energy Flow in Silver Springs .

Animation: Biomes Map .

Animation: Prairie Food Web .

Animation: Gause’s Competition Experiment .

Animation: Visible Light .

Animation: Energy Flow .

Animation: Roles of Organisms in an Ecosystem .

Animation: Matter Recycling and Energy Flow .

Animation: Current and Projected Population Sizes by Region .

Animation: Demographic Transition Model .

Animation: Soil Profile .

Animation: Species Diversity By Latitude .

Animation: Area and Distance Effects .

Animation: Linked Processes

Animation: Categories of Food
Webs

Animation: Hydrologic Cycle

Animation: Carbon Cycle .

Animation: Nitrogen Cycle .

Animation: Phosphorous Cycle .

Animation: Sulfur Cycle .

Animation: Capture-Recapture Method .

Video: Owl with Mouse PLAY VIDEO .