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3 Stability in the ecosystem- a measure of how easily an ecosystem is affected

by a disturbance and how quickly it returns to its original condition after a

Biotic and abiotic factors

Patterns of energy flow
Nutrient cycling
Community structure


*More stable system

steady energy flow pattern and nutrient cycling
evolutionary/food web/ abiotic environmental changes


Over all long term average, even frequently disturbed ecosystems van show
some degree of stability
Ecosystem stability may be related to how complex the food web is.Theory:
-Connections may overall impact an ecosystem if a single species or only one
part of the system disappears or is disrupted
-Such changes counteracted by changes elsewhere in the system
Ex. Adaptions to cold weather
-System returns to equilibrium

Equilibrium- when a disturbed ecosystem returns to a balanced state

Major disruptions can cause drastic changes to an ecosystem

If major enough, ecosystem can be destroyed

General rule
Species and whole ecosystems may evolve and die out, but new species and
ecosystems will replace them
Changes in an ecosystem are like falling dominoes- changes in one part of a system
triggers one part of the system that then affects another part which in turn affects
Chaos theory- suggests that ecosystems may be sensitive to very small changes,
and that the initial state of an ecosystem is crucial to its later development
-scientists still do not fully understand how ecosystems work and further
study is being done in the field
- presently species are becoming extinct at the fastest rate since the period
of dinosaurs

Human population growth (highest factor)

*Habitat destruction
*Introduction of alien species
*Fresh water
Global warming
*Human impact causing rise in rate

Very difficult to predict how these human influences and ecosystem

disruptions will affect and change ecosystems over the long term