Concept Map of the Environment .

Ecology is the study of Earth. and sand that make up land: The hydrosphere includes all the parts of Earth that are made up of water. Starting from the Earth's surface. These interactions among nonliving and living parts of the Earth are the subject of ecology. The word ecology comes from the Greek word oikos. • • . What characteristics make it possible for life to exist in so many parts of Earth? One of the most important reasons Earth can support life is the presence of liquid water. mesosphere. meaning home. Many of the substances that all living things need dissolve in water. the home of living organisms. Gases become less dense the farther they are from Earth's surface. The Biosphere Scientists spend much time trying to understand how the different parts of Earth interact with each other and with the planet's living organisms. Chemical reactions that take place within organisms occur in water. On Earth. Scientists divide the atmosphere into four layers. and thermosphere. The lithosphere includes the rocks. Water is also found in the bodies of organisms. lakes. liquid water in the hydrosphere stores heat.Major Environmental Components • • The lithosphere is the layer of land that forms Earth's surface. The atmosphere is the layer of air that surrounds Earth. The atmosphere is an envelope of gases that surrounds Earth and includes the air you breathe. as well as underground water and clouds in the air. and rivers. Although water exists elsewhere in the solar system. The hydrosphere includes oceans. it is usually in the form of ice or vapor. stratosphere. soil. these layers are the troposphere.

As layers of sediments accumulate. Granite and basalt are two common types of igneous rock. These sediments eventually settle down into layers. The rocks are classified on the basis of how they were formed. solid lithosphere. Three main types of rocks make up the lithosphere: igneous rock. Rock that has been transformed by heat and pressure is called metamorphic rock.Earth’s Land • The Lithosphere The lithosphere varies in thickness from about 10 to 200 kilometers (km). Fossils are almost always found in sedimentary rock. melted rocks in liquid form. it solidifies to become igneous rock. sedimentary rock. • Metamorphic Rock Pressure and heat deep in the lithosphere can cause igneous and sedimentary rocks to undergo changes in structure. Limestone and sandstone are examples of sedimentary rock. they become compressed and cemented into sedimentary rock. When liquid rock cools. Marble and slate are familiar examples of metamorphic rock. • Igneous Rock Below the hard. and metamorphic rock. The tiny pieces of rock that wear off become sediments that are carried away by wind and water. The lava that flows from a volcano cools and turns into igneous rock. • Sedimentary Rock Rocks break down slowly over time. Earth's interior contains hot. .

Fresh water makes up less than 3 percent of the hydrosphere. it is a very valuable substance. and streams.The Hydrosphere • The hydrosphere flows to almost every part of the planet. it is this fresh water that supports most life on Earth. The amounts of various types of salt in ocean water is mostly Sodium chloride (NaCI) is the salt you are familiar with as table salt. More than twothirds of this fresh water exists in frozen glaciers and ice caps. The shores and riverbanks where the lithosphere and the hydrosphere meet are some of Earth's most heavily populated parts. The availability of fresh water often determines the types and numbers of organisms that an area can support. About 35 grams (g) of salt are dissolved in each liter (L) of ocean water. as well as underground water. ponds. Most salt water is located in the oceans. When viewed from space. Fresh water is found in lakes. 70 percent of Earth's surface is covered by water. Earth appears mostly blue. Seawater contains dissolved salts. Because there is so little fresh water. Although fresh water makes up a very small portion of the hydrosphere. • • • • • . More than 97 percent of the hydrosphere is salt water.

• Groundwater is found beneath the surface of Earth and moves very slowly through small spaces in and between rocks. • Surface water includes the water in lakes. and rain runoff. However. An underground layer of porous rock that contains water is called an aquifer. It takes many years for rainwater to seep through the soil and rocks of the surface to reach an aquifer. resulting in a natural spring. Many communities that currently depend on the water in aquifers will have to look elsewhere for their supply of fresh water in the future. streams. • Because the water is pumped out faster than it is replaced. • Groundwater moves more easily through rock layers that are porous. An aquifer may reach the surface of the ground. the water contained in aquifers is replenished very slowly. many aquifers dry up. • Much of the fresh water used by people is pumped to the surface from wells drilled in aquifers.• Fresh water resource can be divided into two types: surface water and groundwater. .

• Carbon dioxide is a gas that is very important to life on Earth. In the process of photosynthesis. • Animals and other organisms. and energy. Only about 0. The atmosphere is made up of about 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen.04 percent of the air is made up of carbon dioxide. • Carbon dioxide is also released into the atmosphere by volcanic eruptions and whenever fuels such as wood. break down these sugars. Water vapor." Scientists are concerned that increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are causing Earth to become warmer and changing climate patterns. Carbon dioxide is one of the ingredients used by plants to make food. releasing CO2. algae. dust particles. water. and certain bacteria make sugars by combining carbon dioxide (CO2). much of the energy is used to maintain body functions. plants. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lets sunlight in and traps the resulting heat. coal. water. This is called the "greenhouse effect. In humans. plants add oxygen to the atmosphere. In this process. and energy from the sun. and gasoline are burned. and small amounts of other gases make up the remaining 1 percent of the air. including plants.The Atmosphere • The atmosphere is an envelope of gases that surrounds Earth and includes the air you breathe. .

these layers are: – troposphere.• Scientists divide the atmosphere into four layers. and – thermosphere. • Starting from the Earth's surface. as shown in Figure. • Gases become less dense the farther they are from Earth's surface. . – stratosphere. – mesosphere.


The troposphere contains most of the water vapor in the atmosphere and is the layer in which most weather occurs. Most of the gas molecules in the atmosphere are in the troposphere. • The winds that carry weather across Earth are an important factor in the climate of an area. .Troposphere • The layer of the atmosphere that touches the surface of Earth is called the Troposphere • The troposphere extends to a height of about 8 to 18 km above Earth's surface.

• Weather disturbances that are common in the troposphere do not occur in the stratosphere. • Ultraviolet radiation is one of many types of electromagnetic waves produced by the sun. • The oxygen you breathe in the troposphere contains only two oxygen atoms in each molecule. • The ozone layer is very important to living things because it filters out most of the ultraviolet. Ozone is a form of oxygen gas containing three oxygen atoms per molecule. without the filtering action of the ozone layer.Stratosphere • Stratosphere is beyond the troposphere. • The upper stratosphere contains a layer of gas called ozone. the sun's UV radiation would destroy much of the life on Earth. or UV. radiation given off by the sun. reaching a height of 50 km above Earth. .

The mesosphere is the coldest layer of the atmosphere. though air pressure is less than one tenthousandth of that at Earth's surface.Mesosphere and Thermosphere • Beyond the stratosphere is the mesosphere. Unlike the mesosphere. • When gas molecules reunite with free electrons. • The thermosphere is the outermost layer of the atmosphere. and they become ions. These rays cause the gas molecules to lose electrons. the thermosphere experiences temperatures as high as 2000 °C. light is given off. • Because of these ions. This process occurs most often near Earth's poles. . this layer of the thermosphere is called the ionosphere. with temperatures as low as -100 °C. resulting in a display of lights called an aurora. • Gas molecules in one layer of the thermosphere are bombarded with rays from the sun. which extends up to 85 km above Earth's surface.

most organisms live in a narrower range. Most life on Earth exists between 500 m below the surface of the ocean and about 6 km above sea level. and atmosphere where life exists make up the biosphere. hydrosphere. the biosphere is a layer blanketing the Earth about 20 km thick. .The Biosphere • Earth is home to trillions of organisms. • All together. life is rare because the pressure is so high and very little food is available. • The biosphere is all the parts of Earth that support and contain life. Together. • Deep below the surface of the ocean. Although the biosphere is 20 km thick. the parts of the lithosphere. • Few organisms live atop the tallest mountains because the air pressure is too low and the temperatures are too cold. The biosphere reaches from the floor of the ocean to the tops of the highest mountains.

or in the air. all organisms depend on materials from each of these three areas of Earth. The tree absorbs groundwater with its roots and transports the water to the leaves. • A bird may live in the air. we live on the lithosphere. water. it eats food that grows on the ground.• All organisms obtain the materials they need to live from the biosphere. and drink the water of the hydrosphere. . • For example. • The leaves of the tree. which is part of the lithosphere. but breathe the air of the atmosphere. absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and release oxygen and water vapor. • While each individual organism may live mostly on land.

Animals. they are affected by changes in the biosphere. which plants use. • Because all organisms depend on the biosphere to meet their needs. a change in the composition of seawater can affect the organisms in the ocean. obtain most of their energy by eating plants and other animals. . • The eruption of a volcano can affect organisms that live on the surrounding land. • Most energy originates from sunlight. and eventually flows out of the biosphere as heat and is lost to space.• Organisms find the energy they need in many different parts of the environment. • Energy constantly flows into the biosphere as sunlight. however. • For example. flows through organisms and the environment.