You are on page 1of 56

Eco sy ste ms

Chapter 48

An association of organisms and their  physical environment, interconnected  by  ongoing flow of energy and a  cycling of materials

Mo des of N utr it ion
 Autotrophs
 Capture sunlight or chemical energy  Producers

 Heterotrophs
 Extract energy from other organisms or organic wastes  Consumers, decomposers, detritivores

Tr ophic L eve ls
 All the organisms at a trophic level are the same number of steps away from the energy input into the system  Producers are closest to the energy input and are the first trophic level

Qu estio n 1
 1. Define: ecosystem.

An sw er 1
 1. Define: ecosystem.  An association of organisms and their  physical environment, interconnected  by  ongoing flow of energy and a  cycling of materials.

Qu estio n 2
 2. Compare and contrast: herbivore and carnivore,

An sw er 2
 2. Compare and contrast: herbivore and carnivore.  Herbivores eat plants and carnivores eat animals.

Qu estio n 3
 3. Compare and contrast: omnivore and detritivore.

An sw er 3
 3. Compare and contrast: omnivore and detritivore.  Omnivores eat both animals and plants.  Detritivores eat the dead animal and plant material (in the soil or water).

Energy Losses  
 Energy transfers are never 100  percent efficient  Some energy is lost at each step  Limits the number of trophic levels in  an ecosystem  

Biological Magnification
  A nondegradable or slowly degradable  substance becomes more and more  concentrated in the tissues of  organisms at higher trophic levels of a  food web

DDT in Food We bs
 Synthetic pesticide banned in the United States since the 1970s  Birds that were top carnivores accumulated DDT in their tissues

Primary Productivity
 Gross primary productivity is  ecosystem’s total rate of  photosynthesis  Net primary productivity is rate at  which producers store energy in 

Pr imary Pr oductivity Va rie s
 Seasonal variation  Variation by habitat  The harsher the environment, the slower plant growth, the lower the primary productivity

All He at in the End
 At each trophic level, the bulk of the energy received from the previous level is used in metabolism  This energy is released as heat energy and lost to the ecosystem  Eventually, all energy is released as heat

Qu estio n 4
4. Define: biomagnification.

An sw er 4 ( STO PPED He re)
4. Define: biomagnification. A nondegradable or slowly degradable  substance becomes more and more  concentrated in the tissues of organisms  at higher trophic levels of a food web

Qu estio n 5
5. Which organisms are most at risk from biomagnification?

An sw er 5
5. Which organisms are most at risk from biomagnification? Predators at the high trophic levels

Qu estio n 6
6. Compare and contrast: food chain and food web.

An sw er 6
6. Compare and contrast: food chain and food web. A straight line sequence of who eats whom – food chain. An interconnected set of food chains – food web.

Qu estio n 7
7. Compare an contrast: autotroph and heterotroph.

An sw er 7
7. Compare an contrast: autotroph and heterotroph. Autotrophs make their own food (photo or chemsynthesis) Heterotrophs can’t make their own food. They must graze or catch their food.

Qu estio n 8
8. What is the ultimate fate of the solar energy that enters a food web?

An sw er 8
8. What is the ultimate fate of the solar energy that enters a food web? It is lost as heat.

Qu estio n 9
9. Define: bioaccumulation.    

An sw er 9
9. Define:Bioaccumulation. The retention of nonpolar molecules from our food or water. These molecules do not degrade very fast. Example: DDT. Others mercury and lead

Qu estio n 10
10. Which organisms are most at risk from biomagnification?

An sw er 10
10. Which organisms are most at risk from biomagnification? Top predators (carnivores)

Qu estio n 11
11. Can a predator and its parasite be on the same trophic level? Explain.

An sw er 11
11. Can a predator and its parasite be on the same trophic level? Explain. No. A parasite “dines” on its host. Therefore it is one more step from the sun (one higher trophic level).

Biogeochemical Cycle
 The flow of a nutrient from the  environment to living organisms and  back to the environment  Main reservoir for the nutrient is in the  environment

Th ree Ca tegories
 Hydrologic cycle
 Water

 Atmospheric cycles
 Nitrogen and carbon

 Sedimentary cycles
 Phosphorus and sulfur

Hu bbard Br ook Ex periment
 A watershed was experimentally stripped of vegetation  All surface water draining from watershed was measured  Removal of vegetation caused a six-fold increase in the calcium content of the runoff water

Phosphorus Cycle
 Phosphorus is part of phospholipids  and all nucleotides  It is the most prevalent limiting factor in  ecosystems   Main reservoir is Earth’s crust; no  gaseous phase

Hu man Ef fects
 In tropical countries, clearing lands for agriculture may deplete phosphoruspoor soils  In developed countries, phosphorus runoff is causing eutrophication of waterways

Qu estio n 12
9. Define: biogeochemical cycle.

An sw er 12
9. Define: biogeochemical cycle.  The flow of a nutrient from the  environment to living organisms and  back to the environment.

Qu estio n 13
10. What are two cellular biochemicals that must include phosphate in their molecular structures?

An sw er 13
13. What are two cellular biochemicals that must include phosphate in their molecular structures? Phospholipids and nucleotides

Carbon Cycle
 Carbon moves through the  atmosphere and food webs on its way  to and from the ocean, sediments, and  rocks  Sediments and rocks are the main  reservoir

Ca rbon in At mo sphere
 Atmospheric carbon is mainly carbon dioxide  Carbon dioxide is added to atmosphere
 Aerobic respiration, volcanic action, burning fossil fuels

 Removed by photosynthesis

Ca rbon Dio xide Increase
 Carbon dioxide levels fluctuate seasonally  The average level is steadily increasing  Burning of fossil fuels and deforestation are contributing to the increase

Ot her Gr eenhouse Ga ses
 CFCs - synthetic gases used in plastics and in refrigeration  Methane - produced by termites and bacteria and cow burps  Nitrous oxide - released by bacteria, fertilizers, and animal wastes

St ore L iquid CO 2 on Oc ean Bo ttom?
 “At shallow depths liquid carbon dioxide will rise to the surface. But based on laboratory experiments with carbon dioxide hydrates, researchers imagined that liquid carbon dioxide put deep in the ocean would form a stable layer on the seafloor with a skin of solid hydrate as a boundary, like a pond covered by ice in winter.” from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Nitrogen Cycle
 Nitrogen is used in amino acids and  nucleic acids  Main reservoir is nitrogen gas in the  atmosphere

Nit rogen F ix ation
 Plants cannot use nitrogen gas  Nitrogen-fixing bacteria convert nitrogen gas into ammonia (NH3)  Ammonia and ammonium can be taken up by plants

Am mo nific ation & Nit rific ation
 Bacteria and fungi carry out ammonification, conversion of nitrogenous wastes to ammonia  Nitrifying bacteria convert ammonium to nitrites and nitrates

Nit rogen L oss
 Nitrogen is often a limiting factor in ecosystems  Nitrogen is lost from soils via leaching and runoff  Denitrifying bacteria convert nitrates and nitrites to nitrogen gas (often occurs in water logged soil)

Hu man Ef fects
 Humans increase rate of nitrogen loss by clearing forests and grasslands  Humans increase nitrogen in water and air by using fertilizers and by burning fossil fuels  Too much or too little nitrogen can compromise plant health

Sew age spi ll hi ts Pea chtree Creek, Chat tahoochee

 Over a million gallons of raw sewage poured into
a creek Monday just upstream of the Chattahoochee River and near the spot where Atlanta draws its drinking water.  Before a collapsed 36-inch sewer pipe was repaired, sewage flowed into Peachtree Creek at the rate of 10,000 gallons a minute for two hours, said Janet Ward, a spokeswoman for Atlanta's Watershed Management Department. The incident occurred

near the Chattahoochee Water Treatment Plant off Bolton Road, where the city gets drinking water.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 11/29/05

Dead Waters
Massive oxygen-starved zones are developing along the world's coasts

 “Summer tourists cruising the waters off Louisiana or Texas in the Gulf of Mexico take in gorgeous vistas as they pull in red snappers and blue marlins. Few realize that the lower half of the water column below them may lack fish, despite the piscine bounty near the surface.”

Ni trates and Phosphates Cont rib utio ns f rom Ferti lizers
 “Typically, they appear where a river spews rich plumes of nutrients into water that's stratified because of either temperature or salinity differences between the bottom and the top of the water column. If the water doesn't mix, oxygen isn't replenished in the lower half.”

Ba cte ria Use Up Mo st of th e O 2
 “the Mississippi River deposits water that is heavily enriched with plant nutrients, principally nitrate. This pollutant fertilizes the abundant growth of tiny, floating algae. As blooms of the algae go through their natural life cycles and die, they fall to the bottom and create a feast for bacteria. Growing in unnatural abundance, the bacteria use up most of the oxygen from the bottom water.”

Qu estio n 14
14. How can this massive eutrophication be halted and the system repaired?