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Lecture

Week #4 Lecture g.docx

4 Pages
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Department
Geography
Course Code
GEOG 1220
Professor
Scott Brandon

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Week #4 Biological Processes and Models Availability of energy and matter are highly variable from place to place and account for the diversity of life on Earth Limiting factors = physical, chemical and biological characteristics that restrain population growth … •For example, plant productivity (e.g. photosynthesis) is limited by the requirement in least supply •Environmental resistance = All limiting factors taken together The Flow of Matter in the Biosphere Nutrients = elements and compounds required for survival that are consumed by organisms 1) Sedimentary Cycles: nutrients spend much of their time locked up in rock but are released for use by life as a result of weathering processes. Examples: calcium, phosphorous 2) Gaseous Cycle: Nutrients spend much of their time in the atmosphere. Nutrients are exchanged between the biosphere and the atmosphere. Examples: The phosphorus cycle: The nitrogen cycle: -inorganic nitrogen becomes organic through this cycle. It can then be used by living things and then a demystification cycle occurs. Heat makes nitrogen organic (being struck my lightning) -organic forms is called nitrates -we’ve added a lot of nitrogen to the earth from fertilizers The carbon cycle: -oxygen cycle and carbon cycle are closely related (they are just the opposite of each other) -carbon cycle is photosynthesis and respiration -we’re pulling coal out of the earth where it would otherwise be stable -burning coal increases carbon dioxide -human progression is linked to carbon *we became agriculturalists, we learned to burn, compost, save, fire, and transformed the earth -now we can manipulate carbon at the microscopic scale ex: Nano science -complex systems are more stable The Carbon Cycle and Human History 1.Burning simple carbons 2.Controlling carbon life-forms 3.Burning complex carbons (hydrocarbons) 4.Controlling carbon micro-lifeforms The Flow of Energy in the Biosphere Food Chain: a sequence of organisms in an ecosystem, each eating or decomposing its prey Food Web: a set of interconnected food chains by which energy and matter circulate through an ecosystem Natural Variations in Energy and Matter Biome = major regional complex of similar communities
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