EESA01H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Inert Gas, Hydrosphere, Phospholipid

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Published on 6 Dec 2015
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EESA01 – Lecture 3
What is a “System”
-There are 2 types of systems: Open and Closed
-Open systems have energy and matter in both their inputs and outputs (eg.
Cars, houses)
-Closed systems have only energy in their inputs and outputs (eg. Bomb
calorimeter)
Feedback Loops
-A feedback loop is what happens when the output of a system cycles around
and affects or acts as input to that very same system
- Negative feedback loops: output coming from the system becomes input
that moves the system in the opposite direction
- Positive feedback loops: output coming from the system becomes input that
moves the system in the same direction towards an extreme
Emergent properties
-These are the characteristics of a system that are not immediately evident
from looking at it alone or at its components
-For example, you can examine leaves as components of a tree, but this will
not give you evidence of the emergent property of the tree being a habitat
Ecosystems
-An ecosystem is all the organisms and abiotic entities that occur and interact
in a particular environment at the same time
-Ecosystems include all abiotic and biotic components
-Energy flows and matter cycles among these components
-An ecosystem is generally the smallest self-sustaining ecological space
Ecosystem Structure
-Energy that enters the system is transformed into many different forms due to
multiple processes and levels of transfer
-Matter is recycled in the ecosystem, leading to outputs of energy in the form
of heat, water flow and waste
-Energy is converted into biomass by autotrophs
-Biomass is organic material that makes up living organisms
-Autotrophs are organisms, such as plants or bacteria, that can synthesize
their own complex organic materials from sunlight and inorganic molecules
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