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GEO 131
David Atkinson

GEO 131 test #1 02/10/2011 20:16:00 What is the Environment? Its the combination of the spheres in which everything exists Its the home/habitat on which all things depend Complex of social or cultural conditions that affect an individual of community Collection of organisms that live in a place with the nonliving environment What is a system? An assemblage or combination of parts or members forming a complex or unitary whole What is an Ecosystem? An ecosystem consists of all biotic organisms, alone with abiotic materials and energy with which they interact and depend o Small microhabitants (sustainable fish tank) or Large habitats (landscapes) Everything is intrinsically connected and mutually dependent. Patterns of the landscape are links to the ecosystem functions and processes. Scientific Method A way to ask and answer specific questions by making observations and doing experiments o Do background research o Construct hypothesis o Test you hypothesis by doing experiments o Analyze your data and draw a conclusion o Communicate your results What is Ecology? Haeckels Definition: The investigation of the total relationships of the animal both to its organic and its organic environment The study of the interaction of living organisms and the natural environment Non-living components in the environment (known as abiotic factors) o Light, water, wind, nutrients in soil, heat, solar radiation, atmosphere Living organisms (biotic factors) o Plants, animals, microorganisms in soil Views each locale as an integrated whole of interdependent parts that function as a unit Species: group of similar organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring Population: group of organisms, all of the same species, which interbreed and live in the same area Community: an assemblage of different populations that live together Biome: group of ecosystems with the same climate and dominant communities The environment influences organisms and organisms influence the environment. The fact that we are breathing oxygen (generated mostly by the process of photosynthesis) is a rather striking example of the power of organisms to influence the environment Energy Drives the Planet Earths Life Support Systems One way flow of high quality energy The cycling of matter (the earth is a closed system) Gravity: causes downward movement of matter Major Ecosystem Components Abiotic Components Biotic Components Water, air temperature, soil, light Producers, consumers. Decomposers levels, precipitation, salinity Sets tolerance limits for populations Plants, animals, bacteria/fungi and communities Some are limiting factors that Biotic interactions with biotic structure the abundance of components include predation, populations competition, symbiosis, parasitism, commensalisms etc. Limiting Factors on Land & Water Terrestrial Aquatic/Marine Sunlight (EM) Light penetration (water clarity) Temperature Water currents Precipitation Dissolved nutrient concentrations (ex Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Iron Soil nutrients Dissolved oxygen Fire frequency Salinity Wind Latitude & altitude Electromagnetic (EM) Radiation Three ways energy is transferred o Conduction Ex. KD swirling in the water (movement no direct contact) o Convection Ex. Pan cooking (direct contact) o Radiation Ex. Sunlight travels to the earth (electromagnetic waves) Varies in wavelength/frequency producing different properties of energy The electromagnetic spectrum The Sun produces a continuous spectrum of electromagnetic radiation ranging from very short, extremely high frequency gamma and cosmic waves to long, very low frequency radio waves. (Time to travel to earth is 8minutes) Energy changes from radiant --thermal - kinetic Resulting in daylight, heart, and wind 45% actually makes it to the surface of the earth, small portion bounces off into the atmosphere Ecosystem Approach: The Atmosphere: Climate and Weather The Hydrosphere: Water Cycle The Lithosphere: Planet Earth and Rock Cycle; Glaciations and Geomorphology Anthrosphere Cryosphere Biosphere Open systems: energy and mass is constantly cycled between them. The transport and transformation of substances are known collectively as BIOGEOCHEMICAL CYCLES.
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