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6 Jan 2011
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integrated system - study of interactions among organisms and their physical
sir Arthur tansley -We cannot separate them [organisms] from their special
environment with which they form one physical system… the systems are the
basic units of nature
Community ecologist biotic focus/ individual organisms ex. Foodwebs,
population dynamics?
Ecosystem ecologist biotic and abiotic/ how things function as a whole ex how
nutrients move around , etc.
(biotic is /abiotic is )
approaches systems top up building blocks/ comparative or mechanistic
bottom down break up of something/process of understanding
importance of ecosystems- functioning ecosystems are critical to our survival, to
clean our water, air and resources
•species are not usually treated as separate units; functional role is what is
•abiotic components are of equal importance as biotic components (movement of
nutrients & energy are focus of investigation)
•human activities are often important (e.g. deposition of pollutants, harvesting of
species, etc.)
spatial boundaries of ecosystems all move into eachother
global, water, forest, endo (rock)
GEWF - ecosytem on scale is determined by question asked
•ecosystems viewed in context of surrounding environment
-closed ecosystem: no external inputs (no ecosystem is fully closed)
-open ecosystem: inputs from surrounding environment (arrive and leave)
Temporal scale time scale…?
-Instantaneous how quickly
-Seasonal in summer vs winter
-Succession early on in succession
-Evolutionary history are things adapting
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-Geological history go into rock records…
Depends on phenomenon being studied/ and question asked GESSI Temoral
E flow in ecosystems ecosystem is an economy; energy is the
currency/ecosystems based on autotrophs - transform energy from
photosynthetic into chemical energy
Primary producers: Capture E turn it into glucose and do it b/c it needs E for
growth, maintenance, and reproduction
GPP total energy captured form photosynthesis, some energy is lost through
respiration, some stored
NPP- net primary production a rate
terrestrial ecosystems: NPP greatest in wet tropics
marine ecosystems: NPP greatest along coastlines
limit in productivity is due to lack of water, sun, etc. warmer regions (not over dry)
tend to have higher reproductively
coastlines are more productive than open ocean b/c depth of photic zone;
coastal zones receive nutrients from:
rivers (carry & deposit nutrients from terrestrial ecosystems)
•near-shore ocean currents (upwellings from deep ocean)
system - a portion of the universe that can be separated from the rest, for the
purpose of studying changes that occur within it, under changing conditions.
It can be separated and has boundaries, what can move into and out of
Subsystems part of one big system
Leaves tree forest mountain range with forest, snow and rivers, or the
whole planet
What would happen if we did this change in one thing in the system
Things do not have to be living to be a system
They all intertwine and
•Major Earth spheres: GAHB
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•Types of systems properties of boundaries
Isolated system: neither energy nor matter can be exchanged across the
boundaries (NOT ONE ATOM)
Closed system: energy can be exchanged across the boundaries, but matter
Open system: both matter and energy can be exchanged across the boundaries
(squirrel and mosquito w/ larva being a leaving matter)
most evnio systems are open Earth itself approximates a closed system.
•Living in a closed system has some consequences:
Resources are finite and limited.
There is no awayto throw things to.
What goes around, comes around.
Principle of Environmental Unity
dynamic equilibrium constantly retaining balance, something happens and
everyone readjusts, its ever changing
homeostasis-reaction to a disturbance then returning to some kind of equilibrium
emergent properties-each system has componenets with properties, and the
whole is more than just the parts ex a tree is a habitat, shade, part of a
ecosystem, etc.
A cycle is…
–a system of two or more connected reservoirs, in which material (or energy) is
transferred in a cyclical fashion.
–a way of understanding and modeling where substances come from, where they
go, where they residein the Earth system, and how they are transferred and
•Matter is endlessly recycled through environmental systems, changing form as it
•Energy comes into the Earth system, cycles around, is used and degraded, and
then exits the system.
Reservoirs (or “pools”) can be defined by:
Physical boundaries (like a “holding tank”)
•The ocean
•An organism
•A magma chamber under a volcano
Contents (a “mass” of material)
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