Ecosystems and how they work

How Does an Ecosystem Work?

Ecological theory suggests that in order to coexist, species must have some level of limiting similarity —they must be different from one another in some fundamental way, otherwise one species would competitively exclude the other.

Water Everywhere Without water there would be no life. A drought, an especially cold winter and a pest outbreak all constitute short-term variability in environmental conditions. Biodiversity plays an important role in ecosystem functioning.

Most nitrogen enters ecosystems through biological nitrogen fixationis deposited through precipitation, dust, gases or is applied as fertilizer. This can be especially important as the soil thaws in the spring, creating a pulse of nutrients which become available.

Its light is essential in the process of photosynthesis, which allows plants to produce food. The rate of decomposition is governed by three sets of factors—the physical environment temperature, moisture, and soil propertiesthe quantity and quality of the dead material available to decomposers, and the nature of the microbial community itself.

Keystone species tend to have an effect on ecosystem function that is disproportionate to their abundance in an ecosystem. Producers are the green plants. An ecosystem is a community of living and non-living things that work together.

The sun is another major player in an ecosystem. It provides important nutrients for the plants in an ecosystem.

Stuart Chapin and coauthors define disturbance as "a relatively discrete event in time and space that alters the structure of populations, communities, and ecosystems and causes changes in resources availability or the physical environment".

These are then taken up by organisms in the soil, react with mineral soil, or are transported beyond the confines of the ecosystem and are considered lost to it. If the algae disappeared, everything else would be impacted.

A major disturbance like a volcanic eruption or glacial advance and retreat leave behind soils that lack plants, animals or organic matter. Decomposition The carbon and nutrients in dead organic matter are broken down by a group of processes known as decomposition.

Although magnesium and manganese are produced by weathering, exchanges between soil organic matter and living cells account for a significant portion of ecosystem fluxes. By studying and maintaining biodiversity, we help keep our planet healthy. Give Me a Little Air The atmosphere provides oxygen and carbon dioxide for the plants and animals in an ecosystem.

Animal populations vary from year to year, building up during resource-rich periods and crashing as they overshoot their food supply.

Like other nitrogen-fixing bacteria, they can either be free-living or have symbiotic relationships with plants.

Nitric oxide and nitrous oxide are also produced during nitrification. Dynamics[ edit ] Ecosystems are dynamic entities. This process is known as nitrogen mineralization. Wet soils tend to become deficient in oxygen this is especially true in wetlandswhich slows microbial growth.

Decomposition rates are highest in wet, moist conditions with adequate levels of oxygen. Fragmentation processes, which break through these protective layers, accelerate the rate of microbial decomposition. Mineral nutrients, on the other hand, are mostly cycled back and forth between plants, animals, microbes and the soil.

The atmosphere is also part of the water cycle. An ecosystem includes soil, atmosphere, heat and light from the sun, water and living organisms. Fungal hyphae produce enzymes which can break through the tough outer structures surrounding dead plant material.


The living organisms in an ecosystem can be divided into three categories: Leaching is more important in wet environments and much less important in dry ones.

It also affects soil moisture, which slows microbial growth and reduces leaching. Consumers are animals and they get their energy from the producers or from organisms that eat producers.

Like the sun, water is another vital component of an ecosystem, as it makes up a huge percentage of the cells of all living organisms, and it is used by plants, animals and humans to sustain life.

Every species has a niche in its ecosystem that helps keep the system healthy. Biodiversity Loch Lomond in Scotland forms a relatively isolated ecosystem. Getting Along Ecosystems have lots of different living organisms that interact with each other.

Some soil bacteria use organic nitrogen-containing compounds as a source of carbon, and release ammonium ions into the soil. The nature of the organisms—the species, functional groups and trophic levels to which they belong—dictates the sorts of actions these individuals are capable of carrying out and the relative efficiency with which they do so.Introduction Key Issues and Questions.

All the elements that comprise living things come from the environment. What are these key elements? Where is each found? Ecosystems: What are they and how do they work-Chapter 3 study guide by anumber8 includes 57 questions covering vocabulary, terms and more.

Quizlet flashcards, activities and games help you improve your grades. ant work Figure Various detritivores and decomposers \⠀洀漀猀琀氀礀 昀甀渀最椀 愀渀搀 戀愀挀琀攀爀椀愀尩 can “feed on” or digest parts of a log and event\൵ally convert its complex organic chemicals into simpler inorganic nutrients that can.

An ecosystem is a community of living and non-living things that work together. Ecosystems have no particular size. An ecosystem can be as large as a desert or a lake or as small as a tree or a puddle.

Every day, people wake up and go to jobs where they work to differentiate themselves, their products, and their services. They work hard to understand and contribute their unique value.

We’re often asked, “Why is the name of your company ‘Ecosystems’?” After all, we aren’t an environmental agency. ECOSYSTEMS: How do they work Living in the Environment 14 th Edition Chapter 4 Shohail Choudhury 4 2. ECOLOGY Ecology is the study of .

Ecosystems and how they work
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