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Ehsani APES Chap 3

Ecosystem Ecology

Ecosystem a particular location on Earth distinguished by its particular mix of interacting biotic and abiotic components
Ecosystem boundaries the different biotic and abiotic components that distinguish between neighboring ecosystems; they may/may not be well-defined
Herbivore organisms that eat plants
Carnivore organisms that eat other animals
Producer organism that makes its own food
Autotroph an organism that makes its own food
Photosynthesis the process whereby solar energy is converted into chemical energy
Photosynthesis equation energy + 6 CO2 + 6 H2O yields 1 C6H12O6 + 6 O2
Cellular Respiration the opposite reaction to photosynthesis whereby organisms convert chemical energy into energy they can use for cellular processes
Cellular Respiration equation 1 C6H12O6 + 6 O2 yields energy + 6 CO2 + 6 H2O
Consumers organisms that must consume other organisms for energy
Heterotrophs organisms that must consume other organisms for energy
Primary Consumers herbivores; consumers that eat producers
Secondary Consumers carnivores that eat primary consumers
Tertiary Consumers carnivores that eat secondary consumers
Trophic Level the successive levels of organisms that consume one another; producers eaten by primary consumer eaten by secondary consumer, etc. Each is a different energy level in a food chain
Food Chain the sequence of consumption from producers through tertiary consumers
Food Web a series of interconnected food chains in an ecosystem
Omnivores operate at several trophic levels because they consume both autotrophs and heterotrophs
Trophe Greek word meaning nourishment; foundation for words such as autotrophs, heterotrophs, and trophic levels
Scavengers carnivores that eat dead animals
Detritivores organisms that break down dead tissue and waste products
Decomposers the fungi and bacteria that complete the breakdown process by recycling the nutrients from dead tissues and wastes back into the ecosystem
Ecosystem Productivity the amount of energy available in an ecosystem determines how much life the ecosystem can support
GPP (Gross Primary Productivity) the total amount of solar energy the producers in an ecosystem capture via photosynthesis over a given amount of time; unit is kg Carbon taken up per square meter per day
NPP (Net Primary Productivity) the total energy captured minus the energy used by the producers in an ecosystem; measures the rate at which biomass is produced over a given time
GPP Efficiency 1% of sunlight is captured and turned into chemical energy; 99% is lost as heat
NPP Efficiency 25 – 50% of GPP; 60% of GPP is lost due to cellular respiration & 40% of GPP is used for growth and reproduction
Biomass the total mass of all living matter in a specific area; used to measure the energy in an ecosystem
Standing Crop the amount of biomass present in an ecosystem at a particular time
Ecological Efficiency the portion of consumed energy that can be passed from one tophic level to the next; average is 10% with it ranging from 5 – 20%
Trophic Pyramid A graphical representation of the biomass (measured in Joules) for each trophic level in an ecosystem; looks like stacked bar graphs
Biosphere the region of our planet where life resides; 12-mile thick shell from the deepest part of the ocean to the highest mountain peak
Biogeochemical cycles the movement of matter within and between ecosystems that involve biological, geological, and chemical processes
The Major Biogeochemical Cycles hydrologic (water),Carbon, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and other macronutrients (calcium, magnesium, potassium and sulfur)
Pools the components that contain matter in a biogeochemical cycle; example: air, water, organisms
Flows the processes that move matter between pools
Hydrologic Cycle the movement of water through the biosphere; the water cycle; evaporation from surface water to condensation in clouds to precipitation from clouds
Transpiration the process where plants lose water from their leaves
Evaportranspiration the combined amount of evaporation and transpiration
Runoff after a rain, water move across the land surface and into streams and lakes
Carbon Cycle the movement of carbon from the atmosphere to producers to consumers to decomposers and back
Six Processes that drive the carbon cycle photosynthesis, respiration, exchange, sedimentation and burial, extraction, and combustion
Carbon Exchange CO2 in atmosphere is dissolved in the water
Carbon Sedimentation CO2 that is dissolved in water combines with calcium to form calcium carbonate (CaCO3); this precipitates out, settles to the ocean floor and forms a sedimentary rock called limestone
Carbon Extraction when humans extract carbon substances like oil and coal from the ground
Combustion the burning of hydrocarbons that releases CO2 and H2O into the air
Macronutrients six key elements needed in relatively large quantities by living organisms; nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur
Limiting Nutrient a nutrient that can limit the growth of an organism if there isn’t enough (nitrogen & phosphorus)
Nitrogen Cycle the movement of nitrogen from the atmosphere to through several changes in the soil, then into a plant and then into the atmosphere
Nitrogen Fixation the process by which atmospheric N2 gas is converted into a form that plants can use; biotic process make NH3 and abiotic process make NO3 ions
Assimilation producers take up NH4 ions or NO3 ions from the soil
Ammonification decomposers in soil and water break down nitrogen compounds into ammonium, NH4+
Nitrification bacteria convert ammonium (NH4+) into nitrite (NO2-) then into nitrate (NO3-)
Denitrification bacteria in oxygen-poor environments convert nitrate (NO3-) into N2O then into N2
Leaching water moving through the soil takes the nitrates with it
Algal Bloom A rapid growth of algae when excess phosphorus is introduced into an aquatic system
Hypoxic Condition a low oxygen condition in water that happens after an algal bloom dies and initiates a massive amount of decomposition which uses up all available oxygen; creates a hypoxic dead-zone in water
Disturbance An event caused by physical, chemical, or biological agents that results in changes in population size or community composition
Watershed all of the land in a given landscape that drains into a particular stream, river, lake or wetland
Resistance of an Ecosystem a measure of how much a disturbance can affect the flows of energy and matter in an ecosystem; stated in terms of high or low resistance
Resilience of an Ecosystem the rate at which an ecosystem returns to its original state after a disturbance
Restoration Ecology the study of restoring damaged ecosystems
Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis ecosystems experiencing intermediate levels of disturbance are more diverse than those with high or low disturbance levels
Instrumental Value a species that has worth to humans because it can be used to accomplish a goal
Intrinsic Value A species or ecosystem that has worth independent of any benefit it may have for humans
The Five Categories of Ecosystem Services provisions, regulating services, support systems, resilience, and cultural services
Provisions an ecosystem service that humans can use directly (lumber, good, medicinal plants, etc.)
Regulating Services an ecosystem service where a natural ecosystem helps to regulate environmental conditions
Support Services an ecosystem service that supports a human activity (bees pollinate our crops)
Resilience an ecosystem service that ensures an ecosystem will continue to provide benefits to humans
Cultural Services an ecosystem service that provides cultural or aesthetic benefits to many people
Created by: ehsanip