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ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES Date ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES 1. List the components of an ecosystem (abiotic, biotic) and give examples for each! Ans. An ecosystem (Pearson Global Schools) is a functional unit of nature, where living organisms interact among themselves and also with the surrounding physical environment…
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Download file to see previous pages They are the key elements that lead to so much variation in the physical and chemical conditions of different habitats. Temperature: It is one of the most relevant environmental factors controlling the type of organism that the ecosystem will support. The average temperature on land varies seasonally, decreases progressively from the equator towards the poles and from plains to the mountain tops. Temperature plays a very significant role in the metabolism and survival of the organisms. Water: Next to temperature, water is the most important factor influencing the life of organisms. The productivity and distribution of plants is also heavily dependent on water. For example, in deserts where water availability is very limited, only organisms with special adaptations to conserve water alone will be able to survive. Light: Sunlight is the main source of energy for the ecosystem and for the process of photosynthesis, by which plants produce food, can take place only in the presence of sunlight. For many animals too, light is important in that they use the diurnal and seasonal variations in light intensity and duration (photoperiod) as cues for timing their foraging, reproductive and migratory activities. Biotic Factors The biotic components include all living organisms like plants, animals, fungi and bacteria of the ecosystem. The biotic components including the pathogens, parasites, predators and competitors – of the organism interact constantly with the abiotic factors of the environment for their survival. The biotic components modify their responses to changes in abiotic factors and maintain the balance of the ecosystem. 2. What is ecosystem function - in other words how does an ecosystem work? Ans. The components of the ecosystem are seen to function as a unit through the following aspects: (i) Productivity (ii) Decomposition (iii) Energy flow; and (iv) Nutrient cycling. The green plants known as the Producers or autotrophs trap the solar energy and convert simple inorganic materials into complex organic compounds or food. All animals depend on plants (directly or indirectly) for their food needs. They are hence called consumers or heterotrophs. The interdependency of organism for the requirement of food leads to food chain or food web. Based on the source of their nutrition or food, organisms occupy a specific place in the food chain that is known as their trophic level. The solar energy captured by plants flows through different organisms or different trophic levels of an ecosystem. The Organisms at each trophic level depend on those at the lower trophic level for their energy demands. When any organism dies it is converted to detritus or dead biomass that serves as an energy source for decomposers. Decomposers secrete digestive enzymes that breakdown dead and waste materials into simple, inorganic materials, which are subsequently absorbed by them. 3. Use the Diablo Range as an example of an intact ecosystem – Describe the Diablo Range's abiotic and biotic components (including the Diablo Range location, topography, climate, plant communities, mammals & other organisms found there). Give details for each! Ans. Diablo mountain range is a classical example of an intact ecosystem. It is located in the eastern San Francisco Bay area south to the Salinas Valley area of northern California, the United ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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