1) Biomes of earth
Forest: Occupy about 1/3 of earth’s land area – have 70% of the carbon
Taiga: Boreal Forests found 50-60 degrees North Latitude. In North America and Eurasia (Finland, Siberia, etc…) Short, moist summers; cold, dry winters.
Nutrient poor, acidic soil.
Flora: Cold tolerant evergreens like conifers such as pine, fir, and spruce
Fauna: Small Mammals, hawks, moose, wolf, fox, lynx
Problems: EXTENSIVE LOGGING
Temperate: Usually have 4 defined seasons, temperature from -30degrees –
30 degrees Celsius. Fertile Soil. 3-4 tree species per square km: oak, hickory,
beech, hemlock, maple, basswood, cottonwood, elm, willow, etc… Several
kinds of temperate forest:
Moist conifer and evergreen broadleaved forest. Dry conifer forest, Mediterranean forest, temperate coniferous, temperate broad leaved rainforest.
Tropical Forests: More than _ have been destroyed. Found at 23.5 N –
23.5 S Latitude. No winter. – rainy and dry seasons. Temperature 20 –
25 Celsius. Lots of precipitation. Soil nutrient poor and acidic.
Unparalleled species diversity.Tundra: From Fin word tunturia
Cold – low diversity – short growing season.
Cold/desertlike winter conditions. Avg winter temp. -34 Celsius
Avg summer temp. 3-12 Celsius. 6-10 inches precipitation
Permafrost: frozen subsoil when water seeps up in summer tundra becomes swampy. Short growing season so most plants don’t reproduce sexually but budding/division is common
Animals: lemmings, voles, caribou, hares, squirrels, polar bears, wolves, foxes, ravens, falcons, loons, mosquitoes, flies, black flies, cod, salmon, trout.
Plants: low shrubs, sedges, reindeer moss, liverworts, grasses, lichen, 400 kinds of flowers
ALPINE: above treeline – nighttime temperature below freezing.
Tussock Grasses, dwarf trees, small-leafed shrubs, heaths
Animals: Pikas, marmots, mountain goats, sheep, elk, grouse.2) Hotspots and Conservation: It seems that the most diverse places on earth in terms of biodiversity offer the most exploitable resources to humans, and so are the most threatened. The forests of the world (especially the rainforests) are in danger due to logging, mining, and burning for cropland or habitable space. This causes a slew of problems, and yet we are reliant on the timber of all forest biomes for paper, housing, and other wood products. The only way to reduce our addiction to wood is to use alternate, more sustainable means to get building materials and paper.
The tundra is in danger because the warming temperatures are melting the permafrost, releasing greenhouses gasses and turning the wastes into a big swamp.
- area where evaporation exceeds precipitation, annual precipitation is low, and uneven throughout the year
-Vegetation: sparse, low, widely spaced
-Cover about 30% of Earth’s land
-largest deserts found on interior of continents
-hot during the day, cold at night because heat stored in the ground evaporates quickly
∑ Tropical deserts: hot and dry, few plants, windblown surface ex. Saudi Arabia
∑ Temperate deserts: daytime temps-hot in summer/cold in winter, more precipitation than tropical deserts, sparse vegetation ex. Reno, Nevada
∑ Cold (polar) deserts: cold in the winter, warm in summers, low precipitation ex. Northwest China
-desert animals: small, some hide in burrows or have dormant periods to survive heat
-take a long time to recover from disturbances because‡ slow plant growth, low species diversity, slow nutrient cycling (not many bacteria in soil), lack of water
∑ Euphotic zone: lighted upper zone where phytoplankton reside, nutrient levels low (except for upwelling), DO level high, populated by large, fast-swimming, predatory fish i.e. swordfish, sharks
∑ Bathyal zone: dimly lit middle layer where there is zooplankton and smaller fish
∑ Abyssal zone: lowest zone; dark, cold, low levels of DO, enough nutrients on ocean floor to support 98% of species living in ocean, contains a lot of deposit feeders (eat detritus from dying organisms), filter feeders-oysters, clams, sponges
-open ocean is largest contributor to Earth’s overall NPP because of its large surface area
Temperate Deciduous Forests:
-characterized by trees that survive the winters by dropping their leaves which then decay and create nutrient-rich soil
-grow in areas with moderate average temperatures, defined seasons: warm summers, cold winters, abundant precipitation
-oaks, hickories, maples, poplars, beeches common
-have less diversity of trees than tropical rainforests but more at ground level
-makes up less than 10% of world’s ocean area but contains 90% of all marine species
-warm, nutrient-rich, shallow water
-made up of the land and water from the high-tide mark to the low edge of the continental shelf
-very affected by humans because many humans live near/in coastal zones
-have high NPP per unit of area because of abundant sunlight and therefore plant life
-AKA Evergreen coniferous forests, boreal forests
-located south of the arctic tundra in northern regions of north America, Asia, Europe
-sub arctic climate-winters are long, dry, extremely cold w/ little sunlight
-coniferous evergreen trees dominate ex. spruce, pine, cedar, hemlock –narrow pointy leaves, year round
-low plant diversity due to thin, nutrient-poor, acidic soil
-lands covered in freshwater all or part of the time that are inland like:
∑ Marshes: grasses and reeds w/ few trees
∑ Swamps: trees and shrubs
∑ Prairie potholes: depressions carved out by glaciers
∑ Floodplains: receive excess water during heavy rains and floods
∑ Bottomland hardwood swamps
-they filter toxic wastes, pollutants , absorb and store excess water during storms
- large, natural bodies of fresh water fed from rainfall, melting snow, and streams
lake zones (determined by depth and distance from shore):
∑ Limnetic zone: open, sunlit water away from the shore, main photosynthetic body of lake
∑ Profundal zone: deep, open water, too dark for photosynthesis, low oxygen levels, fish found there
∑ Benthic zone: bottom of the lake-detritivores, detritus feeders, and fish-nourished by detritus and sediment that sinks to that level
-during summer and winter lake layers are stratified which can trap pollution, but twice a year the layers overturn which can dilute the pollutionMarine Ecosystems:
- made up of coastal zones, coastal wetlands, intertidal zones, coral reefs, open ocean, and freshwater life zonesRestoration Ecology: Restoration ecology is the scientific discipline of environmental restoration, or returning degraded ecosystems and landscapes to a "reference" state where ecological communities and processes are re-established. The goals and objectives of restoration studies and projects are defined by the reference state which is selected. Restoration ecology was once labeled "the acid test of ecology" because every project requires an understanding of the field of ecology and tests the predictive ability of these theories.
The concept of a reference site is somewhat problematic in defining the discipline, in that our biases are reflected in our choice of reference.
Preservationists vs. Reservationists:
A key difference between the Preservationist and Conservationist schools is their view of the use of environmental resources. In summery, Preservationist view is that the environment has an intrinsic value, that is, the environment has value solely in itself. Therefore the name "preservationist" is explaining the goal to preserve the environment is its natural form, making as little change as possible.
Conservationists, however, view the environment with an instrumental value. While conservationists are to be considered far more "environmentally friendly" than many, they do not have the same "let it be" view as preservationists do. Instead, they look at the environment and look for what it can do.
Restoration: the partial or complete restoration of natural areas that have been degraded by human activities
Source (unless otherwise stated): Miller, G. Tyler. “Living in the Environment.” Brooks an Cole: Pacific Grove, 2005.
What are the ways to protect, repair and manage ecological hot spots?
Conservation biology – use emergency responses to slow down rate at which we are destroying and degrading the earth’s biodiversity. These biologists idenstify most endangered and species rich ecosystems called hot spots. One can send in rapid assessment teams of biologists to evaluate the situations, make recommendations, and tak emergency action to stem the loss of biodiversity in such areas. This is all based on Aldo Leopold’s ethical principle that something is right when it tends to maintain the earth’s life-support systems for us andother species and wrong when it doesn not.
o The species approach: Protect species from premature exinction
∑ Identify endangered species and protect their critical habitats
∑ Legally protect endangered species
∑ Manage habitat
∑ Propagate endangered species in captivity
∑ Reintroduce species into suitable habitats
o The ecosystem approach: Protect populations of species in their natural habitats
∑ Preserve sufficient areas of habitats in different biomes and aquatic systems
∑ Protect habitat areas through private purchase or government action
∑ Eliminate or reduce populations of nonnative species from protected areas
∑ Manage protected areas to sustain native species
∑ Restore degraded ecosystems
o Biome – A terrestrial region inhabited by certain types of life
o Ecological Hot Spot – Any area that threatens other areas in terms of biodiversity
o Benthic Plant – Plants that grow on the bottom of a body of water
o Ecosystem – a localized group of interdependent organisms together with the environment that they inhabit and depend on
o Epiphytes – Plants that grow its roots on trees (not in soil), found in tropical rainforest biome!
o Estuary – The place where the mouth of a river and a costal zone collide
o Habitat – the natural conditions and environment in which a plant or animal lives
o Permafrost – Perennial frozen layer of soil found in the artic tundra
o Quadrant Sampling Method
o Mitigation - Mitigation is the cornerstone of emergency management. It's the ongoing effort to lessen the impact disasters have on people's lives and property through damage prevention and flood insurance. Through measures such as, building safely within the floodplain or removing homes altogether; engineering buildings and infrastructures to withstand earthquakes: and creating and enforcing effective building codes to protect property from floods, hurricanes and other natural hazards, the impact on lives and communities is lessened.
o Restoration Ecology - fosters the exchange of ideas among the many disciplines involved in the process of ecological restoration. Addressing global concerns and communicating them to the international scientific community, the journal is at the forefront of a vital new direction in science and ecology. Original papers describe experimental, observational, and theoretical studies on terrestrial, marine, and freshwater systems, and are considered without taxonomic bias.
Savanna – Warm places that have rain except during dry seasons
∑ Have enormous herds of hoofed animals
Taiga – Evergreen coniferous forest in cold climates also known as boreal
∑ Just south of artic tundraWhat are the characteristics of the major biomes of the Earth?∑ Ecological and Terrestrial Biomes
Grasslands: Savanna (the tropical grassland)
∑ Cover almost half the surface of Africa mostly in central africa)
∑ Found in warm climates where annual rainfall is from about 50.8 to 127 per year.
∑ Crucial that rain fall is concentrated in 6-8 months
o So that fires can occur
o Otherwise areas would become tropical forest
∑ Elephants create savannas by eating leaves and twigs, breaking off the branches, smashing the trunks and stripping the bark of trees
o Can convert dense woodland to open grassland in short period of time
o Annual fires then maintain area as savanna
∑ Soil: porous with rapid drainage of water
o Only thin layer of nutrients
∑ Weather patterns:
o Rainy and dry season
o Fires play vital role in biodiversity
ß Prevalent around hanuary, height of dry season
ß Caused by poachers who want to see prey easier
ß Most animals don’t die in these fires
∑ Feast for birds, eat dead insects
ß Large animals can run fast enough to escape
ß Grasses deep roots remain unharmed
∑ Ready to send up new growth when soil moisturizes
ß Trees survive fire by keeping moisture in the above ground parts
∑ Bark is sometimes fire resistant
ß When rain comes, grasses grow vigorously
∑ New surge of life
∑ Antelope calves born, lots of grass to feed on
∑ Animals: Antelope, giraffes, zebras, buffaloes, kangaroos, mice, moles, gophers, ground squirrels, snakes, worms, termites, beetles, lions, leapords, hyenas and elephants
∑ L savanna in danger due to poaching, overgrazing, and clearing land for grops
o Grass as dominant vegitation
o Trees and large shrubs are absent
o Less rainfall than savannas
o South Africa, Hungary, Argentina and Uruguay, the steppes of the former soviet union, plains and praires of U.S.
o Hot summers and cold winters
o Seasonal drought and occasional fires are very important to biodiversity
o Soil is deep and dark
∑ Nutrient rich
∑ Grass roots hold soil together – provide food source for living plant
o The various species of grasses include purple needlegrass, blue grama, buffalo grass, and galleta.
∑ Flowers include asters, blazing stars, coneflowers, goldenrods, sunflowers, clovers, psoraleas, and wild indigos.
o Precipitation in the temperate grasslands usually occurs in the late spring and early summer. The annual average is about 50.8 to 88.9 cm (20-35 inches). The temperature range is very large over the course of the year. Summer temperatures can be well over 38° C (100 degrees Fahrenheit), while winter temperatures can be as low as -40° C (-40 degrees Fahrenheit).
o Animals: gazelles, zebras, rhinoceroses, wild horses, lions, wolves, prairie dogs, jack rabbits, deer, mice, coyotes, foxes, skunks, badgers, blackbirds, grouses, meadowlarks, quails, sparrows, hawks, owls, snakes, grasshoppers, leafhoppers, and spiders.
o Few natural prairie regions remain because most have been turned into farms/grzing land
∑ Because are flat, treeless, covered with grass and rich soil
o Dry areas of grassland with hot summers and cold winters
o North America and Europe
o Plants in steppes are greater tan 1 foot all
o Plants:blue grama and buffalo grass, cacti, sagebrush, speargrass, and small relatives of the sunflower.
o Animals: badgers, hawks, owls, and snakes.
o Overgrazing, plowing, and excess salts left behind by irrigation waters have harmed some steppes. Strong winds blow loose soil from the ground after plowing, especially during droughts. This causes the dust storms of the Great Plains of the U.S.
Tropical Rain Forest
∑ Great specie diversity
∑ Occur near equator
∑ Distinct seasonality: winter absent (only rainy and dry seasons)
∑ Temperature : 20-25 C, varies little throughout year
∑ Rainfal is evenly distributed, exceeding 20mm
∑ Soil is nutrient poor and acidic, decomposition is rapid and soils are subject to heavy leaching
∑ Little light penetration through canopy
∑ Plants: one square kilometer may contain as many as 100 different tree species. Trees are 25-35 m tall, with buttressed trunks and shallow roots, mostly evergreen, with large dark green leaves. Plants such as orchids, bromeliads, vines (lianas), ferns, mosses, and palms are present in tropical forests.
∑ Animals: Fauna include numerous birds, bats, small mammals, and insects.
∑ More than 1⁄2 of tropical forests have already been destroyed.
∑ Two types of tundra
o On mountains with high elevation where trees cannot grow
o Plants: tussock grasses, dwarf trees, small-leafed shrubs, and heaths
ß Mammals: pikas, marmots, mountain goats, sheep, elk
ß Birds: grouselike birds
ß Insects: springtails, beetles, grasshoppers, butterflies
o Location: Northern Hempisphere, encircling the north pole
o Temperature: Cold, desert like
ß Winter: -34 C
ß Summer: 3-12 C
o Fun Fact: A layer of permanently frozen soil exists called permafrost
ß No deep root systems
o Plants: lichen, low shrubs, grasses, reindeer mosses, 400 varieties of flowers
ß 1,700 kinds of plants in the arctic and subarctic
ß Adapted to harsh winds
ß Group together
ß Short growing seasons
ß Herbivorous mammals: lemmings, voles, caribou, arctic hares and squirrels
ß Carnivorous mammals: arctic foxes, wolves, and polar bears
ß Migratory birds: ravens, snow buntings, falcons, loons, ravens, sandpipers, terns, snow birds, and various species of gulls
ß Insects: mosquitoes, flies, moths, grasshoppers, blackflies and arctic bumble bees
ß Fish: cod, flatfish, salmon, and trout
ß Able to handle long winters and able to reproduce quickly in summer
ß Mammals and Birds have additional insulation (blubber!!!)
ß Many animals hibernate in the winter months due to food scarcity
∑ Characteristics of Tundra
∑ Extremely cold climate – night temp: bellow freezing
o Coldest of all the biomes
∑ Low biotic diversity
∑ Simple vegetation structure
∑ Limitation of drainage
∑ Short season of growth and reproduction
∑ Energy and nutrients in the form of dead organic material
∑ Large population oscillations
Lakes and Ponds Lakes and Ponds
∑ Several lakes are remnants from Plestocene glaciation
∑ POonds are seasonal, while l akes my exist for hundreds of years
∑ Limited species diversity since often isolated from other water sources
∑ Topmost zone
∑ Near shore of lkae/pond
∑ Warmest and can absorb more of Sun’s heat
∑ Sustains diverse community, algae, rooted floating aquatic plants, snails, clams, insects, crustaceans, fishes and amphibians
o Food for other creatures like turtles snakes and ducks
∑ Near surface Zone
∑ Well lighted
∑ Dominated by plankton
o Small organisms that play crucial role in food chane
o Without aquatic plankton, there would be few living organisms in the world and no humans
o Short life spans – when die, fall to deep water
∑ Some freshwater fish
∑ Deap water
∑ Colder and denser
∑ Little light
∑ Animals eat the dead organisms and use oxygen for cellular respiration
∑ Summer: range from 4 C near bottom and 22 C to top
∑ Winter – Bottom 4 C while top can be ice
Streams and Rivers
∑ Moving in one direction
∑ Get start at headwaters: springs, snomelt or lakes
∑ Travel to mouth, other water channel or ocean
∑ Temperature of stream is cooler at source than the mouth
∑ At Source – water is clearer, higher oxygen, freshwater fish like trout
∑ Middle of Stream: width increases,
∑ Higher species diversity: aquatic green plants, algae
∑ Water becomes murky – not as much light penetrate through
∑ Less diversity of flora
∑ Fish that require less oxygen such as catfish and carp
∑ Where freshwater streams or rivers merge with the ocean
∑ Very interesting and unique ecosystem cause of different salt concentration
∑ Microflora like algae, and macroflora, such as seaweeds, marsh grasses, and mangrove trees (only in the tropics), can be found here.
∑ Estuaries support a diverse fauna, including a variety of worms, oysters, crabs, and waterfowl.
∑ Evaporation exceeds precipitation
∑ Less than 25cm of rain per year
∑ Little vegetation
o Temperate Deciduous Forest
∑ Enough precipitation to support Trees
∑ Trees drop leaves in autumn (which is when Halloween is)
∑ Means of Protection
o Restoration Ecology
o Preservationists vs. Restorationists
o Ecosystem Management
*Federal and State Agencies