EES100-lec11-biosphere_2013 (1)

EES100-lec11-biosphere_2013 (1) - Biosphere 1 Life What is...

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1 Biosphere
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Life What is Life ? No simple definition… Let the geologist try: Organized matter in the form of organisms that can adapt through replication, that consumes energy and produces byproducts in order to maintain homeostasis (regulation) • energy use supports organization and homeostasis (fights entropy) • evolution by natural selection involves a storage and transfer of information (human genome on order of 3 GB) • byproducts are “waste” but KKC calling it pollution : eh? Key point  for Earth systems: itself inherently changeable, life interacts with its environment and with other life (and Life, if you’re a Gaia fan).
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Life classification Conventional taxonomy based on shared characteristics: • Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species • emerges from common ancestry through evolution Another in my series of weird “educational” illustrations
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4 Autotrophs vs. Heterotrophs Autotrophs (primary producers): use energy to reduce inorganic carbon (CO2) to organic carbon; e.g. plants, algae Photosynthesis Chemosynthesis Heterotrophs (consumers): require organic matter to grow; e.g. animals, bacteria Aerobic respiration: oxidation using O2 to decompose organic matter and produce CO2 Anaerobic respiration: where no O2 present, produces CH4 Signature of Life: photosynthesis, fermentation, methanogenesis
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Ecology Ecology : study of the distribution and abundance of organisms, and the interactions between organisms with their environment Interactions are complex, multivariate, so ecology has a strong observational component with a strong overlay of systems thinking Ecology operates across the lab to shorter geologic timescales, so lab experiments, field manipulations and observations, and historical studies ala geology are all important
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Ecology provides a way to organize the dynamics of the biosphere Ecosystem : communities that interact with each other and their environment
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8 ECOSYSTEMS Ecosystems (ecological systems) are functional units based on the interactions of abiotic, biotic, and human components. Physical: soil, atmosphere (w/climate); water, etc. Living: community of interdependent species Processes: Biogeochemical cycles; Energy exchange
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Relationships between ecosystems
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Ecosystems and energy flow Flow of energy through ecosystems is an important concept Food Webs : connections between producers and feeders (elaboration on idea of food chains )
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12 Trophic Levels Where you are on the food chain… 1st Trophic Level 2nd Trophic Level 3rd Trophic Level 4th Trophic Level
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13 Terrestrial food web
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14 Marine Food Web More trophic levels
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15 Some species feed at many trophic levels (including humans)
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Ecological productivity Biomass mass of living organic matter per unit area (includes dead parts of living organisms) Primary productivity : rate of biomass production per unit area Gross primary productivity (GPP) : total energy fixed by photosynthesis; some of this is lost to respiration by plant Net primary productivity (NPP) : rate of production of new biomass (GPP – respiration)
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