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Unformatted text preview: 1 ©PROJECT OCEANOGRAPHY 1 NEIGHBORHOOD WATER QUALITY FALL 2000 NEIGHBORHOOD WATER QUALITY Lesson 1: Aquatic Ecosystems Keywords: ecosystem, ecology, watershed, surface water, hydrologic cycle, evaporation, transpiration, precipitation, surface runoff, percolation, porous, aquifer, groundwater, spring, pond, phytoplankton, zooplankton, photosynthesis, An ecosystem is a natural unit of living and nonliving parts that interact to produce a stable system. Ecology is the study of ecosystems, or how living things relate to the environment and to one another. Understanding this relationship is important because living things and non-living things depend upon and impact each other. Ecosystems operate from day to day by exchanging energy. The energy exchanged within an ecosystem is recycled between the physical and biological components. The plants within an ecosystem convert the sun's energy into food, and are in turn grazed upon by animals, which are consumed by predators. Microorganisms within an ecosystem, such as fungi and bacteria, also exchange energy within the ecosystem by breaking down waste material to substances that can be used by plants for food. In this way, each element within the ecosystem depends on the others for survival. Aquatic Ecosystems and Watersheds Aquatic ecosystems include oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries, and wetlands. Within these aquatic ecosystems are living things that depend on the water for survival, such as fish, plants, and microorganisms. These ecosystems are very fragile and can be easily disturbed by pollution. All living things within an ecosystem share the same watershed. A watershed is an area of land over which water flows to reach a common body of water such as a lake or pond. We all live in a watershed, or drainage basin. Watersheds can be as large as the Mississippi River drainage basin or as small as a farm with a pond. Your watershed may be made up of mountains, farms, houses, businesses, or towns. You share your watershed with all other living things within the ecosystem. ©PROJECT OCEANOGRAPHY 2 NEIGHBORHOOD WATER QUALITY FALL 2000 NEIGHBORHOOD WATER QUALITY A watershed is a good example of how the living and nonliving things within an ecosystem depend upon each other. Altering a watershed will affect all the living things within that watershed. People can alter a watershed by paving over land and constructing buildings. This will affect how water flows over the land and may cause harmful materials to flow directly into the water. This will have an effect on the organisms that depend on the water for survival. For example, some fish feed on organisms in the water. Polluted water may cause these organisms to die, leaving the fish with no food....
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- Spring '11