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Chapter 54

Chapter 54 - Chapter 54 Ecology and the Distribution of...

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Chapter 54: Ecology and the Distribution of Life 54.1 – What is ecology? o Ecology is the scientific study of interactions between organisms and their environment o This includes abiotic and biotic factors o For example – the way sunlight, temperature, humidity, shrubs, geology, wind, parasites, reindeer and microorganisms work together o By examining these interactions, biologists can study the impact that a changing environment has on the world o Ecology generates knowledge about the interactions in the natural world o Environmentalism is the use of ecological knowledge, along with economics, ethics and many other considerations, to inform the public policy relating to stewardship and ecosystems o Lake erie provides water for 40 million people and is a major water source for agriculture o Industrialization polluted lake erie so much that it caught on fire in 1969 54.2 – Why do climates vary geographically? o Weather refers to the short term state of atmospheric conditions o Climate refers to the average atmospheric conditions over a long period of time o Solar energy is a major determinant of the climate on earth o At lower latitudes the sun strikes a smaller surface area, leading to higher temps o At higher latitudes, the sun strikes a large surface area, leading to lower temperatures o Elevation at a certain point on earth also contributes to the climate there o When air is warm, it expands, so it rises over cold air due to the difference in density o The solar energy heats the air, continually making it rise and fall circularly (fig 54.2) o The rotation of the earth on its axis also influences prevailing winds o Due to the coriolis effect, winds curve when the earth is turning at a speed faster than that of the wind
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o The earth’s diameter is greatest at the poles therefore the stationary air mass has the same rotational velocity as does the earth at the same latitude, as an air mass moves toward the equator, however its rotational movement becomes slower than that of earth beneath it. o Conversely, the rotational movement of an air mass moving pole ward is faster than that of the surface beneath it.
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