CHAPTER 2 - CHAPTER 2 ECOSYSTEMS: UNITS OF SUSTAINABILITY...

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CHAPTER 2 ECOSYSTEMS: UNITS OF SUSTAINABILITY I. What are Ecosystems? A. Ecosystems are the biotic and abiotic factors in a specified area that interact with one another. 1. Understanding the interaction of the biotic and abiotic factors in an ecosystem can help us to see why particular human activities may be a problem for human survival. 2. Example: The loss of ozone in the stratosphere increases the quantity of UV radiation on the surface of the planet. In the same way that humans experience sunburn from too much sun exposure, so do plants. Excessive UV may damage or destroy plant protein and DNA, killing the plant. B. Plants and animals interact with their abiotic environment. Attempts are made by the plant or animal to reduce or increase the quantity of an abiotic factor. 1. Aspens have a waxy coating on their bark to reduce the quantity of sunlight absorbed. 2. Desert plants have hair-like structures to reduce the quantity of sunlight reaching the leaf surface. 3. Pine trees have needle-like leaves that reduce the quantity of heat lost during the winter.
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Fig. 2.2 Ecosystems are not isolated from one another. One ecosystem blends into the next through a transitional region, an ecotone, which contains many species common to the two adjacent systems. Fig. 2.3 An ecotone may create a unique habitat with specialized species not found in either of the ecosystems bordering it. II. The Structure of Ecosystems.
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A. Feeding Relationships. 1. Trophic Categories. a. Producers create organic molecules proteins, lipids and carbohydrates- by capturing light energy and combining the captured energy with inorganic molecules. · Differentiate between organic and inorganic. · Differentiate between natural and synthetic. Fig. 2.4 The producers in all major ecosystems are green plants. b. Consumers feed on producers and would not exist without producers. · Primary consumers (herbivores) · Secondary consumers (carnivores) · Omnivores are both herbivorous and carnivorous.
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c. Detritus feeders and decomposers · Detritus feeders can be primary (feed directly on detritus) or secondary (feed on those who eat detritus). Generally detritus feeders can be described as those
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CHAPTER 2 - CHAPTER 2 ECOSYSTEMS: UNITS OF SUSTAINABILITY...

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