Ch. 3 - Study Guide - Chapter 3 Study Guide Chapter 3...

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Study Guide - Chapter 3 Study Guide – Chapter 3 Ecology is the science of relationships between living organisms and their environments. We can classify living organisms by species (similar by genetic make-up, could breed together) populations (groups within a species that actually do breed together, although they are not exactly alike genetically, which we call the population’s genetic diversity ), and communities (many populations living together in a habitat ). At higher classifications, we have many communities living in an ecosystem, with all ecosystems contained in the biosphere – Figure 3.2. Microorganisms are mostly overlooked during our routine daily activities, but they perform critical functions that keep ecosystems functioning, e.g., as integral parts of several biogeochemical cycles (e.g., nitrogen), as fermentation catalysts, and as decomposers of dead organic material. The field of biotechnology is putting a tremendous amount of effort into microorganismal research to attack disease, energy, and pollution problems. All of the activities that support life on the planet are dependent on the stratosphere (particularly the ozone layer in the lower portion), the atmosphere , particularly the lower portion called the troposphere , for air (78% nitrogen!), the hydrosphere (water, ice, permafrost, and water vapor) for water and the hydrologic cycle (how water moves through Earth’s ecosystems, e.g., from rain, to streams, to rivers, to the oceans, to water vapor and clouds, and then back to rain) and the lithosphere (the upper mantle and crust) for minerals, nutrients, and fossil fuels. Life evolved on the planet based on two central processes, the one-way flow of energy from the sun, all of which is eventually degraded to heat, and the recycling of nutrients in biogeochemical cycles. The electromagnetic energy from the sun warms the planet and supports photosynthesis by plants and some bacteria. Interesting that only about 1% of the energy reaching the Earth’s surface generates wind patterns, and only about 0.1% fuels photosynthesis. Most of the energy reaching the planet is converted to longer-wave infrared energy that is radiated back from the planet’s surface, interacts with greenhouse gasses, and warms the biosphere. Eventually all of the energy as heat goes back into space, but you can see that even a small percentage increase in the greenhouse effect will cause global
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course RNR 1001 taught by Professor W.kelso during the Spring '08 term at LSU.

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Ch. 3 - Study Guide - Chapter 3 Study Guide Chapter 3...

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