Chapter 15 The Biosphere
Section 15.1 Life in the Earth System
#2 The biota is the collection of living things that live in the biosphere.
The biosphere is interconnected with three other spheres of the physical environment: the lithosphere(underground), the hydrosphere (underwater), and the atmosphere (in the air).
#3 The hydrosphere includes all the Earth’s water, ice and water vapor.
#4 Theatmosphereis the air that blankets the solid and liquid portion of the biosphere.
#5 The geoshere are the features of the Earth’s surface such as continents, rocks and the sea floor.
Section 14.2 Climate
#6 Climate is the average long-term weather pattern of a region.
The biosphere is not spread out evenly over the planet. Different geological features and differing amounts of rainfall create different ecosystems with ponds, lakes, wood and grasslands distributed unevenly. This leads to “specialized” HABITATS or special environments where organisms live.
Organisms living in the same climate region may be exposed to different conditions created by shade, snow cover, or windbreaks. Such small-scale differences in climate result in a MICROCLIMATE, the climate in a specific area that varies from the surrounding climate region. #7
Abiotic factors that effect the habitats that organisms live in. SUNLIGHT-The sun provides light and warmth and is the energy source for almost all ecosystems on Earth. Sunlight powers photosynthesis by plants, the main producers in most terrestrial (land) ecosystems. WATER-Water is essential to all life on Earth. All organisms contain water—in fact, humans consist of nearly 70 percent water!
TEMPERATURE-Most life exists within a fairly narrow range of temperatures, from about 0°C to about 50°C. SOIL-is the product of abiotic forces (such as ice, rain, and wind) and the actions of living things (such as microorganisms, plants, and earthworms) on the rocks and minerals of Earth's crust. The structure and chemical makeup of soil and rock in an area affect the types of plants that grow there.
WIND-can affect the distribution and the activities of organisms in several ways. Wind moves clouds and rain over Earth's surface. Wind also stirs up water in ponds, lakes, and streams, creating currents that in turn bring up nutrients from the bottom. SEVEREDISTURBANCES-Major natural disturbances that affect ecosystems include fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, floods, and volcanic eruptions. Some disturbances, such as volcanic eruptions, are so infrequent that organisms have not acquired evolutionary adaptations to them. Other disturbances, such as fires, occur frequently in some communities.
Because the earth’s axis is not vertical and the earth is spherical, different locations on the earth receive different amounts of solar energy. The type of ecosystems found in a certain parts of the world are usually determined by the climate of the region—particularly the range of temperature and amount of rainfall. These abiotic factors influence the types of organisms that live in the region. Earth's climate patterns are largely produced by the uneven heating of the planet by the sun. #8
The Earth's surface can be divided into different temperature zones based on lines of latitude.
The uneven heating of Earth's surface by the sun is also a driving force behind global patterns of winds and precipitation (rain, snow, and sleet). When air is warmed it can absorb more moisture, and it also tends to rise. Thus air near the equator, heated by the direct rays of the sun, absorbs moisture and rises. Higher in the atmosphere the air cools again, forming clouds that produce rainfall. This pattern means that many areas of Earth close to the equator tend to have warm temperatures and heavy rainfall year-round.
The rising and falling of air masses, combined with Earth's rotation, produce predictable wind patterns. These wind patterns combine with the uneven heating of Earth's surface, the rotation of the Earth, and the shapes of the continents, producing surface currents. A current is a river-like flow pattern within a body of water.
The uneven heating of Earth's surface by the sun is also a driving force behind global patterns of winds and precipitation (rain, snow, and sleet). When air is warmed it can absorb more moisture, and it also tends to rise. Thus air near the equator, heated by the direct rays of the sun, absorbs moisture and rises. Higher in the atmosphere the air cools again, forming clouds that produce rainfall. After losing moisture over the equator, air masses spread away from the tropics. The rising and falling of air masses, combined with Earth's rotation, produce predictable wind patterns. These wind patterns combine with the uneven heating of Earth's surface, the rotation of the Earth, and the shapes of the continents, producing surface currents.
Section 15.3 Biomes
BIOMES are large geographical areas, controlled by climate and distinguished by distinct plants and animals. #9
Six Major Terrestrial Biomes #10 • Tropical Rain Forest • Desert • Taiga • Grasslands • Temperate Forest • Tundra
Tropical Rain Forest #11 Area found near the equator where it rains almost every day (200-400 cm/year). The trees are very tall (70 meters) and provide a canopy that does not allow much light to the forest floor. There are large animals on the forest floor and many animals that live in the tree tops. Insects and spiders are very abundant. eg: monkeys, bats, sloth's, snakes, colorful birds etc.
#12 The uppermost branches of the trees in the rain forest form a covering or canopy that restricts 99% of the light from reaching the ground.
Grasslands #13 This biome occurs where there are long dry periods and short amounts of rain. There are scattered trees, but occasional fires prevent large tree growth. Prairie dogs, buffalo, coyotes and large numbers of insects inhabit the grasslands.
Tropical Grasslands (Savanna) #14 Savannas are found in the tropical regions of Africa, Australia, and South America. They are grasslands with scattered trees. Animals of the savanna such as zebras, wildebeest, antelope, and, kangaroos, as well as numerous insects. Savannas typically have a warm climate with alternating wet and dry seasons. The dry seasons may include long periods of drought, when no rain falls.
Temperate Grasslands Temperate grasslands receive rain in the spring and early summer, then have long periods of draught. There are a lot of wild flowers and prairie dogs and insects.
#15 Deserts The lack of water defines a desert. Usually, they are very hot, but they can be cold also. Deserts have less than 25 cm of rainfall per year. The plants that live in the desert are adapted to retain water when it does rain. The animals are adapted to not lose water. The cactus, snakes, Gila monster, lizards etc are examples of organisms found in a desert.
In forest biomes, trees are the dominate species #17 Deciduous forests contain trees that loose their leaves in the fall Coniferous forests contain trees that do not loose their leaves
Coniferous Forests Coniferous forests contain trees that retain their needles (leaves) all year. Moss, lichens, ferns, Bald Eagles, porcupines, raccoons, brown bears, owls and hawks are found in the area.
Temperate Deciduous Forest #16 These forest have trees that loose their leaves. These forest experience rainy seasons and cold winters. The summers may be very warm. The trees are deciduous and there is a large variety of birds and insects. Wolves, deer and bears are the large animals on the forest floor.
Temperate Rain Forest The rain forest does not receive precipitation on a daily basis. There is usually a long rainy season followed by a relatively dry summer season. #17 Red cedar, cattails, moss and lichens are common plants of the region. Black bears, raccoons, cougars and elk are common animals.
Taiga (boreal forest) #19 The taiga is found where winters are very long and cold. The summers are short and mild. The trees are conifers. Moose, elk and black bears are the large animals. Most of the smaller mammals and birds migrate during the winter months
Tundra #20 The tundra is very cold most of the year. The soil is frozen solid most of the year. There is a short summer when the top few inches warms and the snow melts. The plants are very short, mostly lichens, moss, grass and some small shrubs. The animals either migrate in the winter or hibernate. eg: caribou, reindeer, wolves.
Chaparral Minor Biome #21 The chaparral is an area where the winter months that have a rainy season and then experience droughts in the summer time. The plants in the area are adapted for long periods without water. Skunks, mice, deer, scrub oak, birds and insects are abundant.
The polar zoneare the areas of the globe surrounding the poles. The North Pole and South Pole are regions dominated by the polar ice caps, resting respectively on the Arctic Ocean and the continent of Antarctica. #21 Polar region receive less intensive solar radiation because the sun's energy arrives at an oblique angle, spreading over a larger area, and also travels a longer distance through the Earth's atmosphere in which it may be absorbed, scattered or reflected, which is the same thing that causes winters to be colder than the rest of the year in temperate areas.
Section 15.4 Marine Ecosystems
Marine/Ocean Biome Oceans are large bodies of salt water. More than 250,000 known species live in ocean habitats. The ocean can be divided into different zones based on depth and on distance from shore. Whales, sharks, plankton, squid, and fish galore. #23