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Ecosystems of the World

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  1. Ecosystems of the World AP Study Review

  2. Naming Ecosystems • Terrestrial Ecosystems = Biomes • Separated based upon their climate, which involves average temperatures and rainfall • Aquatic Ecosystems = Aquatic Life Zones • Separated based upon light availability, nutrient availability and water temperature • Ecozones / Ecoregions: • Areas within an ecosystem which share similar characteristics • Ecotone: • Area where two different ecosystems meet

  3. Biomes: Deciduous Forest • Temperate and Tropical variety • 75-250cm of rain • Rich soil with a high level of organic material • Major vegetation = Hardwood Trees • Locations: • North America, Europe, Australia, East Asia

  4. Biomes: Tropical Rainforest • 200-400cm of rainfall • There is poor soil quality, why?? • Dead organic matter is processed so efficiently and plants are so efficient at taking in nutrients that any nutrients which enter the soil are almost immediately taken up and stored • Soil of most rainforests is greater than 100 million years old, it rains a lot = nutrient leaching • Major Vegetation: Tall trees, vines, ferns, plants adapted to lower light intensity • >>>>> biodiversity • Locations: • South America, West Africa, and Southeast Asia

  5. Biomes: Grasslands • Includes savanna and prairies • 10-60cm of rain per year • Most areas have very rich soil • Major vegetation: grasses and shrubs • Locations: • North American plains and prairies, Russian steppes, South African veld, Argentinian pampas

  6. Biomes: Coniferous Forest • AKA: Taiga • 20-60cm in the summer • The soil is very acidic because of the vegetation present • Major vegetation: Conifers (“pine trees”) • Locations: • Northern North America, northern Eurasia

  7. Biomes: Tundra • < 25cm of precipitation per year • Soil is permanently frozen • Current problem is that the permafrost is melting due to the increasing global temperature • Major vegetation: herbaceous plants • Locations: • Northern latitudes of North America, Europe, and Asia

  8. Biomes: Chaparral • AKA: Scrub Forest • 50-75cm of precipitation mostly in the winter • Soil is shallow and not fertile • Major Vegetation: small trees with hard leaves, and spiny shrubs • Locations: • Western North America, and Mediterranean region

  9. Biomes: Deserts • Could be cold or hot • < 25cm of precipitation per year • Soil is sandy • Major vegetation: cacti and other plants that are adapted to low water conditions • Locations: • 30 degrees north and south of the equator

  10. Biome Characteristics • Every single biome contains certain characteristics unique to itself • Determine which organisms are capable in living within the biome • Characteristics include: • Availability of nutrients and water • Temperature • Precipitation • Light availability • # and type of disturbances, if present

  11. Biome Laws • Law of Tolerance • Living organisms exhibit a range of tolerance toward the condition in their habitat and the surrounding environment • Law of the Minimum • Living organisms will continue to live in a biome, habitat, or environment as long as there is a supply of consumable/usable resources

  12. Diversity • Biodiversity • Describes the number and variety of different species in a specific geographic region • Why is biodiversity important? • Used to measure how ‘healthy’ an ecosystem is • The more biodiversity within species in an ecosystem means that there is a larger gene pool through which adaptation can occur = survival