sustaining ecosystems

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  • What are ecosystems?
    • Ecosystem= an area where living organisms and non-living elements interact with each other
      • biotic = living elements of an ecosystem
        • plants
          • incl. trees, grasses, mosses and algae.
            • provide food and shelter for animals.
        • animals
          • incl. insects, birds and mammals
        • micro-organisms
          • e.g. fungi
            • breakdown dead plants and animals
              • releases nutrients into ecosystem.
      • Fauna = another term for animals
      • abiotic = non-living elements of an ecosystem
        • soils
          • store water and carbon nutrients that plants can use.
        • sunshine and rain
          • needed for photosynthesis
        • rocks
          • helps create soil and weathering adds nutrients to ecosystem.
      • Flora = another term for animals
    • how are they interdependent
      • interdependent -  everything relying on everything else to survive
    • Biomes
      • Globally significant ecosystems
        • Polar regions
          • Global distributions-found around north and south poles
          • Climate- Cold winter and cool summers (below 10)
          • Remember cold and dry!
          • Flora- small plants and close to the ground, only in summer
          • Fauna - mainly migrating animals and come in summer
        • Coral reefs
          • Global distribution -Mostly found 30 degrees north and south of the equator. A few miles off the coast
          • Flora - underwater so not many plants. However, wide range of seaweed and algae.
          • Climate- tropical and sub-tropical oceans. (16-30 ) Grow best in shallow, clear, salty water.
          • Fauna - coral is an jellyfish like animal. A third of the worlds fish population lives here.
          • Remember large numbers of animals!
        • Grasslands
          • Global distribution - between the tropics
          • Climate - warm all year (20-30). Wet and dry season (500-1500mm/year)
          • Fauna- grazing animals, e.g. zebras and hunting animals, e.g. lions.
          • Flora - grassland with widely spaced trees
        • Temarate forests
          • Global distribution - mid -latitudes between the tropics.
          • Climate - Warm summers and mild winters (5-20). Variable rainfall 500-1500 mm/year.
          • Flora - mainly deciduous tress.
          • Fauna- lots of mammals (foxes), birds (woodpeckers) and insects. Also insects on rivers and streams and food for fish e.g. trout .
          • Remember - Mild and wet climate !!
        • Hot deserts
          • Global distribution - north and south of the equator
          • Fauna- adapted to live in dry conditions e.g. camels. Also nocturnal so can hide in shade during the day. Several small animals e.g. kangaroo rat.
          • Flora - plant growth is sparse. cacti are adapted with waxy skin.
          • Remember - Low rainfall!!
          • Climate- little rainfall, less than 250mm. hot by day over 30 and cold by night.
    • organisms
      • food chain shows what eats what.
        • food web shows lots of food chains and how they overlap.
      • consumer gets energy by eating producer or other consumers.
        • e.g. lady bird or spiders.
      • producer uses sunlight to produce food.
        • for example blackberry bushes.
      • decomposer gets it's energy by breaking down dead material.
        • e.g. bateria and fungi.
          • This brings nutrients into soil which canoe used by plants.

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