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Ecological system with defined boundaries. Have both biotic and abiotic components

Earth is a

Closed system with respect to matter, but open with respect to energy

Energy flows through

Ecological communities from producers to consumers

Four compartments of the physical environment

1. Atmosphere
2. Oceans
3. Freshwaters
4. Land


A thin layer of gases surrounding the Earth

The air is made up of _____ percent nitrogen



Over long time scales most materials that cycle through the 4 compartments end up in the oceans

Concentrations of nutrients are very

Low in most ocean waters


Rivers, lakes, and groundwater

Waters moves _____ through freshwater compartments


Mineral nutrients enter fresh water through

Weathering of rock


Elements move slowly on land

Land is connected to atmosphere by

Organisms that can convert both ways

Chemical solutions can be carried by


Solar energy drives nearly all

Ecosystem processes on Earth

Solar energy enters ecosystems via

Plants and other photo-synthesizers

Open oceans have ____ rate of primary productivity


Open oceans contribute the

Greatest percentage because they are really big

Human activities modify

Energy flow

Hydrologic Cycle is the cycling of

Water through the four compartments

The hydrologic cycle is powered by the


Carbon Cycle

All organisms contain carbon and their energy comes from carbon compounds

Most carbon is stored in

Rocks and minerals

Nitrogen Cycle

Hard to get a hold of. Bacteria use it

Phosphorus Cycle

Is important to plants

Ecosystems provide

Food and service that aren't found any other way. Good include food, clean water, clean air

Eliminate subsidies

Result in damage to ecosystems, overuse of fertilizers, and reduced profitability of agriculture in developing

Conservation Biology

Is an applied science, devoted to protecting and managing Earth's biodiversity

Conservation Biology is guided by 3 principles which are

1. Evolutions is the process that unites all of biology
2. The ecological world is dynamic
3. Humans are apart of ecosystems

"Biodiversity" has meanings

1. Amount of genetic variation
2. Species richness
3. Ecosystem diversity

Species is richness is ______ diversity


Ecosystem diversity is _____ diversity


We derive enormous psychological benefit from

Watching and interacting with other species [Aesthetic benefits]

Problems with predicting how many/which species will be extinct

1. We don't know how many species live on Earth
2. We don't know where all the species live
3. It's difficult to determine when a species is actually becoming extinct
4. We rarely know all the connections among species

Human Activities that threaten survival of other species

1. Habitat destruction
2. Introduction of exotic species
3. Overexploitation
4. Climate change

Habitat Loss is the

Most important cause of endangerment in the world

Small patched can only support

Small populations

Edge Effects

As patch size decreases it has more "Edge"

Some exotic become

Invasive (Too many of them)

Brown tree snake arrived on

Guam in air cargo in the 40's and has caused 15 different types of bird's extinctions

Established protected ares is an

Important part of efforts to preserve diversity

Priority System is to

Pick which systems to protect

Biodiversity hotspots are the ones with

The most diversity of animals per area

Restoration ecology

Methods are being developed to restore degraded habitats to a more natural state

Fynbos are

Species rich areas

A specific fynbo is the one in

Western cape providence, 2/3 of western cape comes from fynbos

Ecological Community

Consists of all the species that coexist and interact in a define area

Communities may differ in

Species Richness (Number of species)

Trophic Cascade

Progression of indirect effects across successive trophic levels

New predator could change the

Trophic Cascade

Ecosystem Engineers

Organisms that build such structures. They change the system

Keystone Species

A species that exerts a large influence on a community that is out of proportions

Alpha Diversity

Diversity within a single community or habitat

Alpha diversity is measured by

Counting species (Species Richness)

Beat Diversity

Between-Habitat diversity, change in species composition from one community to another

Gamma Diversity

Regional diversity over a range of communities in a geographic region

Gamma Diversity equals

Alpha diversity of each community combined with beta diversity from other communities

The species-area relationship

More species the bigger the area is, the smaller the area the less species it can fit

Island Biogeography was developed by

Robert MacArthur and E.D. Wilson,

Island Biogeography was developed to

Explain why islands have fewer species than from that of the mainland

Species Pool

Number of species in the area providing the immigrants

Rates of immigration and extinction are influenced by 2 factors

1. Distance from the species pool
2. Size of the island

A disturbance is a

Abiotic event that changes the survival rate of one or more species

Patterns change in community composition following disturbance is called


Climax Community

Predictable progression until it becomes average

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