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Flashcards in Ecosystem Ecology Deck (117):
1

the unit composed of all the living things in a single place at a given time, in addition to, the important non-living components of the system.

Ecosystem

2

encompasses all aspects of a biological community, in addition to factors such as rates of CO2 uptake, rates of nitrogen fixation from the atmosphere, precipitation, seasonal flooding and its effects on nutrients, etc.

Ecosystem

3

the largest and most encompassing ecosystem we know-it encompasses all the plants and animals on Earth.

Biosphere

4

Like communities, small ecosystems are “stacked” within larger ones, and the boundaries are sometimes diffuse.

Word!

5

Much of this discipline concerns itself with the flow of energy and biomass.

Ecoosystems Ecology

6

These two things are common to all biological communities

Nutrient Cycling and Energy Flow

7

The complex matrix of interactions among members of a community expends energy, as well as passing it from one member to the next through...

Trophic Interactions

8

Likewise, biomass is constantly recycled through these 4 things

Production, Predation, Herbivory, and Decomposition

9

The ultimate energy source for almost every ecosystem on earth.

The sun

10

These are a partial exception-(they rely on geothermal energy, but still depend upon oxygen fixed by photosynthetic organisms).

Hydrothermal Vent Communities

11

Energy enters ecosystems via this process

Photosynthesis (or, in a few exotic excosystems, chemosynthesis).

12

Organisms that bring energy into an ecosystem are called

Producers

13

Include green plants, algae, cyanobacteria, etc..anything that can make its own energy from nonliving components of the environment.

Producers

14

All metabolic processes consume energy in some way, and in each reaction, much of it is effectively “wasted”…

Ch'ya

15

Why are humans homeothermic? (Why do we generate our own heat?)

The wasted heat from metabolic processes, mostly as molecular motion, warms our bodies.

16

Ultimately, all biological energy radiates into the environment as

Infrared Light

17

a by-product of respiration

Infrared Light

18

Much energy is lost every time it passes from one trophic level to the next

True dat!

19

Does energy recycle on Earth?

No, it is continually replenished from the sun

20

Recycles through ecosystems

Matter

21

Atoms of every biologically important element constantly recycle through ecosystems, into the abiotic component of the biosphere, and back into living systems.

Word

22

How are elements passed from one organism to another?

Trophic Interactions
OR they are taken from the environment

23

Process that causes nonliving elements to have the potential to re-enter the atmosphere again

Decomposition

24

The path an element takes as it moves from abiotic systems through producers, consumers, and decomposers and back again

Biogeochemical Cyclye (life-Earth-chemical)

25

a schematic diagram that describes the trophic interactions in a community and documents energy flow

Food Web

26

also a trophic interaction that uses up the energy left over in dead bodies of organisms.

Decomposition

27

one path through a food web, from bottom to top.

Food Chain

28

Because energy is lost at each step, food chains have a limited number of links.

Yup!

29

defined as the weight of living matter (usually measured in dry weight per unit area).

Biomass

30

a figure that quantifies the relative amounts of living biomass found at each trophic level.

Pyramid of Biomass

31

In most ecosystems, the amount of biomass found in each trophic level increases or decreases progressively as one moves from the bottom to the top of the food chain?

Decreases

32

The most important producers vary from ecosystem to ecosystem.

OKOK

33

In cold-water marine systems, for instance, it may be a mixture of photosynthetic haplophytes, diatoms, and dinoflagellates.

Producers vary from ecosystem to ecosystem

34

Northern coniferous forests typically have a few dominant species of trees, such a pine, spruce, hemlock, cedar.
Tropical rain forests may support hundreds of species of trees.

Producers vary from ecosystem to ecosystem

35

Producer from ancient ecosystem that is a horsetail which formed colossal forests

Lepidodendron

36

Producer from ancient ecosystem which is a seed fern that covered vast continents

Glossopteris

37

Producer from an ancient ecosystem that is an enigmatic seed ferm or gymnosperm that dominated during the breakup of Pangea

Dicrodium

38

Producers- Spirulinia sp.,
Sea kelp, Ancient trees

Examples of producers

39

Primary consumers eat..

Producers

40

Do they possess more or less biomass than producers?

Less

41

In most ecosystems only a small amount of producer biomass is eaten (plants have evolved numerous mechanisms to protect tissues from consumption)

Cool

42

Why does a loss of biomass occur between trophic levels?

Digestive inefficiences and the return of CO2 to the atmosphere via cellular respiration

43

Assimilation efficiencies for most terrestrial herbivores range from

20-60%

44

These consume primary consumers.
These consume secondary consumers

Secondary Consumers
Tertiary consumers

45

Who has higher assimilation efficiences, carnivores or herbivores?

Carnivores (50-90 percent)

46

So why does only a small amount of assimilated energy become biomass in carnivores?

Used towards metabolic energy needs of body maintenance, growth, reproduction, and locomotion

47

Ankylosaur, pipevine swallow tail, and barrel cactai adapt to avoid participating in trophic transfer

Woo!

48

How many levels do food chains have typically?

Four or five

49

Less biomass occurs at higher trophic levels because

There is less energy available to consumers

50

an organism that exists on the top of several or all food chains in the ecosystem

may feed at various trophic levels, but ultimately, nothing (except parasites) eats them

Apex Predators

51

They are a reflection of the ecosystem as a whole-low productivity environments support fewer and less-impressive apex predators

Word!

52

For instance, fossil localities in arid environments do not have Tyrannosaurus rex fossils. We can infer that abundant hervivores, and extensive vegetation, were necessary to support populations of this species.

YEA! some examples:

Liopleurodon ferox,
Tyrannosaurus rex,
Dunkleosteus terreli

53

are organisms that eat dead organic matter

Decomposers
Scavengers,
Saprophytes
Detrivores

54

eat the dead bodies of living things, such as carrion, leaf litter, etc

Detrivores

55

are animals that eat dead animals. Most apex predators also do this

Scavengers

56

microscopic organisms that break down organic compounds into nonliving, inorganic precursors.

Decomposers

57

organisms that feed on dead organic matter, this term is usually applied to fungi or bacteria, but there are plant ones as well

Saprophytes

58

the amount of biomass produced through photosynthesis per unit area and time by producers.

Primary Productivity

59

It is usually expressed in units of energy (e.g., joules /m2 day) or in units of dry organic matter (e.g., kg /m2 year).

Primary productiviy

60

Globally, primary production amounts to how much dry plant biomass per year.?

243 billion metric tons

61

The total energy fixed by plants in a community through photosynthesis is referred to as

Gross Primary Productivity (GPP)

62

Most gross primary productivity is used via respiration by the producers themselves.

Okay

63

Subtracting respiration from gross primary production gives

Net Primary Productivity (NPP)

64

represents the rate of production of biomass that is available for consumption (herbivory) by heterotrophic organisms (bacteria, fungi, and animals). It is also easier to measure, because it tends to accumulate over time.

Net Primary Productivity (NPP)

65

Globally, patterns of primary productivity vary both spatially and temporally

OK..

66

The least productive ecosystems are limited by heat energy, nutrients and water like the deserts and the polar tundra.

The most productive ecosystems have high temperatures, plenty of water and lots of available soil nitrogen.

Oh.

67

Productivity is high in areas of

Oceanic Upwelling

68

Oceanic producers include

Diatoms, dinoflagellates crptomonads, and other algae that require nutrients

69

Each biologically important element has a

Nutrient Cycle

70

the path of an element from one organism to another, and from organisms into the nonliving part of the biosphere and back

Nutrient Cycle

71

Another way to refer to a nutrient cycle that reflects the fact that chemicals are cycled between biological organisms, and between organisms and the geologic (physical) environment.

Biogeochemical Cycle

72

The non-living forms of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen form huge ones of these in the physical environment

Reservoirs

73

For example, how much of the atmosphere does Nitrogen (N2) make up?

78%

74

A supply of a biologically meaningful element that is not easily obtainable by living organisms.
Elements can have multiple of them

Reservoirs

75

This biogeochemical cycle has reservoirs in the ocean, also in freshwater lakes and underground aquifers

Driven by energy transfer from the sun, evaporation over oceans and rainfall over oceans and continental interiors

Water

76

This biogeochemical cycle element has reservoirs in the atmosphere, also in fossil deposits, soil, marine sediments

Driven by plate tectonics and biological processes

Carbon

77

Biogeochemical cycle that has reservoirs in the atmosphere, driven by lightning and vulcanism, also by activities of nitrogen fixing microbes and dentrifying microbes

Nitrogen

78

Biogeochemical cycle that has reservoirs of rocks and minerals, driven by erosion but also by the mass movement and decomposition of animals like salmon

Phophorus

79

Makes up the bulk of most living things-it is the primary constituent of biomass, but is relatively scarce in the nonliving part of the Eart

Carbon

80

Exists in non-living environment as carbon dioxide, dissolved carbon dioxide (HCO3, etc) in the ocean, and it carbonates the Earth's crusts

Furthermore, is locked in fossil deposits and embedded in the ocean floor as deposits of methane anhydride

Carbon

81

While carbon makes up less than 1% of the atmosphere, it is very important in the biosphere.

Ok

82

means capture and conversion to a biologically useful form.
Eg., water does not need to be “fixed”, neither does sodium, but carbon and nitrogen do.

Fixation

83

This molecule is fixed by plants during photosynthesis

CO2

84

CO2,. once fixed during photosynthesis, is converted into these molecules by combining it with water.

organic carbohydrates

85

Once fixed, how does CO2 pass through the food chain? Up or Down? How?

Up, through herbivory and predation

86

Most organisms, including plants, do this process which liberates carbon back into the atmosphere and provides energy to the organism

Respiration

87

After respiration, CO2 enters the atmosphere. If not eaten and respired, or decomposed, what might happen to organic carbon?

My become buried and enter a carbon reservoir in the soil and ultimately fossilize

88

This element can return to the atmosphere if plant material is burned, naturally or through human activities

Carbon

89

Ancient plant and animal material with carbon was fixed and turned into this which returns carbon to the atmosphere when burned

Fossil fuels

90

This element can also be recycled back into the atmosphere through volcanic activity

When a tectonic plate goes underneath a continent, superheated oceanic material upgasses through geological vents and reenters the atmosphere

Carbon

91

Why does CO2 have a crucial role in the climate of earth in terms of light properties?

1. It is quite transparent to light at visible wavelengths
2. It is relatively opaque to infrared light

92

Gasses with the CO2 light properties that tend to trap heat and force a higher equilibrium vapor pressure

Greenhouse Gasses

93

Most important greenhouse gas because it occurs at higher concentrations

CO2

94

Low CO2=?
High CO2=

Low global temperatures
High global temperatures

95

In the Miocene, 15 million years ago, a sudden increase in CO2 caused

a sudden warming of the climate

96

What does evidence show is the cause of increased CO2 concentrations over the last 150 years?

Burning of fossil fuels and deforestation

97

When was fossilized carbon fossilized?

During the Carboniferous period, 300 million years ago

98

Why is the surface temperature of Venus so hot?

The Greenhouse Effect

99

What does this suggest about Venus' climate in the past?

Venus had a much more earthlike climate, but its oceans evaporated

100

Three changes we might already be seeing in our world

Sea Ice melting
Local changes in climate
Possible acidification of the Oceans

101

One of the most common elements that form biological molecules.
It is a major component of amino acids, also a primary constituent of nucleic acids.

Nitrogen

102

What makes N2 a very stable molecule and biologically inert?

The triple bond

103

A large amount of energy is required to break this bond

N2 (triple bond)

104

Lightning is responsible for converting the molecule in the atmosphere into forms that organisms can use

Nitrogen

105

The process of converting atmospheric nitrogen into forms that organisms can use is called

Nitrogen Fixation

106

Some free-living soil bacteria as well as some blue-green bacteria in the genera Anabaena and Nostoc have the ability to convert nitrogen into ammonia, including...

genera Rhizobium
Bradyhyzobium

107

Nitrogen is also fixed by symbiotic bacteria that live in and among the root cells of several types of plants, including this plants which have root nodules

Legume plants (beans, peanuts, peas)

108

Other plants, have nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria like the..

Cycads

109

Decomposed compounds of nitrogen become...

Ammonia, Nitrates, Nitrite

110

The process that nitrogen in organisms is converted to ammonia, nitrates, and nitrite is

Ammonification

111

These convert nitrites and nitrates in the soil to N2O and N2, which returns to the reservoir in the atmosphere.

Dentrifiers

112

The process which completes the nitrogen cycle, is

Dentrification

113

is one of the most important processes to living organisms on Earth.
Has evaporated into the atmosphere condenses and falls as precipitation

Water Cycle

114

precipitation will either run off as surface water and collect as streams or rivers, or it can seep into the ground and collect in huge underground rock formations called

Aquifers

115

The water eventually flows from lakes or streams down into the oceans, where it can reside for long periods of time, or get evaporated back up into the atmosphere as water vapor, which collects as

Clouds

116

A portion of the groundwater is taken up by plants and used for solute transport, metabolism, and structural support-it is continuously lost to the atmosphere by

Transpiration

117

Herbivores may also pass water up food chains

Alright