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1 Name removed Benjamin Abrams Biology 4 May 2013 Individual Research Question Ecology is defined as the section of biology,

which deals with the interactions between individual organisms and their surroundings. An important part of ecology is the ability for ecosystems to form and maintain balance. Ecosystems are a community of organisms and their environment, but have you ever wondered how they maintain this balance? Why is it important for ecosystems to maintain balance, and how do they do so? What causes an ecosystem to lose its balance and divulged into chaos? All of these questions pertain to the overall well-being and survival of the ecosystems on planet earth. An ecosystem is a well oiled machine which functions almost perfectly when it is in balance. Human beings are the ultimate destroyers of nature, we have the ability to completely wipe out a certain species and tear down a once lively biome. We, as a people, have recognized that we have started to dilute the once crystal clear waters of our Earth with a deadly infection called urbanization. Even though we havent stopped urbanizing, we have tried to refrain from destroying ecosystems. The question of why it is so important to not unbalance an ecosystem is one that interests me because it seems to have a lasting and dramatic affect on our planet. This is an important question to study and address because the people of this world deserve to be educated on what they are doing to their own ecosystem. The reason some species, such as the Northern Right Whale, their kin have slowly dwindled in size until their race are close to extinction. The extinction of these species is because the human race has decided to invade other

2 ecosystems for their own gain. It is important to inform new generations the mistakes of the past so that they will not repeat them, and possibly kill of even more species. An ecosystem becomes unbalanced through a plethora of ways, including natural and anthropogenic. The delicate balance found within an ecosystem can be disturbed through fires, floods, storms, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. These are natural and currently there is no possible way to protect from them. These do affect the ecosystem though; making a temporary disturbance that will eventually go away so life will return to normal. Humankind has also affected and damaged ecosystems through urbanization. In the past years we have torn down biomes to make room for our population to build houses and cities, we have drained lakes and killed of species. We have killed off a numerous amount of whales for their fat, which resulted in an increase in krill. We have also urbanized the area that the wild buffalo used to call home, resulting in the near extinction of their kind. Even when we go on vacation, when we fly though the skies or take a boating trip, we are populating the air and the sea. These pollutants cause the birds and fish to die off, which means that the prey they hunted increases and the predators that hunted them decrease. The same came be said for when poachers begin to kill of magnitudes of one species, for their fur or for their meat. People who dont even give it a second thought when about the impact they have on ecosystems cause this to happen. It is important to maintain balance in an ecosystem because without balance species will start to die off. If one species in the food web dies, it will limit the food source for other species. If a predator dies off then the prey will begin to populate faster and there will be a surplus of that one species. Chaos will soon rein and the ecosystem will completely be destroyed. Ecosystems are supposed to be affected by nature, but they werent designed to take on tolls from

3 humankind, it is important to not affect them. If we continue to affect them like we used to, eventually every species will die off and not species except humans would remain. After learning so much about the importance of maintaining balance within the ecosystems, future possible questions began to sprout up. Any of these questions could be used as a research question to study and learn more about. Each question could potentially benefit future generations into not repeating past mistakes. These questions include, but are not limited to, the following: What affects ecosystems the most? Is it possible to completely isolate an ecosystem from harmful elements? Is there anyway to recreate an extinct ecosystem? Does the destruction of one ecosystem affect other ecosystems? Does the average human being know the power he or she has over the small, yet still significant, ecosystems? It is important to maintain balance in an ecosystem, and it is important for people to know how to do so, because the human race should not endanger any more species then it already has. It is impossible to take back the mistakes of the past, but it is possible to teach the future generation not to repeat them.

4 Works Cited "Ecological Balance." WWF. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2013. "Ecosystems - Geography For Kids -By" Geography & Geology For Kids By N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2013. "Ecosystems of Our World." ThinkQuest : Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2013. "What Do Whales Eat?" Whale Facts and Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2013.