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2. ECOSYSTEMS AND BIODIVERSITY 14 Concepts of an Ecosystem . Structure and Function of an Ecosystem . Producers, Consumers and Decomposers .

Energy Flow in the Ecosystem . Ecological Succession . Food Chains, Food Webs and Ecological Pyramids . Introduction, Types, Characteristics Features, Structure and Function of the (A) Forest Ecosystem (B) Grassland Ecosystem (C) Desert Ecosystem (D) Aquatic Ecosystems (Ponds, Streams, Lakes, Rivers, Oceans, Estuaries) . Introduction to Biodiversity . Definition: Genetic, Species and Ecosystem Diversity . Biogeographically Classification of India . Value of Biodiversity: Consumptive Use, Productive Use, Social, Ethical, Aesthetic and Option Values . Biodiversity at Global, National and Local Levels . India as A Mega-Diversity Nation . Hot-Spots of Biodiversity . Threats to Biodiversity: Habitat Loss, Poaching of Wildlife, Man-Wildlife Conflicts . Endangered and Endemic Species of India . Conservation of Biodiversity: In-Situ and Ex-Situ Conservation of Biodiversity

Classification of Ecosystems / Ecology


Ecosystems are broadly classified as : Terrestrial Ecosystems . which encompass the activities that take place on land, and Aquatic ecosystems - the system that exists in water bodies These ecosystems can be further subdivided as: Terrestrial ecosystem - Forest ecosystem, Mountain ecosystem Desert ecosystem Grassland ecosystem Urban ecosystem Aquatic ecosystem - Marine ecosystem Fresh water ecosystem Estuarine ecosystem Engineered ecosystem: An ecosystem which is fully designed and controlled by man is called .Engineered ecosystem.. A paddy field or a fish pond can be quoted as an example for this ecosystem FOREST ECOSYSTEM Undisturbed areas with moderate to high average annual rain precipitation tend to be covered with forest, which contains various species of trees and smaller forms of vegetation. There are three important types of forests are Tropical rain forests Temperate deciduous forests Boreal/coniferous forests Tropical rain forests They are found near the equator. These forests have a warm annual mean temperature. These forests have high humidity and heavy rainfall almost daily. These forests consists of broadleaf ever green plants. These trees have larger surface on their leaves that allows them to collect more sunlight and do photosynthesis extensively. Tropical rain forests have wide varieties of species. Temperate Deciduous forests: refer book DESERT ECOSYSTEM Deserts are dry places with unpredictable and infrequent precipitation. A desert is an area where evaporation exceeds precipitation. Daily and seasonal temperature of the desert will vary since desert has very little moisture to absorb and store sun radiation. Deserts with less than 2.5 cm of precipitation supports almost zero vegetation. Deserts with 2.5 to 5.0 cm precipitation have thin (scanty) vegetation(less than 10% of the ground is covered). Seasonal leaf production, water-storage tissues and thick epidermal layer help reduce water loss. A combination of low rainfall and different average temperatures creates tropical, temperate and cold desert

*They are the plants survive in dry climates by having no leaves / wax coated leaves and storing water. Many desert animals avoid the drying sun by feeding at night and acquire water from the seeds and green vegetation. Warm, dry high pressure atmospheric conditions create broad bands of deserts around the world at 300 north and south latitude. This band includes deserts in the southwest America, north and south Africa, China and Australia. GRASSLAND ECOSYSTEM Grasslands are regions with enough average annual rain precipitation to allow grass to grow extensively. But drought and fire does not allow trees to grow taller. Grasslands are rich biological communities of grasses, seasonal flowering plants and open savannas*. Great Plains of central North America, Russian steppes, African veldt and South American pampas are some of the important grasslands in the world. There are three types of grasslands A. Tropical grasslands B. Temperate grasslands C. Polar grasslands Tropical grasslands They has warm temperature year around with two prolonged dry seasons. They are the shelter for animals like zebras, giraffes, black rhino, and African elephant. Savanna grassland in Africa is good example for tropical grassland. Temperate grasslands Winters are too cold, summers are hot and dry, annual precipitation is less and falls unevenly through the year. Drought, fire and overgrazing inhibits the growth of trees and bushes. The soil in temperate grassland is fertile since grass die and decomposes to for organic manure. Prairies in Canada, Pampas in South America and Veldt in Africa are examples for temperate grasslands. Polar grasslands It is also known as arctic tundra. They occur in arctic polar ice caps. The land is covered with ice and show. Winter is very dark, long and cold. Seasonal cycles of temperature and precipitation contributes to abundant vegetative growth that enriches and protects the soil of the grasslands. There is enough water to support small crops to do photosynthesis Grasslands have few trees because inadequate rainfall, large daily and seasonal temperature ranges and frequently grass fires kill woody seedlings.

Major impacts on grasslands are: Conversion of grasslands into cropland Overgrazing of grasslands by livestock Exploitation of polar grassland by oil, water and air pollution *grassland with scattered trees Grasslands are an important part of the earth.s many ecological communities, originally covering as much as 25% of the earth.s surface. They have provided expansive grazing land for both wild and domesticated animals, and offered flat areas that have been ploughed to grow crops. Grasslands occur in areas with hot summer temperatures and low precipitation. Areas with less rainfall are deserts and areas with more rainfall tend to be forested. There are two broad types of grasslands in the world: Tropical Savannah and Temperate Grassland --------------------------------------TROPICAL SAVANNA----------------------------------Tropical Savannah occurs in Africa, Australia, South America and Indonesia. Rainfall of 50 to 130 centimetres a year is concentrated in six to eight months with drought the rest of the year. Soils are usually very thin, supporting only grasses and forbs (flowering plants), with only scattered trees and shrubs. Differences in climate and soils create many variations in the plant communities and animal species throughout the Savannah. In many areas, the grasslands have been burned to maintain a healthy grass crop for grazing animals. In some areas the Savannah has been expanded by cutting the forest and burning the area each year to prevent the return of trees. -----------------------------------------TEMPERATE GRASSLANDS---------------------------------------Temperate grasslands have less rainfall (25 to 90 centimetres) than tropical grasslands and a much greater range of temperatures from winter to summer than Savannah. There are two broad types of grasslands in temperate latitudes: Prairie and Steppe. PRAIRIE GRASSLANDS Prairie grasslands are found across the globe. They have a variety of names in other parts of the world: pampas in South America, veldt in South Africa and puszta in Hungary. These areas have deep, rich soils and are dominated by tall grasses; trees and shrubs are restricted to river valleys, wetlands and other areas with more moisture. Over the years the native grass species on the extensive areas of level ground have been ploughed and fields seeded. Many of these grasslands have been lost to cereal crops. STEPPE GRASSLANDS Steppe grasslands receive only 25 to 50 centimetres of rainfall each year and the grasses are much shorter than those on prairie grasslands. They are also not as widespread, occurring only in Central and Eastern Europe, Northern Eurasia and Western North America. The biotic components of a grassland ecosystem are the living organisms that exist in the system. These organisms can be classified as producers, consumers or decomposers. Producers are able to capture the sun.s energy through photosynthesis and absorb nutrients from the soil, storing them for future use by themselves and by other organisms. Grasses, shrubs, trees, mosses, lichens, and cyanobacteria are some of the many producers found in a grassland ecosystem. When these plants die they provide energy for a host of insects, fungi and bacteria that live in and on the soil and feed on plant debris. Grasses are an important source of food for large grazing animals such as California Bighorn Sheep, Mule Deer and Elk, and for much smaller animals such as marmots, Pocket Gophers and mice. Consumers are organisms that do not have the ability to capture the energy produced by the sun, but consume plant and/or animal material to gain their energy for growth and activity. Consumers are further divided into three types based on their ability to digest plant and animal material: yHerbivores eat only plants, such as the elk that graze the grasslands of the Columbia valley, or an insect nibbling on the leaf of a sticky geranium. yOmnivores eat both plants and animals, such as the black bear. yCarnivores eat only animals, such as the red-tailed hawk or western rattlesnake. Decomposers include the insects, fungi, algae and bacteria both on the ground and in the soil that help to break down the organic layer to provide nutrients for growing plants. There are many millions of these organisms in each square metre of grassland. WATER ECOSYSTEMS

Fresh water ecosystems: Marine ecosystems Freshwater Ecosystems Wetlands: yonce considered useless, disease yprovide many benefits to society: o fish and wildlife habitats o natural water quality improvement o flood storage o shoreline erosion protection o opportunities for recreation and aesthetic appreciation yamong the most productive ecosystems in the world, comparable to rain forests and coral reefs. They also are a source of substantial biodiversity in supporting numero major groups of organisms . Lakes ydivided into zones based on photosynthetic activity & proximity to bottom: WATER ECOSYSTEMS disease-ridden places (e.g., malaria and yellow fever) numerous species from all of the from microbes to mammals.

Littoral zone - light penetrates to the bottom, allowing aquatic plants to grow

Limnetic zone-the open water area where light does not generally penetrate all the way to the bottom

Euphotic zone the layer from the surface down to the depth where light levels become too low for photosynthesis

yMajor threats to our lakes: o An overabundance of nutrients. This leads to algal blooms and excessive plant growth
which ultimately deplete oxygen supplies for fish and some other aquatic life. o An overabundance of sediment. This "runoff" soil can fill lake plants and animals, as well as clog fish gills and smother fish eggs. o Metals and other organic chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), contaminating fish and shellfish. ySources of lake pollution: o Agricultural manage sediment, & pesticides and entering a lake. o Runoff from pavement and lawns in urban areas picks up oil, metals, bacteria (including E. coli), nutrients, and transports them through the stor o Septic systems also contribute to lake pollution when they leak into the shallow groundwater. This can also increase the load of nutrients, bacteria (including other organic wastes. Oceans y70% of the earth.s surface yZones: The

The ocean bottom is the benthic zone neritic zone is that part of the pelagic zone that extends from the high tide line to an ocean bottom less than 600 feet deep. Water deeper than 600 feet is called the basis of water depth into the epipelagic, mesopelagic, and bathypelagic zones. These zones roughly correspond to the three other zones divided on the basis of the amount of sunlight th sunlit zone, enough light penetrates to support photosynthesis. Below that lies the very small amounts of light penetrate. Ninety percent of the space in the ocean lies in the which is entirely devoid of light. lakes and destroy habitat for management practices can lead to pollutants like nitrogen, phosphorous, ), storm sewer system. and the water itself (or the water column) is the han oceanic zone, which itself is divided on the pelagic zone. The , they receive. In the zone, where midnight zone

Two important communities found in the neritic province are: yTidal marshes & estuaries o a partially enclosed body of water formed where freshwater from rivers and streams flows into the ocean, mixing with the salty sea watere o among the most productive ecosystems on earth, creating more organic matter each year than comparably-sized areas of forest, grassland, or agricultural land o provide habitat for more than 75% of Americas commercial fish catch, and for 80-90% of the recreational fish catch yCoral reefs o cover less than 1% of the planets surface o the worlds most biologically diverse marine ecosystems o Reef ecosystems are now being rapidly degraded & destroyed worldwide due to: increased sediments in the water trampling by tourists and divers ship groundings, pollution, overfishing fishing with poisons and explosives that destroy coral habitat

Environmental problems facing our oceans:

yWhaling yIncidental take or bycatch o the unintended catch of animals associated with commercial fishing operations, the vast
majority of which is discarded back into the ocean already dead or dying. o Bycatch is pervasive the worlds fisheries. It includes undersized or juvenile fish of targeted species as well as non-target species of fish, turtles, marine mammals, birds, and other wildlife.