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Ecosystems&biodiversity

Evolutionoflife&biogeochemistry
Biotamediatethecyclesofmanyelementsthatcyclebetween
variousreservoirswithdifferentresidencetimes
Biologytransferenergythroughfoodchains/webs
Geochemistryleadtosteadystatesystemsfarfrom
chemicalequilibrium
RecordsonEarthatmcomposition,sediments
Diversityofmicrobialmetabolisms
Higherorganismsmostlyaerobic
Presentdaycyclescandeviatefromrockrecord

Complexprocessescycleelements
amongdifferentreservoirs
involvesbiology
hasgeochemicalconsequences

Differentcommunitiesstoreandcycle
materialandenergydifferently
diversitydifferences
differentbiogeochemicalresults
differentstorageofbiomass

TwoCriticalStepsintheOriginand
EvolutionofLife
Organiccatalysisandselfreplication
CatalyticRNA?

Photosynthesis
Amechanismforcapturingenergyandconverting
itintofood

Structureofthebiosphere
Hierarchy
Speciesreproductivegroup
Populationmembersofasinglespeciesthat
liveinagivenarea
Communityassemblageofinteractingspecies
inagivenarea
Biomearegionwithacharacteristicplant
community(e.g.rainforest,desert)
Ecosystemacommunityofanimals,plants,
microbes,etc,togetherwiththephysical
environmentthatsupportsit

Structureofthebiosphere
Ecosystem
Assemblageoforganismsthatinteractwitheachotherandthe
environment
Somecanbedefinedbytheirenvironment(rainforest,desert)

Interactionsbetweenorganismandenvironment
Daisyworldexample

Alterationofenvironmentscanimpactecosystems
ENSOeventsfoodwebeffects
Cessationofupwellingfoodwebeffects

Physiologicalversusecologicalgrowthoptima
Notalwaysthesameoptimalnicheversusrealizedniche
Highproductivityoceanicregionsareoftenhighlatitudeorupwelling
Relatedtooceanphysicsandnutrientavailabilityratherthangrowth
optima;compromisebetweenmixing(promotingnutrientavailability)and
temperature(promotingstratification)

Fig. 9-1

Environments
Manyecosystemsdefinedbythe
environment
Organismssubdividethatenvironment
Organismsthatsharehabitatsfindniches
withinthosehabitats
Strategiesandlivinghabits

Productivity
Highproductivity
Upwelling;lowlatitudes

Lowproductivity
Centralgyres;downwelling

ENSO

La Nina

Upwellingproductive
Noupwellingcollapse

El Nino

Western
Fig. 15-13 & 14

Productivity
Nt=Noekt
Addresourcelimitationtosetlimitsto
populationsize(Nt)
Oh,andlifepollutes

Phytoplanktongrowthintheocean

Temperatureoptimainthelabare2025deg

Highestproductivityathigherlatitudes!

Ecologicalgrowthoptimumis8degCduetooceanphysicsandnutrientavailability

Phytoplanktonproductivity
Relatedtophysics,light,&nutrientsupply
Ifsurfacewatersaretoowarm,water
stratifies&limitsnutrientresupplyfrom
bottomwaters
Highturbulenceincreasesmixingupof
nutrients
Compromisebetweennutrients&temp

Light
Onland,photosynthesisproceedsjustabove
groundlevel
Inwater,communitiesmaybeverticallystratified
Inthewater,photosynthesisproceedsto
considerabledepths,dependingon
Waterclarity
Sunangle
Seastate

Light
Unliketheatmosphere,waterattenuateslight,
especiallygreenandred
Thedepthtowhichlightpenetratesdependsonthe
amountandnatureofdissolvedandsuspended
constituents
Oceanicwaterscontainfewparticlesandareblue
Coastalwaterscontainhighphytoplankton
populationsandaregreen
Estuarinewaterscontainlotsofsuspended
sedimentsandlookbrown

Lightpenetrates
deepestinoceanic
waters
Bluelight
penetratesbest
Redlightisrapidly
attenuated

Lightpenetrationisshallowerin
planktonrichcoastalwaters
Phytoplanktonabsorbbluelightfor
photosynthesis
Waterabsorbsredlight
Coastaloceanlooksgreen

LightPenetrationinCoastalWaters

Photosynthesis
Dependsontheamountoflightupto
saturation
Dependsonthecoloroflightnotall
photonsareequivalent
Mostefficientwithblueandredlight,least
efficientwithgreenlight

Layersof
theocean
definedby
light

Temperature

Oceantemperaturevarieswith
Depth
Latitude

Temperaturecontrolsrateofchemicalreactions

Sloweratlowtemperaturebecausemoleculescarrylessenergy
Fewercollisions
Lessenergypercollision

Metabolismisdefinedbychemicalreactions

Mostorganismsareectothermicdontregulatebodytemperature
Someorganismsareendothermicregulationofbodytemperature
requires
lotsofenergy
goodinsulation

Salinity
Salinitycanvarywithrainfalland
evaporation
Changesinsalinity(upordown)canaffect
metabolicfunction,energyconsumption
andcellviability.
Differentorganismshaveverydifferent
salinitytolerances

MarineCommunitiesareHighly
Productive

MarineCommunitiesStoreLess
OrganicCarbonandTurnoverRates
areFasterthanTerrestrial
Communities

OceanProductivityObservedfromSpace

TrophicRelationships
EnergyTransfer
PrimaryProducersare
Autotrophs
harvestsunlight

Heterotrophsare
Consumers
eatorganicmatter

TheTrophicPyramid:
AModelofConsumption

FoodWebsIllustrateComplexTrophic
Relationships

Exploitationefficiency
Autotrophplants&microbes
Photosynthesisorchemosynthesis
ProduceorganicmatterfrominorganicCsources

Heterotrophacceleratechemreactionsto
gainenergy
Herbivores~20%
Carnivores~0.2%(notveryefficientat
convertingfoodtobiomass!)

Symbioses
Mutualismbothorganismsbenefit

Thatsbiologybutbiodiversity
Linkedtoecosystemhealthandstability
Numberofspeciesperunitareaorecosystem

Oftenthinkofdeforestation
Destructionoftropicalhabitats

Biodiversity
Numberofspecies
inacommunity
Diversityindices
Simpsondiversity=
1[(proportionof
speciesA)2+
(proportionof
speciesB)2+..]

Biodiversityovertime
Naturalchangesindiversityduetoevolution
andextinctionofspecies
Generalincreaseindiversityovertime
Interuptedbyextinctionevents
26myperiodicityinextinctionevents?
Extraterrestrialcause?

Extinctionisnatural
Over90%ofspeciesthathaveevolvedareextinct

26 my periodicity
etc.

Figs. 13-4 & 13-10

Recentchangesinbiodiversity
Presentdayratesexceedgeologicalratesofextinction
Presentdayextinctionisacrosstheboardaffectsmanygroups
Otherextinctioneventsaffectedspecieswithinparticular
groupsothergroupssurvived
ExampleisKTextinctionofdinosaurs;mammalsandplantssurvived
toreradiate

Modernextinctionassociatedwithspreadofhumanpopulations
Overhunting/fishing
Habitatdestructiondeforestation&coralbleaching

Fig. 18-1 - Extinction of


large mammals and birds
corresponds to the spread
of human populations

Deforestation&biodiversity
Posterchild
Thetropicsistheareaofgreatestrateof
speciesloss
Concernformorethanbiodiversity
AdditionofCO2
LossofCO2uptakemechanism

Impactonregionalclimate

Deforestationandsoilnutrients
Distinctdifferencesinstorageofbiomass&nutrient
cyclingbetweentemperate&tropicalforests
Temperateforestshavethick,richtopsoils
Humuslayeroforganicdetritusontopofsubsoil
Nutrientsstoredinsoils

Tropicalsoilsarehighlyweathered(lotsofrain)
Lateriticclaysdepletedinnutrients
Thinhumuslayer
Nutrientsstoredinbiomass

Tropicalaboveground
storageofbiomass&nutrients

Modelresultsdecreaseforestcover,increasealbedo,
decreasewintertemperatures,increaseseaice,
increasealbedo,decreasetemperatures.

Deforestationandrecovery
Rainforestslossofrainforesttreesleadsto
lossofnutrients&changesinthewater
cycle
Temperateforestsrecoverbecausenutrients
retainedinthesoils

Deforestation&watercycle&climate
Eliminationoftropicalrainforestsdisruptsregionalwater
cycle
Minimizesevapotranspiration(sourceofH2Otoatm)
Decreasessoilmoistureandincreasesrunoff

Increaseserosionrates
Soilsformslowly
2001500yrstoform2.5cmoftopsoilfrombedrock

Generalcirculationmodelstopredict
Nettemperatureincrease
Decreaseinsoilmoisture

The water cycle of the Amazonian


rain forest

Tropical rain forests - high Net Primary Production but low


nutrient residence times (as compared to other biomes)

Highrecyclingsustainshighproductivity

decreases
(change in albedo)

Decreaseforestcover
Increaserunoff
Decreasenutrientsupply
Decreaseforestcover
Decreaseforestcover decreases
Increasealbedo
Decreasenetradiation
Decreasetemp
Decreaseevapotranspiration
Increasetemperature
Decreaseclouds
Increasetemperatures

Biodiversityanddeforestationintropical
areas
Halfofthelivingspeciesarefoundinrainforests
Forestplantshavemedicalvalue
Treatmentofdiseases

Forestplantshaveagriculturalvalue

Needgeneticdiversityforlongtermhealth(Darwinianevolution)
Needvarietytolimitvulnerabilitytodiseasesandpests
Modernagriculturalpracticeslimitdiversities
Centersofgeneticdiversityforcropscomefromareasthreatenedby
development,populationpressures,deforestation
Seedbanks

Biodiversityandecosystemstability
Relationshipiscomplex
Insomesettingsenvironmentalstabilityleadstohighdiversity
Inothers,highdiversityisthoughttoresultfromdisturbances
ofintermediatefrequencyandintensity

Howdoeslossofbiodiversityimpactecosystem?
Removeenoughspeciesandecosystemcollapses(removalof
predators;invasivespecies)
Maybethatsomespeciesarentnecessarysystem
maintainedbyafewkeystonespecies

Causesofdeforestation
Social,political,andeconomicdrivers
Economicargumentspeopleandcountries
needhardcurrency(Nepal)
Motivationnotto
Whowillbearthecostsofnotexploiting
resources?

Earthwillrecover,willhumanssurvive?

Biodiversityovertimegeologic
Naturalchangesduetonewspecies
evolvingandextinction
Generalincreasethatshouldtheoretically
occurovertime
Extinctioneventscleanstheslate
Naturalextinction90%ofspecieseveralive
areextintnow

26 my periodicity
etc.

Fig. 13-4

Darwinsmainpoints
Inanypopulation,moreoffspringareproducedthat
cansurvivetoreproduction
Geneticvariationoccursinpopulations
Someinheritedtraitsincreasetheprobabilityof
survival
Bearersofthosetraitsaremorelikelytoleave
offspringtothenextgenerationthosetraits
accumulate
Environmentalconditionsdetermineswhichtraitsare
favorable

BiogeochemicalCycles
Elementscyclebetweenorganisms,thewater,the
sedimentsandtheland
Themaintenanceofliferequirescontinuedaccessto
theseelements
Onlyafewareofbiogeochemicalsignificance
C,N,P,Si,Fe
Elementalratiosinlivingorganismsarefairly
constant
RedfieldRatioC:N:P106:16:1

TheElementsofLife
Inadditiontoenergy,life
requirescertainmaterial
substances
Allorganismsrequire23
basicelements
Availabilityofthese
elementscanlimitgrowth
andsurvival

TheCarbonCycle
Abasicbuildingblockoflife
Largestofallbiogeochemicalcycles
Availabilityrarelylimitsmarineproductivity
Seagrassesareimportantexceptions

TheNitrogenCycle
Nisacriticalcomponentofproteins,nucleic
acidsandpigments(e.g.chlorophyll)
Traditionallyviewedasthemostlimiting
nutrientinthesea
LiebigsLawoftheMinimum
GrowthislimitedNOTBYTHETOTAL
RESOURCESAVAILABLEbutbythesingle
resourceinshortestsupply,

TheNitrogenCycle
FreeN2comprises80%oftheatmosphere
Notgenerallybiologicallyavailable
BiologicalavailabilityrequiresFIXATION
Formostofearthshistory,Nfixationwasmediatedby
smallmicrobescyanobacteriaandwasgenerallyin
shortsupply
CyanobacteriaarephotosyntheticbutN2fixationis
inhibitedbyoxygen.Howcanthisbe?
HumansnowuseindustrialprocessestoFIXmoreN2than
natureonanannualbasis
MostoftheanthropogenicallyfixedNultimatelywindsup
inourrivers,estuaries&coastalwaterswhereitpromotes
HARMFULALGALBLOOMS

TheNitrogenCycle

ThePhosphorusandSiliconCycles
Phosphorusisnecessaryfornucleicacids
(DNA,RNA,ATPetc.),bone,teethandsome
shells
Silicon(NOTsilicone)isusedbydiatomsand
radiolarianstomaketheirskeletons

PandSicyclesinvolve3loops
Mostrapidcycleinvolveddailyfeeding,death
anddecayoforganisms
Someorganismsfallbelowthepycnocline
whereitcantakehundredsofyearstoreturnto
thesunlitportionofthesea
Someorganismsgetburiedinthesediments;it
maytakemillionsofyearsandtectonic
activitytoreturntheSitothesurfacewater

Ironandothertracemetals
Usedinminutequantities
Longthoughttobeinexcesssupply

Ironisveryabundantbutnotverysoluble
Ironshipsandsamplinggearcontaminatedearlysamples

JohnMartinfirstshowedthatironcouldlimitoceanproduc
tivity
Highnutrientlowchlorophyll(HNLC)areaslimitedby
iron
SubarcticPacific
EquatorialPacific
Antarcticconvergence

Continentaldustisamajorsourceof
irontooceanwaters
HNLCareasarefarfromironinputs
fromlandrunofforcontinentaldust