Presentation on theme: "BIOLOGY 403: PRINCIPLES OF ECOLOGY (Nutrients & Biogeochemical Cycles)"— Presentation transcript:
BIOLOGY 403: PRINCIPLES OF ECOLOGY (Nutrients & Biogeochemical Cycles)
NUTRIENTS & NUTRIENT CYCLING NUTRIENTS elements (C, H, N, etc.) and simple inorganic compounds of these elements (H 2 O, CO 2, etc.) that are essential for life FOODS Organic compounds (contain carbon, hydrogen, often oxygen, and sometimes other elements) that organisms use to fuel their metabolism. Foods would include lipids (fats and oils) carbohydrates (sugars, starch, etc.), proteins and other classes of organic molecules as well.
Essential Minerals (Nutrients) Major Elements Trace Elements (= Macronutrients) (= Micronutrients) C arbon (C) Nickle (Ni) Hydrogen (H) Manganese (Mn) Oxygen (O) Zinc (Zn) Nitrogen (N) Molybdinum (Mo) Phosphorus (P) Chlorine (Cl) Calcium (Ca) Copper (Cu) Potassium (K) Vanadium (V) Sulfur (S) Silicon (Si) Iron (Fe) Cobalt (Co), Sodium (Na) Boron (B), Fluorine (F) Magnesium (Mg) Iodine (I), Chromium (Cr) T in (Sn), Selenium (Se)
BIOGEOCHEMICAL CYCLES (I) The more or less circular paths of the chemical elements passing back and forth between organisms and environment are known as Biogeochemical Cycles (also called Nutrient Cycles). Essential elements are rarely (if ever) homogeneously distributed, nor present in only one chemical form throughout an ecosystem. These materials exist in compartments or pools which have varying exchange rates between them.
BIOGEOCHEMICAL CYCLES (II) From the standpoint of the earth as a whole, Biogeochemical Cycles fall into two groups: Perfect (= gaseous) cycles cycles (nitrogen, carbon, oxygen) which have a large gaseous, rather easily exchangeable, reservoir which makes them less likely to get out of balance Imperfect (= sedimentary) cycles cycles (calcium, phosphorus, iron) which involve the more earthbound elements and large portions of the supply may become unavailable for long periods of time, thus disturbing the cycle
AVAILABILITY OF NUTRIENTS Even if the nutrient elements are in the soil and/or water of an area, they may be unavailable to organisms. Some organisms can only utilize an element when it is present in a specific compound. pH also affects the availability by either changing the chemical form of the element and / or by interfering with the uptake of that substance
NUTRIENTS AND pH Low pH (acid or ‘sour’) soils --- H + ions replace Ca + +, Mg ++ and K + on soil colloids and these may then be lost by leaching Low pH (acid) soils may make Aluminum, Iron (and things like lead) so soluble as to be in toxic quantities High pH (basic, alkaline or ‘sweet’) soils --- may result in the presence of such large quantities of available calcium compounds that they interfere with the uptake of necessary nutrients (such as iron)
GLADE ANALYSIS Soil pH is 8.2 Soil Analysis: N, P, K, Fe, & Mn quantities are similar throughout Foliage Analysis: –CaCO 3 increases toward the glade –Mn shows no correlation –K & P tend to be deficient toward the glade –N & Fe are strongly reduced toward the glade
SOIL pH STATIFICATION Leaching of calcium may lead to acid top strata and more basic lower strata Can then find shallow-rooted acidophiles growing next to calciphiles (that are deeper rooted) Some plants benefit by having some roots in each zone Role of earthworms in calcium (and other nutrients) cycling
Very rapid movement from H 2 O to plankton (within 2 hours 50% of phosphorus had been taken up) Movement was slower into attached algae Tracer eventually moved into grazing animals and then into carnivores but more slowly than into algae Although the RATE OF UPTAKE may decrease along a food chain, the concentration ratio at equilibrium may be very high Eventually decay organisms began to recycle some of the phosphorus but there was a net movement into the sediments
TROPHIC LEVEL CONCENTRATION DEFINITION: The selective retaining of certain elements or compounds by an organism so that the concentration builds up in these organism above what it is in their immediate habitat and/or food Also known as trophic level magnification, biological concentration or biological magnification T.L. Concentration can occur for non-essential materials and toxic materials as well as for essential materials.
SULFUR CYCLE II 1 -- primary production (sulfates are the principal available form reduced by autotrophs & incorporated into organic molecules) 2 -- decomposition (sulfur often released as H 2 S) 3 -- animal excretion 4 & 5 -- specialized chemosynthetic bacteria obtain energy by converting sulfides to elemental sulfur & sulfates
SULFUR CYCLE III 6 -- Desulfovibrio bacteria (anaerobic SO 4 reducers) convert SO 4 to H 2 S 7 -- Thiobacillus bacteria (aerobic sulfate oxidizers) convert H 2 S to SO 4 8 – INTERACTION of P & S cycles: Phosphorus is converted from the insoluble ferric phosphate to a more soluble form aiding the cycling of Phosphorus H 2 S + FePO 4 H 2 PO 4 + FeS 2
NITROGEN CYCLE (II) N 2 gas NH 3 NO 2 NO 3 I IIa IIb I ---- Nitrogen Fixation (Azotobacter, Clostridium) II --- Nitrification --- a two-step process IIa --- Nitrosomonas IIb -- Nitrobacter Denitrification --- a multistep process in which specialized bacteria (such as Pseudomonas) take NO 3 compounds and release N 2 gas
GREENHOUSE EFFECT AND GLOBAL WARMING Is the Earth warming? Yes. Is this due to human activities or to some cycle that can affect climate? ?????????? What are the major greenhouse gases? CO 2, N 2 O, CH 4, CFC’s, (H 2 O ?) Could the Earth also cool from human activities and enter an ice age? Yes - and there have been ‘recent’ short duration cooling events! Global warming could be a positive feedback system!!!!!
SOME POINTS CONCERNING THE EARTH’S TEMPERATURE current average surface temp. is 15 0 C (= 59 O F) without an atmosphere it would be -18 0 C (= 0 O F) estimated average temp. during coldest part of last ice age was only 5 O C (9 O F) lower than today last major ice age ended 12,000 years ago Today sea levels are 300 feet higher than at the peak of the last ice age (and are still rising!) greenhouse gases have increased dramatically since 1850 (actually since 1950!) CO 2 has gone from 280 ppm to 360 ppm since 1850 (a 28.6% increase) ???? Highest Ever ????
THE MAJOR GREENHOUSE GASES Gas% human residence impact compared input time to CO 2 per molecule CO 2 49 500 years 1 CFC’s 14 65-111 years 10,000 to 20,000 CH 4 18 7-10 years 25 N 2 O 6 150 years 230