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Interactions within Ecosystems

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Presentation on theme: "Interactions within Ecosystems"— Presentation transcript:

1 Interactions within Ecosystems

2 Ecosystem- is a community and its physical and chemical environment.
Examples of different ecosystems Terrestrial ecosystems (e.g. Prairie, grassland, forest…….) Aquatic ecosystems (e.g. Pond, lake, stream…….)

3 Roles in Ecosystems Each organism has its own place within an ecosystem. Ecological niche – an organism’s role in an ecosystem, consisting of its place in the food web, its habitat, it’s breeding area and time of day at which it is most active.

4 Roles in Ecosystems Each species in an ecosystem tends to have a different niche, a different role to play. This helps to reduce competition between species. E.g. Even if two species eat the same food they are not in competition because they may: Live in different places Eat at different times


6 Roles in Ecosystems E.g. Owls and hawks feed on many of the same organisms, but occupy distinctly different niches. Owls hunt down prey with in forests Hawk hunt down prey in grassland and open fields Owls are active during dusk and at night Hawk hunt by daylight Competition is further reduced because owls and hawks nest in different areas.


8 Competition for Niches
When a new species enter an ecosystem, it causes a disturbance because it comes into competition for a niche with one or more of the species already in the ecosystem. Exotic species – species that are not native to an ecosystem The introduction of new species happens naturally. Animals are mobile and can move from one ecosystem to another.


10 Introduction of Exotic species
The introduction of new species by humans to an ecosystem is one of the main causes of species depletion and extinction, second only to habitat loss. Problems with introducing Exotic Species: No natural population controls ( predators or diseases) Native species may not b able to compete for space, food or reproductive sites. Prey organisms may not have defence mechanisms.


12 Introduction of Exotic species
The actual number of introduced species that have established themselves in Canada is well over 300 species.

13 Ecosystem Case Study Pg all questions

14 Supporting Biodiversity in Terrestrial Ecosystems

15 Limiting Factors Different ecosystems can support different species and varying numbers of organisms. This is due to limiting factors such as Soil composition - Humidity Moisture - Temperature Sunlight - Nutrients Oxygen - Competitors Predators

16 Taiga In a forest, the amount of sunlight varies from the top of the canopy to the forest floor. In Taiga biomes, the mature trees are mostly conifers like spruce and pine These trees can only support certain types of birds that have tough beaks for cracking open cones and nuts

17 Taiga Year-round, these trees block the sunlight from reaching the forest floor This determines the types of plants that can grow below the canopy In the Taiga, we see shade loving plants like shrubs, mosses and ferns These plants then determine which primary consumers exist in this ecosystem Deer and moose

18 Taiga Due to the low growth on the forest floor, nesting animals are only successful if they are suitably camouflaged

19 Deciduous Forests Have higher temperatures and precipitation than Taiga Also have more humus Decaying plant and animal matter These conditions lead to a richer soil and support growth of deciduous trees


21 Deciduous Forests Spring: sun can reach all the way to forest floor
Summer: Canopy is full, so very little sun gets to the understorey. This is ok, because the understorey had the chance to grow in the spring and is already mature Resulting in support for a diverse range of organisms

22 Deciduous Forests Lots of leaf litter Full understorey Leafy canopy
Many different insects Full understorey Moose and deer Leafy canopy Variety of birds and climbing mammals

23 Limiting Factors in Aquatic Ecosystems

24 Water covers more than two-thirds of our planet.
Ninety-seven percent of that water is saltwater. The oceans to a large extent control the weather patterns on our planet. Most fresh water exists as snow or ice

25 Limiting factors of Aquatic Ecosystems
Like terrestrial ecosystems, aquatic ecosystems are limited by three abiotic factors: The chemical environment Light levels Temperature


27 Chemical environment The type of water:
Freshwater Saltwater The amount of oxygen dissolved in the water. The amount of dissolved oxygen depends on: Temperature (warmer water holds less) Pressure (more oxygen dissolved at sea level than mountain streams) And the amount of salt and other substances dissolved in the water (more salt, less oxygen)

28 Chemical environment Any other dissolved substance
E.g., Naturally occurring minerals, and organic pollutants.

29 Limiting factors of Aquatic Ecosystems
Light and temperature in an aquatic ecosystem may vary over the course of the year (seasonal changes), But these factors are also affected by the depth of the water. Depending on the depth of the body of water the amount of light available, the temperature and oxygen levels can all vary. This will have a significant impact on what organisms you can find.

30 Littoral Zone Littoral Zone – is the area extending out from the lakeshore to the point where you can no longer find plants rooted. Most productive part of the lake. High amount of sunlight.

31 Limnetic zone Limnetic zone – the area of a lake or pond in which there is open water and sufficient light for photosynthesis to occur. Most common form of organism in the zone is plankton (small autotrophic and heterotrophic mircrooganisms.

32 Profundal zone Profundal zone – the region of a lake beneath the limnetic zone, in which there is insufficient light for photosynthesis to occur. Most of the time only source of nutrients in the zone are dead plants and animals that fall from the limnetic zone. Low oxygen due to bacteria decomposing dead organic matter. No sunlight no photosynthesis.


34 Alberta’ Terrestrial Ecosystems

35 Ecosystems are smaller regions in the biosphere.
Complexity of ecosystems varies, depending not only on the organisms that live in them but also on abiotic factors such as climate and local geology.

36 Canada has four major Biomes:
Biome is a large geographical region with a specific climate, and the plants and animals that are adapted to that climate. Canada has four major Biomes: Tundra Taiga Temperate deciduous forest Grassland



39 Limiting Factors in Terrestrial Ecosystems

40 Terrestrial ecosystems are ecosystems that are found anywhere on Earth that is not covered by water.
Despite their many differences in each terrestrial region biotic and abiotic factors are interdependent. These factors can limit the size of populations and can also determine the number of species that survive in each ecosystem.

41 Limiting Factors Abiotic Factors that can limit Terrestrial ecosystems: Soil Available Water Temperature Sunlight

42 Soil The quality and amount of soil are critical factors in determining the size and health of the plant community and the biodiversity of an ecosystem.



45 Soil Soil pH Humans have been contributing to higher levels of acidity in many soils by burning fossil fuels. Burning of fossil fuels release sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the air which fall to earth as acid deposition. Acid deposition – the process by which sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere form acidic compounds and fall to Earth’s surface. (Acid rain is an example of acid deposition)

46 Available Water The amount of available water in an ecosystem help determine the size and health of populations and the biodiversity of an ecosystem. Recall Surface water Ground water


48 Temperature Temperature affects both biotic and abiotic factors.
Temperature can vary significantly throughout the year in an ecosystem.

49 Sunlight The amount of sunlight determines what plants will grow in an ecosystem. In ecosystems around the equator receive more or less the same amount of daily sunlight. Regions at more southern or northern latitudes experience changes in the amount of sunlight during different times of the year.

50 Changes in Lake Ecosystems

51 Aquatic Ecosystems Aquatic ecosystems are sustained by the dynamic equilibrium among biotic and abiotic factors. When one or more of these factors changes, it can have profound effects on the ecosystem.

52 Lake Ecosystems There are two types of lakes: Oligotrophic
Lakes are typically deep and cold. Nutrient levels are low limiting size of producer populations. Limited numbers of only a few kinds of organisms. Water usually very clear.

53 Lake Ecosystems Eutrophic Lakes are generally shallow and warmer.
Very good supply of nutrients. Many species of photosynthetic organisms. Water is often murky.

54 Eutrophication In general oligotrophic lakes gradually become eutrophic over time and eventually filling in and becoming dry land. This process is call eutrophication.

55 Eutrophication

56 Eutrophication

57 Eutrophication

58 Eutrophication Human sometimes accelerate eutrophication by adding nutrients to lakes: Human wastes Fertilizers Household and Industrial products Thermal energy Eutrophication

59 Water Pollution Water pollution is any physical or chemical change in surface water or ground water that can harm living things. Water pollution can be grouped into five categories. Organic solid waste Disease-causing organisms Inorganic solids and dissolved minerals Thermal energy Organic chemicals

60 Eutrophication

61 Water Quality Bacteria Dissolved Oxygen Biological Oxygen Demand
Presence of coliform bacteria indicates that fecal matter is in water (and therefore more dangerous bacteria) Dissolved Oxygen Fewer pollutants means more dissolved oxygen Biological Oxygen Demand Amount of oxygen needed by decomposers to break down organic matter Indicates amount of organic matter in water (too much and no oxygen is left for fish to breathe)

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