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The Biosphere: Populations, Communities, and Ecosystems

Briefly describe the three levels of organization ecologists' use: population, community, and ecosystem. Give an example of each using a well-known city.

Explain why the biosphere is considered closed and patchy.

Using the ecosystem of a suburban area, explain how the following abiotic factors influence plant growth and adaptability: sunlight, water, temperature changes, soil type, and winds.

How do the following affect communities: earth's tilt, Trade Winds, prevailing winds, Gulf stream, Humboldt current, and rain shadow?

How do riverine environments differ from lake/pond environments?

How does temperature of a freshwater lake change with the seasons?

List four ways that the oceanic environment differs from the freshwater environment. Discuss one.

Solution Preview

The three levels of organization are population, community, and ecosystem. The difference is the type/number of organisms to which they refer. A population is the smallest of the three, referring only to a specific type of organism. If you were to use a human example, the population or women in Atlanta, Georgia would be a good example. A population, by definition, is a group of organisms of the same kind living in the same place at the same time. Populations form a community when they interact together. In Atlanta, how humans interact with deer would be an example. An ecosystem is all the living and nonliving things that exist together in an environment. In Atlanta, that would include everything from humans to trees to rocks.

The biosphere includes all living organisms, including man, and all organic matter that has not yet decomposed on Earth, as well as abiotic factors. The biosphere is considered closed in that all the cycles and interactions take place within a specific area, outlined by our atmosphere. It can also be considered patchy because of holes in layers of the atmosphere, such as the ozone.

In a suburban area, sunlight and water affect plant growth positively. Generally speaking, plants need both of these in fair amounts. Too little or too much is bad. In suburban areas especially, humans control these factors, as many plants are indoors or in controlled growth areas, such as gardens. Temperature changes due ...

Solution Summary

In about 900 words, including references, this response analyzes the biosphere of a city.