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Biology LibreTexts

16: Ecosystems and the Biosphere

  • Page ID
    52694
    • 16.1: Energy Flow through Ecosystems
      Grazing food webs have a producer at their base, which is either a plant for terrestrial ecosystems or a phytoplankton for aquatic ecosystems. The producers pass their energy to the various trophic levels of consumers. At the base of detrital food webs are the decomposers, which pass their energy to a variety of other consumers. Detrital food webs are important for the health of many grazing food webs because they eliminate dead and decaying organic material, clearing space for new organisms.
    • 16.2: Biogeochemical Cycles
      Mineral nutrients are cycled through ecosystems and their environment. Of particular importance are water, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur. All of these cycles have major impacts on ecosystem structure and function. As human activities have caused major disturbances to these cycles, their study and modeling is especially important. Ecosystems have been damaged by a variety of human activities that alter the natural biogeochemical cycles.
    • 16.3: Terrestrial Biomes
      Earth has terrestrial and aquatic biomes. Aquatic biomes include both freshwater and marine environments. There are eight major terrestrial biomes: tropical rainforests, savannas, subtropical deserts, chaparral, temperate grasslands, temperate forests, boreal forests, and Arctic tundra. The same biome can occur in different geographic locations with similar climates. Temperature and precipitation are key abiotic factors that shape the composition of animal and plant communities in biomes.
    • 16.4: Aquatic and Marine Biomes
      Aquatic biomes include both saltwater and freshwater biomes. The abiotic factors important for the structuring of aquatic biomes can be different than those seen in terrestrial biomes. Sunlight is an important factor in bodies of water, especially those that are very deep, because of the role of photosynthesis in sustaining certain organisms. Other important factors include temperature, water movement, and salt content. Oceans may be thought of as consisting of different zones.

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