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Ecosystem Ecosystem

Structural Features
Concept of Ecosystem
Biotic structures
An ecosystem is an integrated unit consisting of
(a) Producers photoautotrophs : mainly green plants
interactions between microorganisms, plants, animals
- generate energy and food from water,
whose survival depends on the maintenance and carbondioxide in air and importantly sunlight
l ti off their
th i biotic
bi ti and
d abiotic
bi ti structure
t t and
d function.
f ti
- Chemoautotrophs : some microorganisms and
Ecosystem large variations in size, structure, deep sea organisms
composition,etc. - generate energy from inorganic reduction rxns

All ecosystems have certain basic structural and functional - Chemo/phototrophs : Some microorganisms
which use solar energy as well as chemical
features which are common energy

Structural Features
Biotic structures Structural Features
(b) Consumers (heterotrophs) Organisms which get their
organic food by feeding on other organisms Abiotic structures
Herbivores (primary consumers)
(a) Physical factors sunlight, temperature, rainfall, wind,
Carnivores (secondary and tertiary consumers)
latitude/longitude soil,
latitude/longitude, soil water,
Omnivores (feed both on plants and animals)
Detritivores (saprotrophs) (b) Chemical factors major and minor essential nutrients like
Decomposers (microbial systems) carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, hydrogen, oxygen,
In all ecosystems, the biotic structure prevails but the
dominance of any component depends on the ecosystems sulphur

Ex, forest ecosystems producers

deep ocean ecosystems detrivores and decomposers

Ecosystem Ecosystem
Functional Features Functional Features

(a) Food chain, food web and trophic structure (a) Food chain, food web and trophic structure

The flow of energy is mediated through a series of feeding

(b) Energy flow
p in a definite sequence
q of p
pattern Food chain
(c) Biogeochemical cycles
Collection of matrices of feed chains Food web
(d) Primary and secondary production The definite arrangement of producers and consumers in

(e) Ecosystem development and regulation ecosystem and their interaction of energy transfer along with
population size - Trophic structure

Level 4 Ecosystem
Functional Features
(a) Food chain -a (a) Food chain - all organisms, living or dead, are potential food
sequence of eating Level 3
for some other organism
and being eaten
Ex. Desert ecosystem The detritus food chain also exist which constitutes detrivores
Level 2 and decomposers
Each organism in the
ecosystem is assigned
The surface food chain derives its energy basically from plant
a feeding level or
trophic level Level 1 energy while the detritus food chain primarily obtains energy
depending on its from plant biomass, secondarily from microbial biomass and
nutritional status
tertiarily from carnivores.

Functional Features
(a) Food webs shows pattern of energy or nutrient flow through Ecosystem
out the community
(a) Food web network of food chains where different types of
organisms are connected at different trophic levels, so that
there are a number of options of eating and being eaten at
each trophic level.

In a linear food chain, if one species becomes extinct or one

species suffers then the species in subsequent trophic levels
detritous food chain Surface food chain get affected
More realistic representation of nutrient flow than foodchain, but
cannot represent the relative importance of each foodchain in the
food web.

Ecosystem Ecological pyramids

Significance of food chains and food webs

Energy flow and nutrient cycling takes place through them

Help in maintaining ecological balance


Ecological pyramids Pyramid of numbers
Ecological pyramids are graphical representations of the number Represents the number of
individual organisms at
of individuals in different nutritional levels. For example, the plant- each trophic level
insect-bird-hawk food chain can be represented as an ecological The pyramid may be
pyramid upright or inverted based
on the ecosystem
Plants absorb energy from the sun, the insects eat the plants, the
Pond, grassland, forest
birds eat the insects,, and the hawks eat the birds. Hence,, the upright
energy of the sun has been transferred from the sun to the tissues Parasitic ecosystem -
of the hawk. Since the number of individuals in each level usually inverted
decreases, the resulting diagram looks like a pyramid.
microbes Hyper-parasites
Pyramid of numbers Lice and bugs parasites
birds herbivores
Pyramid of Biomass trees producers

Pyramid of energy

Pyramid of Biomass Pyramid of Energy

A pyramid of biomass shows the total biomass, or total amount pyramid of energy shows the flow of energy from one trophic
of living material, at each trophic level. Every trophic level loses level to the next. It has a large base (primary producers) and
most of its energy to the environment as heat, which becomes progressively smaller areas for each subsequent trophic level,
unavailable to the next trophic level. Therefore, biomass
much like a pyramid of biomass. Loss of energy (heat) and
decreases with each trophic level.
biomass reduction from one trophic level to another vary widely,
and may approach 90%.

However in some aquatic ecosystems, the

pyramid may be inverted. For eg., phytoplankton
grow and reproduce so rapidly that they can
support a large population of zooplankton even
though at any one time, the biomass of
phytoplankton is smaller than that of the

Energy Flow in an Ecosystem
Single channel energy flow model
Flow of energy in an ecosystem takes place through the food chain
and it is this energy flow which keeps the ecosystem functional
Unused energy Unused energy
The important feature of this flow is that it is Unidirectional or one sunlight
way flow Energy NA
Energy NA
Universal energy flow model Unused energy
energy GPP NPP Output
Energy storage
producers herbivores

Input energy Output energy

Assimilated energy Heat loss respiration respiration respiration

Living Biomass Model depicts the gradual decline in energy level due to loss of energy
at each successive trophic level in a grazing food chain

Primary productivity is the rate at which radiant energy is converted In nature the surface (grazing) food chain and detritus food chain
into organic substances by photosynthesis by primary producers. operate in the same ecosystem
Plants must use organic molecules to fuel their own cellular
The volume of primary production passed to detritus food chain varies
respiration, about 55%
with ecosystem. Ex. In forest ecosystem huge quantity of
55% of gross primary productivity is available to heterotrophs; this
biomass produced cannot be all consumed by herbivores and
is net primary productivity
most of it p
passes into detritus food chain;; In marine ecosystem

Secondary productivity the energy stored at consumer level for there is very little primary production passed to detritus food chain
use by the next trophic level is defined as secondary production. Energy flow models involving both food chains Double channel or
The secondary production is the amount of organic matter stored Y-shaped energy food chain
by the herbivores or carnivores (in excess of respiratory and un-
assimilated energy loss).

Trophic cascade: effect of one trophic level flow up or down to Energy flow in an ecosystem is a consequence of two
more than one adjacent trophic level. Ex: a predator (lion) not only fundamental laws of thermodynamics
affects its prey population (impala) but, by its eating of the prey, First law of thermodynamics - energy can neither be created
also the preys prey (grass) nor destroyed; it can only be changed from one form of energy to
Top-Down effects: predators control lower trophic level Second law of thermodynamics - when energy is transformed
populations Ex: Despite the presence of herbivores, not all plant from one form to another, there is always some loss of energy
life is consumed. Predators keep herbivore population to a level from the system, usually as low grade heat
that the herbivores cannot extinct the plants

Bottom-up effects: resources of lower trophic levels control upper

trophic level populations Ex: low nutrient concentrations constrain
plant production, which will constrain herbivore production, which
will in turn constrain carnivore production


Biogeochemical (nutrient) cycling is movement of materials -
from environment to organisms and back in the characteristic
between living and non living components of the biosphere
A nutrient cycle includes a multitude of pools with material flux
between them
There are two types of nutrient cycles (based on reservoir pool):
Energy flow brings about the flux
Gaseous cycles : atmosphere or hydrosphere is the reservoir
A nutrient cycle can be considered to include two compartments.
- A reservoir pool large and non biological compartments. - Characterized by greater buffering capacity and resistance
Biogeochemicals are not fully in circulation. A part of them against change. Four most abundant elements in the living
remains out of use in the reservoir pool. systems - hydrogen, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen have
- Liable or cycling or exchange pool active pool with rapid flux gaseous cycles.
- Are quick and take little time to complete. Perfect system since
- Biogeochemicals are used again and again in this cycling pool.
elements remain in circulation more or less uniformly.


Sedimentary cycles: Lithosphere is reservoir cybernetically Principle building block of all kinds of molecules which make up
living organisms. Most significant element for existence and
less controlled mobility of materials in the reservoir is survival of life on earth.
relatively less and cycles are slow. Carbon is present in air (as CO2), in water (as dissolved CO2,
H2CO3, HCO3 and CO3), in rocks (as CO3), in fossil fuels (as
- Less perfect because the elements get locked in reservoir and petroleum and coal), in all life forms (as proteins, fats and
go out of circulation for long periods.
83% of C is present as inorganic minerals in the rocks of earth and
- Elements such as P,
P S,
S K and Ca have sedimentary cycles.
cycles rate at which it is released is extremely slow.
Most predominant movement of C in the carbon cycle is through
- Human beings can influence the nutrient cycling (a mighty the biotic processes of photosynthesis and respiration.
geological agent) can make material movement faster and Average concentration of CO2 in atmosphere is 320 ppm. The
material cycles imperfect. oceanic reservoir is 50 times larger. About 3 x 1010 metric
tonnes of C is converted to 12x 1010 metric tonnes of sugar
- Human influence is maximum felt on the smallest pool of the annually.

biogeochemical cycles. Solar Energy

6 CO2 + 12 H2O C6H12O6 + 6O2

Nitrogen is the component of proteins, nucleic acids and ATP which
are essential structural and functional components of living
Nitrogen cycle is a gaseous cycle includes Nitrogen fixation,
Nitrification, Nitrogen assimilation, ammonification and
denitrification in cycling nitrogen in nature from Environment to
organisms and from organisms back to environment.
Nitrogen Fixation : Elemental Nitrogen of atmosphere is
converted into Nitrogenous compound - It takes place by two
(1) Physico-Chemical Nitrogen Fixation:
Nitrogen from the atmosphere is fixed in the form of oxides as a
result of lightning and volcanic eruptions. 10% Nitrogen is fixed
in this way.
(2) Biological Nitrogen Fixation: - By free living bacteria like
Azotobacter, Clostridium, Blue green algae like Nostoc,

By symbiotic bacteria like Rhizobium found in the root nodules of
leguminous plants. - Incorporation of Ammonia into amino acids which in turn from
proteins. Animals take proteins from the plants which supply
N2 + 3H2 2NH3 amino acids necessary for the metabolism of animals.
Nitrification : Conversion of ammonia into nitrates is called Ammonification: Conversion of urea and uric acid excreted by
nitrification. Ammonia is first converted into nitrites by bacteria animals and proteins from dead plants and animals into
Nitrosomonas & Nitrite is further converted into nitrates by ammonia by ammonifying or putrefying bacteria like Clostridium,
Nitrobacter. Proteus, Pseudomonas, Bacillus etc.
Nitrosomonas Denitrification : Reduction of Nitrate ions in the soil into nitrogen
2NH3 + O2 2 HNO2 + 2H2O + Energy gas by denitrifying bacteria such as Pseudomonas, Thiobacillus
denitrificans. This nitrogen gas is once again released into the
Nitrobacter atmosphere.
HNO2 + O2 HNO3 + Energy Occurs in water logged soils where anaerobic conditions exists.
Nitrogen Assimilation: Reduction of nitrates into ammonia in the NO3 NO2 N2O N2
plant body.

Phosphorous cycle is a sedimentary cycle with major reserves of
phosphorous in the sediments
The reservoir of phosphorous lies in the rocks, fossils, etc.

- Root mat root for recovering nutrients from the surface
Temperate systems have greater proportion of nutrient in the litter
soil or sediments while tropical systems have in the biomass.
- Mycorrhizae acting as nutrient traps
Tropical Temperate - Algae & lichens on plant fixing nitrogen and scavenging
Vegetation Above Vegetation Above nitrogen from rain water.
Ground Ground - Disturbance to the system/biotic community destroys the
Carbon 7.5% -- 50% -- mechanisms for cycling of nutrient within the biotic pool
Nitrogen 58% 44% 9% 6% and results in their loss to abiotic pool.

Nutrient cycles tends to be physical in temperate regions while - Nutrients are ultimately lost from the abiotic pool due to
it is biological in tropical regions. prevailing high temperature and rainfall.

Tropical soils are nutrient poor and nutrients mostly cycle - High temp. results in rapid mineralization of nutrients.
within the organic structure of the system. Rich species - High rain fall leads to leaching and runoff loss of nutrients
diversity and symbiotic associations between autotrophs and
heterotrophs including the following prevents loss of nutrients
from the biotic pool.

Stability is the ability to resist change when perturbed
two types
Cycling index : Mineral cycles are open initially but become
increasingly closed. - Resistance Stability ability to withstand external

Nutrient exchange rapid initially becomes slow at later stage. disturbance without getting perturbed.

Turnover time and storage of essential elements increases - Resilience Stability ability of the perturbed ecosystem by
during succession and reach a steady state.
external disturbances to return to original state once the
Nutrient retention & conservation poor initially but increases disturbance is removed.
and becomes pronounced later.
Benign environment supports development of systems with
resistance stability while variable environmental conditions
favour development of resilience stability.

Servo mechanisms and homeostatic mechanism of control:
Death or collapse
Servo Mechanism - control system is external to the system
being controlled.
Homeostatic mechanism - control system is internal to the + ve feedback
system being controlled, two types - centralized and
distributed/diffused control.
Control mechanisms can be either feed back and feed forward -ve
ve feedback -ve
ve feedback
Feed backs may be positive or negative.
+ ve feedback
Ecosystems are known for redundancy believed to have
both servo and homeostatic mechanisms (diffused type) of
Death or collapse

(-) (0) (+) conditions


Dynamics deal with changes in community structure & ecosystem
functioning : Self organization is ecosystems property
As the system ages with time due to internal factors Replacement of simple systems by complex systems with
As a consequences of external factors of perturbations
Succession refers to changes within a single system with
Ecosystem dynamics due to internal factors is known as transient species and population
Observed successional trends are due to interactions at the
Succession is an orderly sequence of communities of plants and species level
animals which occurs over a p
period of time at the same p
Early successional stages (colonization phase) can be
Successional changes are directional and predictable and lead the stochastic while the later stages are more organizational and
ecosystem through a series of seral communities towards a climax directional.
During succession the physical environment gets modified by the Community modifying the physical environment existing species
communities which becomes less suitable to the existing change conditions of existence and prepare for invasion by new
community. As such a better suited community replaces it.
Thus changes take place continuously in the community structure,
organization, the environment at a given place in a course of time. Interactions of competition and co-existence among component
The rate of successional changes is rapid initially and gradually population species resist invasions but competition, predation,
slows down. disturbances etc. allow species replacement.

A multitude of attributes can be used to describe changes associated
1. Primary succession & secondary succession with the succession.
2. Autotrophic & Heterotrophic succession Degree and rate of change and time required to reach steady state.
Autotrophic succession occurs in a medium rich in organic - May vary from attribute to attribute
substances and starts with P<R situation - May be influenced by climate
Heterotrophic succession begins in a medium rich in organic matter ATTRIBUTES RELATED TO ENERGY FLOW THROUGH
and starts with P>R situation. ECOSYSTEM (ENERGETICS)
Succession tends to balance GPP with respiration (P=R) Attributes used are
Autogenic and Allogenic succession: - GPP(P)
If successional changes are determined by internal co-actions, it is - Respiration (R)
autogenic (self generated) succession.
If outside forces effect or control the change, it is the allogenic - Standing Biomass (B)
- P/R , B/R


Biomass & organic detritus increases
External (allogenic) factors such as imported materials and energy,
geological forces, storms, human disturbances can alter arrest or reverse Gross production (P) of an ecosystem tends to increase in
successional trends. primary succession and reaches a steady state during
Ecosystem can adapt to the recurrent disturbances (perturbations secondary succession
dependent ecosystems) and develop quick recovery capabilities. Net community production (NCP) increases and after reaching
Succession results in increased organizational complexity and a peak values gradually drops and becomes 0.
increased efficiency of energy flow and nutrient cycling functions.
Respiration (R) tends to increase (but lags in time behind
Stressful environment supports relatively lower level of organization production) & ultimately equals the production rate.
an adaptation against perturbations providing resilience
P/R ratio moves towards unity P>R or P<R = P=R
Older stages of succession have greater resistance to mild short term
stresses while younger stages are more resilient to catastrophic B/P ratio increases & reaches a steady state.
Understanding successional pattern and recovery potential of the
ecosystem is needed to predict & manage recovery after


1. NUDATION Development of a bare area without any life form. 4. REACTION The living organisms grow, use water and nutrients
from substratum, and in turn influence the environment which is
2. INVASION Successful establishment of one or more species on
modified through Reaction
a bare area through dispersal or migration followed by ecesis
(establishment) The modification result in environment becoming unsuitable for
existing species and favour newer species (Seral Communities),
As growth and reproduction start, these Pioneer species increase
which replace them.
in number and form groups or aggregations
5. STABILIZATION The succession ultimately culminates in a more
3. COMPETITION AND COACTION As number of individuals
or less stable community called Climax which is in equilibrium
grows there is competition, both inter-specific and intra-specific,
with the environment
for space, water and nutrition
The climax community is characterized by maximum biomass and
They influence each other in an number of ways known as
symbiotic linkages between organisms, maintained quite
efficiently per unit of available energy


Each species has its maxima at some point in the time gradient
and rarely a species thrives throughout the succession.
Existing species of the system changes the physical and/or
chemical environment and facilitates invasion of new species.
Positive and negative interactions among the existing species
make replacement of existing species with new species easier.
Species composition changes rapidly at first than more gradually.

Diversity richness component increases
Diversity evenness component increases
Life cycle increases in length & complexity
During succession average size of organisms of a system
Small size has the advantage of high metabolic rates, in
nutrient - rich early successional stages.
Larger size and complicated life history is considered as an
adaptation for exploiting seasonal and periodic release of
nutrients and other resources.
Mutualistic symbiosis increases


Desert Areas
Desert Ecosystem

Desert Ecosystems Physical Features in Deserts

Sand dunes


Desert Food Web Human Activity in Deserts

Animals that eat insects and plants get
eaten by carnivores, and domesticated
animals like camels, get fed oats by Human activity causes deserts to expand.
humans. Rapid loss of fertile land causes deserts to expand.
Too much g grazingg causes p plant life to be destroyed.
Mining, improper farming methods, and tree
destruction causes desert expansion.

A Desert Animal Extension of Desert animals

The Thorny Devil. The Banded Gila Monster
The Thorny Devil can change its color to Its color can be pink, orange, or red with 4 or 5
black bands.
catch prey or hide from enemies.
They can be very shy but can strike back very
It iis a consumer. fast.
It is an endangered animal. The Banded Gila Monster is a consumer.
Its many spines make it one of the oddest It is an endangered animal.
lizards in the world. It is a unique animal because one of the two
venomous lizards in the world.


Another Desert Animal Two Desert Animals

Bobcat Armadillo Lizard.
The Bobcat weighs 15- This animal has a small,
Desert Kangaroo Rat scaly body.
The Desert Kangaroo Rat looks like a mini Its color is a mixture of It feeds on a wide variety
kangaroo. white, black, brown, and of insects.
It has a cheek pouch to hold more food.
This animal has a great IIt is
i an endangered
d d
It is a consumer. hunting ability. animal.
They survive well in the desert. It is a consumer. It is a consumer.
This animal is unique This animal is unique
This animal is unique because of it looks like a because it likes rocky because of its ability to
kangaroo and a mouse mixed together. terrain. roll up into a ball.

Three Very Interesting, Unusual How the desert is unique and

Desert Plants precipitation
Saguaro Cactus: Its thick Soaptree Yucca: The The desert is unique because most deserts are
stem and branches help it plant has been introduced
hold water. Lives for to eastern soil, thanks to found next to rainforests and it covers one third
about 200 years. its exotic look. It can be of the WORLD.
Animals cant create found in climates not so
pollination without this hot as the desert.
desert This
tree. kind of plant has been
Joshua Tree: Can live for used as emergency food
about 200 years. If we for ranchers cattle.
didnt have this tree, By Botanist Joseph.
people who live where it
grows would not survive.


Climate Location
The desert is very dry and warm. A very The desert is located 30 degrees
little amount of rain rains a year. Some latitude. Some deserts are in the
deserts can be over 100 degrees F. Thats Mountains. The Mojave desert is the name
so hot
hot. of the desert that is located here in

Desert Animals Desert Plants

Many animals live in the desert. These Now I would like to tell you about the
animals can survive in this hot weather. desert plants. These plants can survive in
Let me name some of them. The Camel, the hot weather because the dont need
Lizards Rattlesnakes
Lizards, Rattlesnakes, Kangaroo Rats
Rats, much water . These plants live in the
and more! desert. The Cactus, Saguaro, Creosote
Bushes, and Other plants.


Aquatic Ecosystems Freshwater

Freshwater Marine Ponds & Lakes
Ponds & Lakes Oceans Streams & Rivers
Streams & Rivers Coral Reefs Wetlands
Wetlands Estuaries

Fresh water ecology : It studies mainly the relationship

Freshwater between organisms and the freshwater environment.
Limnology:Study of all aspects(physical, chemical, geological
Freshwater is defined as having a low salt concentration
and biological) of freshwater
usually less than 1% They are of two types:
Standing water or lentic such as
Plants and animals in freshwater regions are adjusted to
Pond, lake , swamps etc.
the low salt content and would not be able to survive in Running water or lotic: river,stream, spring etc.
areas of high salt concentration (i.e, ocean) Importance:
Convenient and cheapest source of water for domestic and
industrial needs
Participate in the hydrological cycle
Cheapest waste disposal system


Ecological classification of organisms

Ponds and Lakes On the basis of particular region or sub habitat where they
1 (a) Autotrophs (producers)
range in size from just a few square meters to (b) Phagotrophs(macroconsumers) Producers
thousands of square kilometers
(c) saprotrophs (decomposers or microconsumers)
ponds may be seasonal, lasting just a couple of
months (such as sessile pools) - Photosynthes
lakes may exist for hundreds of years or more
may have limited species diversity since they are Consumers
often isolated from one another and from other (heterotrophs)
water sources like rivers and oceans
- Aerobic

Classification on the basis of region

Littoral region:shallow water region with light
penetration to the bottom typically occupied by rooted
Limentic Zone: the open water zone to the depth of
effective light penetration. This level will be at the depth
g intensity
at which light y is about 1% of the full light
intensity.Community in this zone consists of plankton,
nekton and neuston
Profundal zone: the bottom and the deepest area which
is beyond the depth of effective light penetration


Littoral Zone Limnetic Zone

warmest since it is shallow and can absorb more of the near-surface open water surrounded by the littoral
Suns heat zone
sustains a fairly diverse community, which can include well-lighted (like the littoral zone) and is dominated
by plankton, both phytoplankton and zooplankton
several species of algae (like diatoms), rooted and floating
plankton are small organisms that play a crucial
aquatic plants, grazing snails, insects and fishes role in the food chain most life would not be
the egg and larvae stages of some insects are found in this possible without them
zone variety of freshwater fish also occupy this zone
vegetation and animals living in the littoral zone are food for
other creatures such as turtles, snakes, and ducks

Profundal Zone Ponds and Lakes

Plankton have short life spanswhen they die, they fall into Temperature
the deep-water part of the lake/pond varies seasonally.
much colder and denser than the other two Summer
little light penetrates all the way through the limnetic zone from 4 C near the bottom to 22 C at the top
into the profundal zone
animals are decomposers
from 4 C while the top is 0 C (ice)
between the two layers is a narrow zone called the
thermocline where the temperature of the water
changes rapidly with depth


Ponds and Lakes Ponds and Lakes

during the spring and fall seasons is a ice can develop on the top of lakes
mixing of the top and bottom layers resulting
during winter
in a uniform water temperature of around 4
C blocks out sunlight and can prevent
mixing g also circulates oxygen
yg throughout
g the photosynthesis
lake oxygen levels drop and some plants and
many lakes and ponds do not freeze during animals may die
the winter resulting in the top layer being a called "winterkill."
little warmer

Streams & Rivers Streams & Rivers

bodies of flowing water moving in one characteristics change during the journey
direction from the source to the mouth
found everywherethey get their start at temperature is cooler at the source than it is
headwaters,, which mayy be springs,
p g , at the mouth
snowmelt or even lakes water is also clearer, has higher oxygen
travel all the way to their mouths, usually levels, and freshwater fish such as trout and
another water channel or the ocean heterotrophs can be found there


Streams & Rivers Streams & Rivers

toward the mouth the water becomes dark from all
Towards the middle part of the stream/river, the sediments that it has picked up upstream
the width increases, as does species decreasing the amount of light that can penetrate
diversitynumerous aquatic green plants through the water
and algae can be found less light
less diversity of flora
lower oxygen levels
fish that require less oxygen, such as catfish can be

Wetlands Wetlands
Wetlands are areas of standing water that support aquatic
Marshes, swamps, and bogs are all considered highest species diversity of all ecosystems
wetlands many species of amphibians, reptiles, birds (such
Plants as ducks and waders), and furbearers can be
adapted to the very moist and humid conditions are called hydrophytes
Pond lilies Cattails Sedges
found in the wetlands
nott considered
id d under
d ffreshwater
h t ecosystems t as
Tamarack Black Spruce there are some, such as salt marshes, that have
high salt concentrationsthese support different
Gum Cypress species of animals, such as shrimp, shellfish, and
various grasses


River Otter
Wetlands Aquatic Ecosystems
Damselfly Dragonfly Mayfly

Crayfish Snails Leech Bluegill Bass Marine

Ocea s
Catfish Sculpin Minnow Snakes
Coral Reefs
Great Blue Heron Canadian Goose
Frog Turtle

Marine largest of all the ecosystems
cover about three-fourths of the Earths dominate the Earths surface
surface and include oceans, coral reefs, great diversity of species
and estuaries richest diversity of species even though it contains
fewer species than there are on land
g supply
pp y much of the worlds oxygen
supply and take in a huge amount of
atmospheric carbon dioxide
evaporation of the seawater provides
rainwater for the land


Intertidal Zone
where the ocean meets the land
sometimes submerged and at other times
waves and tides come in and out
communities are constantly changing


Intertidal Zone Intertidal Zone

rocky coasts sandier shores
stratified vertically
Where only highest tides reach
not as stratified
a few species of algae and mollusks waves keep mud and sand constantly moving
submerged during high tide very few algae and plants can establish
more diverse array of algae and small animals, such as themselvesthe fauna include worms, clams,
herbivorous snails,
snails crabs
crabs, sea stars
stars, and small fishes
predatory crustaceans, crabs, and shorebirds.
bottom of the intertidal zone
only exposed during the lowest tides, many invertebrates,
fishes, and seaweed can be found


Wave Regions Pelagic Open Ocean

waters further from the land, basically the
much stronger than wind
open ocean
decide what grows where
shores classified by amount of wave action generally cold though it is hard to give a
Exposed shores receive full brunt of the ocean for general temperature range since, just like
most or at least some of the time ponds and lakes,
lakes there is thermal
Semi-exposed shores sheltered by barrier islands but stratification with a constant mixing of warm
still have to cope with waves
Sheltered shores shelter of peninsulas and inshore
and cold ocean currents
Enclosed shores
river mouths and estuaries
completely sheltered by either a protective rocks or a
sand bar

Epipelagic Open Ocean

extends down to around 200m
lowest depth that light can penetrate
flora in the epipelagic zone include surface
fauna include many species of fish and
some mammals, such as whales and
many feed on the abundant plankton


Mesopelagic Zone
ctenophore related to jellyfish
"twilight zone" of the ocean Big Scale - ambush predator cilia can be illuminated
photic zone above
darkness below
food becomes scarce some animals
migrate up to the surface at night to feed
rely on food that falls down from above Fi fl squid
Firefly id
three kinds of photophore
eat each other Hatchet Fish
sometimes the only things to eat may be bigger than the hunter only a few inches long Viperfish
developed long sharp teeth, specially adapted hinged skull
expandable jaws and stomachs Dragonfish - stomachs hold big meals

up to 1.2m Siphonophores are colonies of animals
related to jellyfish
best known is Portugese Man of War

Vampire Squid
Bathypelagic Zone Snake Dragon
Angler Fish
extends down from 1000 to 4000m
only light is from bioluminescent organisms
only food is what trickles down from above, or from eating
Amphi - crustacean
other animals
t pressure att this
thi depth
d th is
i considerable
id bl (~100
( 100 400
atmospheres) Ctenophore voracious predator
most animals are either black or red in color Deepstaria very slow swimmers,
very little blue/green light penetrates this deep red is not no tentacles, close flexible bells
reflected and looks black (up to a meter across) around
their prey
Big Red
grows to over
a meter across


Abyssopelagic Zone - the Abyss

4000m to the sea floor
only zone deeper than this is the hadal zone
areas found in deep sea trenches and canyons
home to p
y inhospitable
p living
g conditions
near- freezing temperatures
crushing pressures

Thank You!