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ECOSYSTEMS

env20: Introduction to environmental engineering

Outline
Energy Flow in Ecosystems Material Flow in Ecosystems Ecosystem Health and Public Welfare

Introduction
Ecosystem an assembly of mutually interacting organisms and their environment in which materials are interchanged in a largely cyclical manner has physical, biological & chemical components along w/ the energy sources & pathways of energy & materials interchange

Introduction
Biotic Components Abiotic Components

Energy Flow in Ecosystems


Photosynthesis

Nutrients CO2 sunlight O2 High Energy Molecules


Respiration

High Energy Molecules O2 CO2 Nutrients

Organisms Producers Consumers Decomposers

Energy Flow in Ecosystems


Food chain passage of energy from one trophic level to the next as a result or organism consuming another

Energy Flow in Ecosystems


Trophic Levels
2nd order consumer

1st order consumer

producer

Energy Flow in Ecosystems


Food Web overlapping of food chains

Material Flow in Ecosystems


Biogeochemical Cycles

Material Flow in Ecosystems


Microbial Decomposers Aerobic

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Detritus O2 CO2 H 2O Nutrients


Anaerobic

Detritus CO2 CH 4 H 2 S NH 3 ... Nutrients


Facultative

Ecosystem Health and Public Welfare


Toxic Substances and Ecosystem and Human Health

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through effects manifested at the population or community level or by initiating an imbalance in ecosystem function Bioconcentration direct absorption of a chemical into an individual organism Bioaccumulation accumulation of chemicals both by exposure to contaminated water and ingestion of contaminated food

Ecosystem Health and Public Welfare


Toxic Substances and Ecosystem and Human Health
Bioconcentration Factor, BCF

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ratio of concentration of a chemical in an organism to that in the surrounding environmental medium (due to direct uptake) ratio of the concentration of a chemical in an organism to that in the surrounding medium (all mechanisms considered)

Bioaccumulation Factor, BAF

Ecosystem Health and Public Welfare


Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health

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Biodiversity great variety present in all forms of life Environmental Niche an organisms specialized role in the ecosystem Invasive Species species that have become established in a natural ecosystem and threaten native biodiversity

Ecosystem Health and Public Welfare


Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health

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Reasons to Support Biodiversity plants and animals may play a critical role in the development of more productive food supplies and medicines that improve human health and life the loss of a single component (specie) could permanently and fatally disrupt ecosystem function humans are stewards of the environment

References
Mihelcic, J.R. and Zimmerman, J.B.,

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Environmental Engineering Fundamentals, Sustainability, Design. USA: John Wiley & Sons,
Inc., 2010.

Davis, M.L. and Cornwell, D.A., Introduction to Environmental Engineering, 4th ed. USA: McGraw Hill, 2009.

Outline
Energy Flow in Ecosystems Material Flow in Ecosystems Ecosystem Health and Public Welfare

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