A biome is a type of ecosystem. It refers to many unique ecosystems that share certain common characteristics.
The largest possible ecosystem is a biosphere. It includes every organism and species on earth, combining all of the planet's individual ecosystems.
The living organisms in a certain area form the biotic community.
The climate of an area is the typical weather patterns it experiences.
A desert is a type of ecosystem fitting under the category of biome. Deserts are extremely dry, and their unique conditions cause highly different plant and animal life to exist.
A habitat is a more permanent ecosystem that has stabilized and reached dynamic equilibrium.
A savanna is a grassland that is
greatly lacking in moisture. Often, the area has a few trees throughout the grassy areas.
A group of related living organisms is known as a species. The members of the species must share physical traits and interbreed.
The ways to study ecosystems have been broken down into the holistic and meristic approaches.
An ecosystem relates the biotic and abiotic elements of a certain area and the relationships between them.
Tropical Rain Forests
Topical rain forests contain extremely diverse species and a highly productive community.
A tundra is a type of ecosystem where the climate is highly stressed. It is usually
very difficult for any living organism to survive in a tundra.
Materials such as wood, animal waste, and crops are called biomass. These materials can be burned to generate energy for human consumption.
Coal is a fossil fuel that is commonly used in producing energy.
Many scientists feel that conservation of current energy resources, not the development of new energy sources, will be the method of the future.
The rise in use of energy resources has led people to try to use energy in a more efficient manner.
One of the problems with
current energy usage is that it is highly inefficient and vast quantities of energy are wasted.
Geothermal energy seeks to generate power from the high temperatures below the Earth's surface.
Water, like wind, has been used to do work throughout history. Interest in using hydroelectric power was sparked largely by the
desire for a new source of energy.
Nuclear fission is being used in nuclear power plants to generate substantial amounts of power. However, there are dangers to using it and it won't be possible to use it forever.
Nuclear fusion is an alternative energy source of tremendous potential. If properly developed, it could solve all of
the world's energy problems.
The energy of the sun can be acquired through solar energy panels, but Photovoltaics provide another option.
Solar power is an extremely clean and renewable form of energy that comes from the sun.
The Energy Path to the Future
Many people have
different views concerning the future of energy usage, and the current path is uncertain.
Wind power has been used at least since 600 BC. The energy source has become popular in the search for a clean and renewable energy source.
Deforestation is the process of destroying or removing a forest ecosystem.
During the denitrification process nitrates are converted to another form.
The process of desalinization occurs when salts dissolved in sea water or brackish water are removed.
Desertification is the expansion of desert lands into previously non-desert areas.
Toxic substances that enter the natural environment are often changed into another form through the process of detoxification.
Emissions are created when humans or natural forces release chemicals or other substances into the environment.
When the environment becomes less valuable or damaged, environmental degradation is said to occur.
The process of erosion occurs when the surface of the land is worn away and lost.
Natural causes have always been a source of extinction, but many human processes have intensified the
rate at which extinction occurs.
MEASURING THE ENVIRONMENT
Accuracy and Error in Measuring
Scientific analysis can only be useful if the data a scientist gathers is accurate.
Measuring Air Pollution
There are good reasons for measuring air pollution, because it can pose a major threat to
people's health if levels get out of control.
Measuring the Water
Many water-based ecosystems are constantly changing, causing data from scientific experiments to vary greatly.
Monitoring the Environment
Monitoring the environment requires the collection and analysis of data about all of the different environmental topics we want to study.
Sampling the Soil
Like many other substances that scientists want to study, soils vary greatly and thus present many challenges in measuring them.
In modern times, high levels of extinction have increased the level of loss of the world's animals.
Comparative Resource Consumption
The world's richer nations use tremendously more of its resources than do the poorer ones.
Although there is more than enough food available to feed everyone in the world, as many as 20 million people die annually from a lack of good food.
Fossil Fuel Resources
Fossil fuels are a nonrenewable resource. They are used in the production of energy, and have been consumed at increasing rates in recent history.
Humans need to have significant portions of land for crops, forests, rangeland, watersheds, and estuaries.
Human civilizations rely on raw materials, especially minerals, to produce
goods. But, there is only a limited amount of minerals available.
Natural Plant Resources
Natural plants growing in the wild are a form of wildlife resource.
A natural resource is something that exists naturally, not because it was produced by human beings.
Renewable resources are those that are replenished through biogeochemical and physical cycles.
Throughout human history, soil has been repeatedly ruined and destroyed.
Water is what makes the Earth unique; without it and its unique properties, life could not survive on the planet