Define the terms ecology, ecosystem, and biosphere.
Ecology may be referred as the study of how organisms interact in their environment including both the physical (abiotic) and the living (biotic) aspects of the environment. Ecosystems endure through the (abiotic) and (biotic) relations within them. It also studies the community and the population, and assesses cause and effects of the reactions of communities and populations to change in environment.
On the other hand, an ecosystem may be referred to as a community of organisms that interrelate with each other and the non-living elements for sustainable adaptation and development to varying conditions. There many different forms of ecosystems that involve non-living organisms and living organisms. Combining all the ecosystems present on earth is referred as the Biosphere which is anywhere that organisms live; hence, it is a closed self-regulating system that combines non-living components and living organisms (Lenkeit). The biosphere includes the hydrosphere lithosphere and atmosphere.
As a follow up, list and describe the three dimensions into which rivers and streams can be divided. What is the Riparian Zone?
River and streams may be divided alongside three dimensions. First, they may be divided alongside their spans into: runs, pools, rapid and riffle. Secondly, Rivers may be divided transversely their width into: active channels and wetted channels. A wetted channel surrounds water even through conditions that may be low. Active channel extends out from both or one side of wetted channel and may be dry at some part of the year although, during high flows it may be inundated annually. Lastly, Rivers and streams may be divided vertically into: the water column, water surface, and benthic zone or bottom. Each parts of the stream or river may be chemically and physically distinctive environments sustaining organisms that are different.
The riparian zone may be referred to an area around a stream or other watercourse that has vegetation that is distinctive and other characteristics that separate it from land outside the riparian zone.
What is the difference between microclimate and macroclimate? List the factors that influence microclimates.
Macro-climate may be defined as the climate of a bigger area for instance a country or a region. On the other hand, Micro-climate may be defined as the variations limited to a small area climate about a building. There are a range of factors that influence microclimates including.
First, the topography (plains, rivers, hills, valleys, and mountains) affect micro-climates. The contour of the land; as well as, types plantation and large features like mountains, oceans and lakes, have a huge influence. Micro topography such as little hills and may also affect microclimates. Secondly, the lands’ cover such as asphalt and trees produce dissimilar microclimates. There will be a different microclimate in a parking lot than in a shady and bushy grassy park. Tall trees maintain the temperature cooler and also slow winds down; hence influencing microclimates. Finally, water in ponds, lakes, rivers and other water reservoirs may moisten and moderate a micro region.
What are some of the feeding challenges herbivores experience.
Herbivores food may be highly capricious in quality, hence may cause feeding challenges by herbivores. The major challenges include; extracting nutrients, disposing of toxins and locating food. Herbivorous mammals face various challenges during feeding: plant material may be relatively low in protein and fat, tough to digest, and the mass of nutrients are positioned within cell walls that may be tough. Mammals are deficient in the enzymes required for the break-down of this compounded cell wall that include lignin and cellulose; thus may only have access to a small segment of the vegetation’s nutrients by themselves.
In a nutshell, meeting the nutritional needs herbivores may be challenging, because these animals frequently require large volumes of food, but, the plant material may be difficult to digest. Moreover, some herbivores have extremely diets that may be specific, derived from environments where they evolved; for example koalas, will occasionally only feed on eucalyptus leaves.
Lenkeit, K. A. (2004) “Physical Geography.” Foothill-De Anza Community College District &
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
What is an herbivore? (n.d) Retrieved on Feb 5, 2013; from,