Year 11 Biology Essay

2716 words - 11 pages

A Local Ecosystem:1.The distribution, diversity and numbers of plants and animals found in ecosystems are determined by biotic and abiotic factors.•Compare the abiotic characteristics of aquatic and terrestrial environmentsCharacteristicAquatic EnvironmentsTerrestrial EnvironmentsViscosity is a measure of a medium's resistance to an object moving through it.Water has a high viscosity. This makes it more difficult for organisms to move through it.Air has low viscosity. This makes it easier for organisms to move through it.Buoyancy is the amount of support experienced by an object immersed in a liquid or gas. It is equal to the weight of the liquid or gas displacedThe buoyancy of water offers support to both animals and plants. It may help them to maintain their shape, and enables some organisms to function at different depths.Animals and plants do not experience much buoyancy from air. They need to be able to support themselves.Temperature variationThe main source of heat is from the Sun's radiation. The radiation intensity depends on latitude. It is greater at the equator than at the poles. Animals and plants can survive only within a certain temperature range.Water heats up more slowly than air. Temperatures in the surface ocean layers vary from 30°C at the equator to freezing point in arctic regions. However, the temperature in a particular region varies only a little from year to year. Deep waters everywhere are cold. Small bodies of water may show considerable daily and seasonal variation.Surface temperatures on land vary far more than in water. The highest recorded in 60°C, and the lowest is less then -80°C. Daily and seasonal variations may be very great. Temperatures beneath the ground do not vary so much. The ability to avoid or tolerate heat gain and loss is important in land organisms.Pressure variationThe Earth's gravitational field (the pull of gravity_ gives rise to pressure differences between the upper and lower layers in both air and water. At any one level pressure is constant.Pressure in water increases rapidly with depth. At a depth of 10m the pressure is twice that on the surface. Very few organisms live at great depths. Changing depth rapidly may be difficult for many organisms.Atmospheric pressure decreases with height above sea level and also fluctuates over time. It may affect breathing by animals and flight.Availability of gases, water and ionsGasesOxygen and carbon dioxide are important gases for living organisms.Gas availability in water depends on the temperature, and diffusion is slower. More gases can be dissolved at lower temperatures. Oxygen concentration also decreases with depth. Oxygen availability affects the number and distribution of aquatic organisms, and also their body structure.Gases are freely available in air and diffusion is rapid. Air contains about 20% oxygen and 0.03% carbon dioxide. The remainder is mostly nitrogen. Gas availability is not usually a limiting factor for land...

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