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  • What is an ecosystem?

    MESA Program created 2 days, 6 hours ago 23 Members · 28 Posts
  • MESA Program

    June 6, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Why do ecosystems vary? Illustrate your answer with an example.

  • Kazuto

    August 30, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    Because environments that related to ecosystems are different from place to place.
    For example, organisms are said to have shown up in a ocean long time ago and water in a sea was saltier than that of a lake. Such kind of things existed before fish showed up. And then, some have evolved to adjust themselves to be able to live in a lake in order to get their better niche in which they can get more space or food and others have remained. As a result, some fish have faculties to endure higher osmosis pressure in a lake and others do not.
    Like this example, each ecosystem has unique abiotic factor and organisms have evolved to it. And then they causes that ecosystem vary.

  • Bomee

    September 23, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    In the ecosystem, there is a variety of living organisms. They are interdependent and interact with one another. Each organism plays different roles in communities and to sustain lives, they get the energy from the environment and feed on other living things. Since all organisms are interacting, biodiversity is possible.

  • Brittany Eaton

    December 11, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Ecosystems vary because movement and change are constantly occurring as organisms interact. For example, in the early morning when the ground is covered in dew and the sun isn’t yet up certain species hunt and eat in the cold. But many are hiding and sleeping until the sun comes out. Then the lizards start to run and eat, the bees start to swarm, but owls and certain slugs and beetles hide until night falls again, fungus dry out and the fruiting bodies wither. Even throughout the course of the day the ecosystem varies.

  • Samuel

    February 5, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    An ecosystem is the relationship or interaction between living things and non living things within an area, through processes such as predation, parasitism, competition and symbiosis, and with their abiotic environment to disintegrate and become part of cycles of energy and nutrients. The species of the ecosystem, including bacteria, fungi, plants and animals, are dependent on each other. The relationships between species and their environment facilitate the flow of matter and energy within the ecosystem.

  • PerisWanjiru

    February 14, 2017 at 12:12 am

    It is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the non living components of their environment for example temperature,soil,light,nitrates and nitrites

  • Andrew

    February 26, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Ecosystems vary principally because of differing abiotic factors in different locations. For example, tropical forests generally contain a much greater mass of plant material than temperate forests because the grater amount of sunlight and the higher temperatures at equatorial latitudes allow plants to grow more quickly and, with more light able to reach the forest floor, a wider variety of plants are able to grow at different levels within the forest canopy. This greater density of plant life then creates feedback loops, such as stimulating the water cycle so that more water is held in the system with more frequent and larger amounts of rainfall, all of which leads to more diversity in animal species.

    Also, over time, the co-evolution of different species that are interdependent and/or in competition with each other in certain ecosystems causes them to become further differentiated from other ecosystems.

  • pamsher Sherman

    March 18, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    First, I think it’s super important to note a mistake in the Ecology definition video. The narrator places soil makeup under abiotic factors. This video must have been made many years ago when scientists thought soil was abiotic. Now we know it is alive, made up of the soil biota, the billions of kinds of microorganisms that live in it.

    Ecosystems vary because the abiotic factors within which they are nested and with which they interact vary. The underlying rock type and structure and its interaction with the soil surface determines what can and can’t grow there. The toxicity and composition of the ambient air and water also influence this, as does temperature, amount of light, above-ground topography, type and quantity of gases in the air, altitude etc. Example: Our soil is too sandy, our growing days with enough intense sun too few, our temperature too low, our site too high, windy, and dry up on the mountain tops to be able to grow tomatoes or grapes, while people in the protected, sheltered valley with fertile soil, less wind, more days with higher temperatures and later frosts can grow those crops.

  • sarah tai

    May 20, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Ecosystems vary naturally due to a range of different influences. If a biotic factor is to survive in a specific ecosystem, it has to be able to adapt. For example, vegetation in different parts of the world reflect a plants durability to temperature, light & water availability. Cactus & succulents have evolved in dry, hot climates because they do not have high water requirements and/or they can store water for later use; they are sturdy in the heat and can take extended sun exposure. Ferns and moss are abundant in the Pacific Northwest, these plants thrive in low light, high moisture and cool environments.

  • Shirin Cooper

    June 19, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    An ecosystem is sum total of the biotic (living) and abiotic (non living) things within a defined area and their interaction and influence on one another. For example, a mangrove ecosystem would include all the plant and animal life within the defined boundaries of the mangrove and also all the non-living factors such as the air, water, soil, pollutants etc.

  • Nikki Staskiewicz

    August 4, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Why do ecosystems vary? Illustrate your answer with an example.

    Ecosystems vary because they involve life (biotic factors). Life is constantly changing, growing adapting. Add to this elements such as water, wind, sunlight/heat (abiotic factors) that influence, create and sometimes themselves change because of biotic factors, then you have a creative system that constantly works to create a balance (or chaos before balance – it may never become fully balanced as this is a constant process of change).
    An example of differing ecosystems would be comparing the woodland ecosystem down the way from the coastal chalk cliffs to the south, east of Brighton township.
    The woodland ecosystem includes canopy trees, various herbs, shaded areas, habitat for foxes and rabbits. The ground is consistently moist in the depths of the woodland.
    The chalk cliff ecosystem includes the edge of the ocean and interactions with these environs. Seabirds and salt tolerant plants. Largely cleared by man many years ago so mostly grasses, gorse, herbs and remnant shrubs and no canopy trees. High wind area and no real shelter from sun (except due to sun angle and height of cliffs).
    The biotic and abiotic factors are found in different combinations or levels/population.

    • Katie Brimm

      August 21, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      Thank you Nikki! This is a great response – especially underlining that the one constant in an living ecosystem is change. Interesting and illuminating examples as well. Are these places from where you currently live?

  • Diana Weber

    October 26, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Why do ecosystems vary? Illustrate your answer with an example.
    1. Ecosystems vary because a scientist can decide how big or small to define a particular area s/he wants to examine. For example: one person may want to study a human and call that an ecosystem because of the bacteria on and in our bodies and all the different parts we have on our bodies; living tissues, organs, skin and in our gut and the non-living elements as well, hair, nails, what we put into our bodies. How oxygen affects us, the excrement in our bodies and its effects.

    Or another person may define an ecosystem which includes a human and their home. Or expand that to their family members or beyond to their community/neighborhood etc.

    This can be used to “define” any area on earth – big or small.

  • Janelle

    November 13, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Ecosystems vary in many ways for many reasons. Ecosystems are made up of living and nonliving elements. These elements are not only effecting each other but affected by each other.
    Consider a wild prairie or grassland. There are countless insects that reside here, but they do because of a particular set of plants or ability to find what it is that they feed on and where they find shelter. For example, honeybees might establish a colony nearby a prairie with many types of wild blossoms to forage on. These plants exist here because of the pollination done by the insects, but also because the soil type, the amount of sun and water the area receives and the type of reproduction it does. Seed dispersal may depend on the insect pollinators or birds or wind. in turn the plants send certain amounts of oxygen into the air and nutrients into the soil, which may create a preferred location for certain animal life like deer or mice. Each added element will play a role in another element surviving or thriving. And each living element may change nonliving elements too, like the plants changing the chemical structure of the soil.

  • Andy

    December 1, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Ecosystems varies through first many of the abiotic factors that were on Earth about 4.5 billion years ago when the Earth was barren. However, such change over time is first due to the continents that were formed throughout the Hadean time period and thus, it lead to the development of smaller continents called cratons. It then became a supercontinent and as the oceans are forming and life is taking form, that is when Earth started to have ecosystems that are shaped by biotic factors, such as plants and animals. It is through those millions of years and the continents shifting that we get something that is similar to the ecosystem that we get today.
    To give a more personal example, I found that the ecosystem that was found in Southeast Asia would be totally different from that of the Pacific Northwest where I live. The Pacific Northwest, because it lived on the part of the continent that was formed very recently through plate tectonics and many of the biodiversity came from other regions of the United States, its rainforest consists of species like alders, bees, and many different species which are adapted to the cold of the region. However, why is that the diversity in Southeast Asia is greater and is considered a ecological hotspot (where it is a place where it has a ton of biodiversity but also it is home to many endangered species in the world and holding some of the world’s largest biomass of wildlife within a given area as criteria for a hotspot)? It is because first, it is one of the areas that has came out of Australia millions of years ago (perhaps if I get my own historical geology right). Second, it has high annual rainfall and this encourages only some of the most resilient species in the world to live there. Third, it’s species helped makes homes for other species that can support others and thus, it increases not only the diversity of the place, but also allows the area to have active soils. Thus, this is the difference between the different ecosystems and it is an interaction of different factors which led to its own differences.

  • Kristy Theilen

    December 19, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Why do ecosystems vary? Illustrate your answer with an example.

    Ecosystems vary because of all the different relationships between all the different abiotic and biotic systems.

    For example different plants and animals are going to live in places where it doesn’t get much rain as one’s that do live where it gets a lot of rain. These plants and animals are also going to affected by and different because of these abiotic systems. They are going to change and adapt to be better suited to their ecosystem but they are also going to change their ecosystem. water and sunlight make it possible for a plant to live, the plant in turn makes it possible for an animal to live and they animal in turn feeds the plant

    • Katie Brimm

      January 4, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      Great, thanks Kristy! Have you noticed even micro-climates where you are, where some plants grow but others do not, even in close proximity? How might that impact the way one farms on one piece of land?

      • Kristy Theilen

        January 7, 2018 at 7:28 am

        Yes, you can’t make things grow where they don’t want to be.

  • Marius Alteus Presume Presume

    March 4, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Why do ecosystems vary? Illustrate your answer with an example.
    It is good to talk about the ecosystems, because they are numerous. There is for example the marine ecosystem that differs from the terrestrial ecosystem! Already a reason for this difference. In any ecosystem there are relationships between living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) elements. There are also relationships between biotic elements. We speak for example of symbiotic relationship, parasitism, mutualism etc. Everything depends on the environment (habitat) ecosystems vary according to the interdependence relationships that are established there. The marine ecosystem is different from the terrestrial ecosystem: a shark can not live the lion’s life, they do not work in the same way, their environments are different. So, they all evolve (lion and shark) in the biosphere but do not live in the same ecosystems. There is also one element of the biosphere that can disrupt other ecosystems. This is the case of man in his quest for wealth that destroys either the marine or terrestrial ecosystem, that’s why there are so many species in danger of extinction. I know that humanity is on the brink of extinction, too, because of us. But yes, ecosystems vary by pure reason of natural balance. Hence the beauty of life on the blue planet.

    • Katie Brimm

      March 8, 2018 at 10:52 am

      Thanks Marius, in particular for the reflection of ecosystems as places of balance. While humans have certainly brought many ecosystems out of balance, do you think there is a place for humans to interact in harmony with ecosystems? And what about change? One of the main constants in any ecosystem is change, leading to adaption, leading to resiliency.

  • Claire Battaglia

    April 17, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Why do ecosystems vary? Illustrate your answer with an example.

    Ecosystems are incredibly complex, containing a myriad abiotic and biotic features. Because all the features interact with one another in some way, changing any one of them can completely alter an ecosystem. For example, if a rock slide occurs on one side of a mountain, leaving a field of scree, the change in abiotic factors (presence of boulders, increase in shade, temperature changes due to rocks absorbing heat from the sun and the cool night air, etc.) would alter that particular ecosystem. Some plants and animals may struggle in the new environment while others may thrive. This would then change the balance of flora and fauna, which in turn might spur other changes.


    June 24, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    why do ecosystems vary? this is because ecosystems are complex and consist of different biotic and abiotic factors and how they relate to their environment. because of the conditions favourable to each living organisms, there is a lot of differences in each environment and what can survive there. for example, humans can only be able to live on dry land, that is where their breathing system functions effectively. the nature of the organism-the species, functional group and trophic levels to which they belong- dictates the sort of actions these individuals are capable of carrying out and the relative efficiency with which they do so. this is especially why you find very different organisms living in the aquatic or dry land. or different microorganisms surviving in different temperature ranges.

    • Katie Brimm

      July 3, 2018 at 9:13 am

      HI Julia,

      Great, thanks for the response. I wonder if you could expand even more within microclimates – as in, what about on a farm? Are there parts of the farm that support different species better than others? Why?

  • Bari Zeiger

    January 22, 2019 at 6:18 am

    Why do ecosystems vary? Illustrate your answer with an example.

    Ecosystems vary because there exists an inextricably intertwined web of dynamism that spurs continuous and abundant permutations of cause and effect. Further the very definition of “ecosystem” is subjective. Further, it is a sort of arbitrary human construct and tool for making sense of things in the presence of the functional limitations of the human brain. For example, because of the density of microbial/microorganism life and omnipresence of abiotic factors that support this life, there can exist an inexhaustible number of “ecosystems within ecosystems.” To elaborate, a human can exist within an ecosystem; however, a human can also be an ecosystem. The human body (and its attached biotic and abiotic characteristics) can support a multitude of microorganisms both externally and internally. Indeed, there is still much to learn about the human microbiome; but, scientists have drawn parallels to the life supported by the human gut and the life supported by soils. Not only do the conditions of the human (such as their body temperature, functions immune system cells, nutrient compositions, etc.) impact the microorganisms, there is growing evidence that these microorganisms impact their human host by influencing things (such as cravings for certain foods, energy levels, etc.). Thus, the conditions of the human ecosystem influence the volume and specifies of microorganisms and those microorganisms influence their environment within the human and steer human behaviors that will either have favorable or unfavorable effects for those organisms in a sort of ongoing song and dance of endless causality and correlation.

  • Carmen Flores Ccasa Flores Ccasa

    February 21, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Why do ecosystems vary? Illustrate your answer with an example

    Because each place has a different ecosystem than another, because not all places can live all animals, humans adapt to a climate where the body resists and we can also say that not all microorganisms develop like other microorganisms because to which they need different growth temperatures.
    For example, in the farm where I am now in California, I can not grow the same products that I produced there in Peru, like the potato diversity that we produce there, the tomato is adaptable in this climate but in Peru it does not produce easily.

  • Jay

    April 10, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Biotic factors and Abiotic factors constantly influence each other. Some abiotic factors determine what kind of life can reside there, for example, temperature, geography, rainfall. This succeeding life then continues to evolve and change in response to the abiotic factors present. By continuing to carve out their existence, the biotic factors influence the abiotic ones. This can be seen in examples like trails made by animals influencing erosion, vegetation that coevolves in response to predation by herbivores, and water movement and retention throughout the landscape as seen in beaver communities.
    There is a natural variance in what abiotic factors exist and what biotic factors respond to them. Additionally, the changing nature of existence ensures that ecosystems will always constantly vary.

  • Michael Smith

    September 11, 2019 at 9:57 am

    Ecosystems vary due to numerous factors. As a community of living and non living things we know that living organisms are dependent on one another. Change and ongoing ecological processes are constant. Similarly,  Human behavior  can alter where species live, how they interact, and the timing of biological events, which could fundamentally transform current ecosystems and food webs. Climate change is great eXample of this as climate change can overwhelm the capacity of ecosystems to mitigate extreme events and disturbance, such as wildfires, floods, and drought.

    • Katie Brimm

      September 12, 2019 at 5:54 pm

      Thank you for the reply Michael. In particular, “Change and ongoing ecological processes are constant.” is notable, as humans so often behave as if the world will stay the same. The interdependency which you talk about here is critical to note as well. I wonder if you could talk a little more about what that might look like in an agricultural system?

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