Biomes are the composite of all species within a large scale ecological community. In the natural environment, these assemblies have typically co-evolved, so that they have a natural arrangement in terms of their positioning to compete for sunlight, water and nutrient resources; in some cases these associations are symbiotic, but in most cases they are simply optimal spatial arrangements to take advantage of all the resources available in a given habitat. For example, there is typically a vertical tiering, where plants of differing light requirements can occupy canopy, mid-level or forest floor niches; the same theory applies even in a grassland, where the canopy is simply the tallest of the grasses or herbs.
In the case of water competition, depth of rooting and tolerance to arid soils are chief determinants for spatial arrangement; as far as nutrient competition, plants will compete to determine the most robust competitor for a given edaphic niche. While the outcome geometry for the plant palette usually appears random, there is a complex network of ecological theory at work that determines the layout of the assembled community. The same concept applies to aquatic communities as to terrestrial systems, with some plants having immersed roots and others, either macrophytes or phytoplankton, floating or immersed at varying levels suitable for their sunlight needs.
WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection
The Iberian sclerophyllous and semi-deciduous forests support a complex and diverse flora with a notable...
DeforestationLast Updated on 2014-11-09 17:48:51Deforestation is the destruction or clearing of forested lands, usually for the purposes of expanding agricultural land or for timber harvesting. When the process is conducted by clearcutting (removal of most or all of the canopy tree growth, leaving few or no live or dead trees standing) or when mass forest burning occurs, significant losses of habitat and biodiversity may result, including the erosion of biological community structure and the extinction of species. Deforestation is proceeding at a rapid pace in may areas of the world, especially in the tropical and boreal forest regions of the earth, with annual net loss of forests during the 1990s estimated in the range of nine to sixteen million hectares per annum. Large scale deforestation may have adverse impacts on biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, exacerbating greenhouse gas buildup, through the release of stored... More »
PlantLast Updated on 2014-10-28 12:04:37
A plant is any one of the vast number of organisms within the biological kingdom Plantae; in general, these species are considered of limited motility and generally manufacture their own food. They include a host of familiar organisms including trees, forbs, shrubs, grasses, vines, ferns, and mosses. Conventionally the term plant implies a taxon with characteristics of multicellularity, cell structure with walls containing cellulose, and organisms capable of photosynthesis. Modern classification schemes are driven by somewhat rigid categorizations inherent in DNA and common ancestry.
Throughout most of the history of science from Aristotle to Linnaeus and into the 20th century, species were divided into two kingdoms: animals and plants. Driven by DNA characterizations and other modern analysis, fungi and bacteria have now been removed to separate kingdoms; in particular,... More »
Fossil fuelLast Updated on 2014-10-28 12:02:28
Fossil fuel is any naturally occurring carbon compound found in the Earth's crust that has been produced by anaerobic conditions and high pressures acting on dead organisms. These fossil fuel deposits are typically found at depths beneath the Earth surface or ocean floor of tens of meters to kilometers, and often occur in large agglomerations of gas, liquid or solid matter. Presently, combustion of fossil fuels account for over 86 percent of the world's artificial energy delivered to the human society. These fuels are considered non-renweable in that their natural creation time requires millions of years.
The extraction, processing and combustion of fossil fuels causes significant adverse environmental consequences to biodiversity, air quality and water quality, as well as substantial impacts to human health and mortality. These processes also generate large... More »
Mangrove ecologyLast Updated on 2014-10-19 17:31:46
Mangrove ecology is the study of biotic interactions within mangrove swamp ecosystems. These habitats are significant not only for the biodiversity they represent, but also for the protection of coastal erosion, and for the provision of protected nursery areas for marine fauna.
Mangroves worldwide cover an approximate area of 240 000 square kilometers of sheltered coastlines in the tropics and subtropics.
Mangroves stabilize coastal intertidal soils pereventing coastal erosion
Four of the most common ecotypes include fringe, riverine, basin, and scrub forests.
Mangroves are restricted to the intertidal zone.
Mangroves in general have a great capacity to recover from major natural disturbances.
Mangroves maintain water quality by trapping sediments and taking up excess... More »
MacrophytesLast Updated on 2014-10-01 11:04:52
Macrophytes are the conspicuous plants that dominate wetlands, shallow lakes, and streams. Macroscopic flora include the aquatic angiosperms (flowering plants), pteridophytes (ferns), and bryophytes (mosses, hornworts, and liverworts). An aquatic plant can be defined as one that is normally found growing in association with standing water whose level is at or above the surface of the soil. Standing water includes ponds, shallow lakes, marshes, ditches, reservoirs, swamps, bogs, canals, and sewage lagoons. Aquatic plants, though less frequently, also occur in flowing water, in streams, rivers, and springs.
Macrophytes constitute a diverse assemblage of taxonomic groups and are often separated into four categories based on their habit of growth: floating unattached, floating attached, submersed, and emergent. Floating unattached plants are those in which most of the plant is... More »
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