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Archive for the ‘Ecosystems’ Category

Coral Reef Ecosystems

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Ecosystem of the coral reefs is very vulnerable. These creatures are usually the first to die during ecological catastrophes.

Coral reefs are often called “rainforests of the sea”. They are home to a quarter of the marine species and play a key role in ecosystems of seas and oceans maintaining their biological diversity. Coral reefs is a very old and productive ecosystem. Apart from an important role they play in the environment they are also important for the development of tourism, fishing industry and health care. But they are reducing in numbers nowadays.

Coral reefs are one of the most beautiful and at the same time the most vulnerable species. They can be found in tropical and subtropical water in a variety of sizes. They form small rocks and The Great Barrier Reef stretching for over 2,300 kilometers along the coast of Australia is the largest structure formed by a living creature in the world. But even small reefs are home to thousands of marine species and algae which form a complicated and dynamic ecosystem.

In tropic waters where there are coral reefs there are also many species of fish as well as other marine plants and animals which play an important role in reefs’ productivity thus benefiting people as about 100 millions people live in the costal areas and are directly dependent on the ecosystem or the coral reefs as people there mainly live on fishing and tourism.

Building stone which contains coral residuals finds its application as constructional material used for inner and outer decoration of the houses. Millions of years ago it was shell limestone and consisted of sediments, corals and mollusks shells but with the course of time it turned into a solid rock, and peculiar patterns left by corals and layers of different minerals can be seen on its surface.

Coral jewelry is becoming popular nowadays. Fishing nets are usually used to get corals from the sea bottom. As “first class” corals are really rare only a small amount of the caught corals is culled out to be further uses as jewelry. Nowadays there is an urge need to use environmentally friendly ways of coral harvesting.

The Litter Ecosystem

Monday, June 13th, 2011

The forest is generally referred to as a primary producer, processing carbon into carbohydrates. All green plants, including those outside forests, are primary producers; it is often better to refer to the primary producers of the forest as the production ecosystem of the forest, or simply the production ecosystem. This allows us to distinguish it from other forest ecosystems. As leaves and twigs fall to the ground they build up a detritus of leaf mould which is sporadically added to by falling branches and trees, and by the decay of ferns, mosses, lichens, birds, insects and other ground dwellers.

Within this detritus there exists another forest community, the soil and litter community of decomposers which forms a distinct but vital ecosystem, the litter ecosystem, intimately linked with and supplementary to the production ecosystem itself. These two systems together formed the forest ecosystem, which can continue to function indefinitely only when these two systems are intact and fully functional. Other systems within the forest -including birds, insects and other forms of wildlife – are supplementary to the production and litter ecosystems.

The litter ecosystem consists of soil and forest to drivers together with its inhabitants. This assemblage of mostly tiny living things within the litter layer is vast and counts its population is in hundreds of thousands per hectare, for mites and small insects, and in billions for bacteria. It forms a recycling system returning into circulation vital substances used by living things as they die so that new life can use these again. This litter ecosystem is absolutely vital to the health and well-being of any forest. When it is destroyed by man or by other causes such as the trampling of animals the forest slowly dies.