Ecosystem Literature Review Essay

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Ecosystem Literature Review

The aquatic ecosystems are home to some of the most diverse life forms on the planet. From plankton and plants to fish and even to large mammals, the aquatic ecosystem provides shelter to such a diverse range of life that few other ecosystems can ever compare to this large scope. In the aquatic ecosystem, there are many factors that allow for biotic life to flourish. Some of these factors include biodiversity, energy flow, and nutrient cycling. Not only do these factors allow for the prosperity of the aquatic ecosystem function, but also allow for the proper function of the other factors. Ecosystem function can be seen as the "collective metabolic activities of organisms within a habitat consume energy
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But with a lack of biodiversity in an ecosystem, a foreign species will have an easier time of integrating into the ecosystem, therefore changing the chemical and biological properties of it . These alterations in ecosystems can make it more challenging for the native species to live and survive. This could potentially ruin the health and stability of an ecosystem (Stachowicz/ et all 2002). Furthermore, if biodiversity is sustained in an ecosystem, plant function within an ecosystem also increases. As plant function, also known as primary productivity, increases, many other important ecosystem-level processes (including nutrient cycling and energy flow) also increase. (Srivastava and Vellend 2005). Thus, biodiversity affects the health of an ecosystem, and points to the importance of energy flow within an ecosystem. Energy flow, "the transfer of energy from one part of the ecosystem to another" is the battery that fuels all biotic species within an ecosystem. Like batteries, energy is depleted over time, so it must be "recharged". This source of energy comes from the sun, which is considered the external source of energy that all life depends on within an ecosystem. Due to the second law of thermodynamics, which states that all energy transfers are inefficient, only a portion of the sun's energy is absorbed by the "producer organisms", which through photosynthesis, converts complex organic substances from inorganic substances (Lindeman 1942). Even

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