Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 10

1

Introduction of Environmental Science

Environment may be defined in the simple terms as the sum total of all external conditions and influences that affect the living organisms. It includes lower part of atmosphere, entire hydrosphere and soil and lithosphere to depth, where evidence of existence of living organism has been found.

Environment

The environment is the aggregate of all those things and set of conditions, which directly or indirectly influence not only the life of organisms but also the communities at a particular place. Any external force or influence, which surrounds and affects the life of a plant in any way, become a factor of its environment. These factors are called environmental factors.

The term Environment refers to the surroundings of an organisms, which includes both living and non-living components. The space into which living beings exist is referred to as biosphere. The literal meaning of surround and to develop surrounding usually refers to the Biosphere. The biosphere is considered as a thin shell of many hundred kilometres of radius that encapsulates the earth. The life sustaining resources such as air, water, food, etc., are recycled with in the biosphere.

It is a complex of so many things (light, soil, water, temperature, etc) which surround an organism. Any external forces, substances or condition, which surrounds and affects the life of an organism in any way is a factors of its environment. Environment includes all elements, factors and condition that have some impact on growth and development of an organisms. Thus, environment includes all the external conditions and influence affecting life and development of an organisms. Environment includes both biotic and abiotic factor.

Definition of Environment

Some important definitions of environment are as under according to Anastasi The environment is everything that affects the individual except his genes. Boring A person’s environment consists of the sum total of the stimulation, which he receives from his conception until his death.

4

UGC NET Tutor

Environmental Science

Holland The term Environment is used to describe, in the aggregate, all the external forces, influences and conditions, which affect the life, nature, behaviour and the growth, development and maturity of living organisms.

Downs Public interest in environment changes through time and the whole sequence of changes is completed in five stages termed as ‘Issue Attention cycle’.

Environmental Analysis

These favourable conditions make earth a unique as compared to other planets. It has evolved its own environment constituting different segments, which are Biosphere The biosphere is a capsule encircling the earth’s surface, where in all the living thing exists. That includes plants, animals and other organisms. Atmosphere The atmosphere which is gaseous such as nitrogen, oxygen, helium, ozone, carbon dioxide, etc., cover, protect the earth from cosmic radiations and provides life sustaining oxygen, the macronutrient nitrogen and carbon dioxide needed for photosynthesis. Argon gas is found in least concentration in atmosphere. Hydrosphere This comprises all water resources both surface and ground water. The world’s water is found in oceans, lakes, seas, glacier and rivers in the polar region in addition to ground water below the land area. Lithosphere It is the top crust of the earth. The uppermost layer of soil (few metre thickness) on earth crust is the most important region of lithosphere. The lithosphere technically includes both the land mass and the ocean floor, it is often used to indicate only land surface.

Classification of Environment

Environment is composed of physical and biological components. It includes both living and non-living components.

Environment

includes both living and non-living components. Environmen t Physical Environment (abiotic) Land Air Water Biological
includes both living and non-living components. Environmen t Physical Environment (abiotic) Land Air Water Biological

Physical Environment

(abiotic)

Land Air Water
Land
Air
Water

Biological Environment (biotic)

Animals Plants Man
Animals
Plants
Man

Physical Environment

On the basis of physical characteristics and state, the physical environment is sub-divided into three broad categories, i.e., (a) Land (solid), (b) Water (liquid), (c) Air (gas). They are also called abiotic components.

Biological Environment

The biological component of the environment consists of plants (flora) and animals (fauna) including man as an important factor.

Stages of Issue Attention Cycle

A systematic cycle of heightening public interest and then increasing boredon with major issues, how long public attention is likely to remain sufficiently focused upon any given issue to generate enough political pressure, to cause effective change is the issue attention cycle.

Stages of issue attention cycles are

First Stage or Pre-problem Stage It is characterised by no public attention towards environmental problems except a few experts and interest group who are seized with such problems.

Second Stage It is a stage of alarmed discovery and euphoric enthusiasm when the issue of environmental problems catches the public attention.

The public are so alarmed and enthusiastic that they readily respond to solve the problem without caring for the cost of investment.

Third Stage It is marked by realisation of the cost of significant progress. The public is aware of the cost of investment. It is realised that the technological development may not always be the best solution to the environment problems.

Fourth Stage It is characterised by gradual decline in public interest towards environment improvement programmes due to realisations of higher cost of solution of environmental problems and difficulty in implementing the environmental improvement programme.

Fifth Stage or Post-problems Stage It is marked by lessening of public interest in the issues of environmental concerns but the public interest in environmental problems erupts in spasmodic manner.

First stage/pre-problem stage

erupts in spasmodic manner. First stage/pre-problem stage Fifth stage/ post-problem stage Second stage Fourth stage

Fifth stage/

post-problem stage

Second stage

Fourth stage

Third stage

Issue attention cycle

Introduction of Environmental Science

5

Environmental Factors

Various factors of environment have been grouped and discussed in different ways.

Sometimes all the factors are classified into two groups

Environment Factors Direct Factors Indirect Factors
Environment Factors
Direct Factors
Indirect Factors

Climatic/Aerial factors,

Biotic factors,

Edaphic

Physiographic/Topographic

e.g.,

Light, temperature

e.g.,

Plant

factors,

factors,

e.g.,

Altitudes,

of air, humidity of air,

and animal

e.g., Soil

exposure of slopes, steepness

atmosphere and rainfall

 

of the slopes

Direct Factors

These are light, air, temperature, soil nutrients, soil water, etc. Most of the ecologists recognise two categories of direct factors

Climatic/Aerial Factors It includes light, temperature of air, humidity of air, atmosphere (gases and wind) and rainfall.

These are all kinds of interaction between different forms of

life, i.e., plants, animals, etc.

Indirect Factors

These are slopes, wind, soil organisms, soil structure, etc.

Most of the ecologists prefer to recognise following categories of factors of environment

Edaphic Factors These deal with the formation of soil, its physical and chemical properties.

Physiographic/Topographic Factors It includes altitude, direction of mountain chains and valleys, etc.

Characteristics of Environment

Biotic Factors

(i)

It consists of physical, social moral, economic and political forces, which affect the life and nature of behaviour.

(ii)

It is the sum total of the stimulation from man’s birth until his death.

(iii) It refers to sum total of conditions, which surround man at a given point in space and time.

(iv) It includes all the external forces, which affect the growth and development of living organism.

(v) It increase in economic productivity through improved health of people.

(vi) It inculcates attitude and values towards understanding the interdependence of nature and man and work towards sustainable development.

Principles of Environment

The members of API are dedicated to continuous efforts to improve the compatibility of their operations with the environment, while economically

developing energy resources and supplying high quality products and services to consumers.

API members pledge to manage their businesses according to the following principles, using sound science to prioritize risks and to implement cost effective management practices.

(i)

To develop economically and produce natural resources and to conserve those resources by using energy efficiently.

(ii)

To commit to reduce overall emission and waste generation.

(iii) To work with other to resolve problems created by handling and disposal of hazards.

Environmental

Awareness

Several movements have taken place in this regards. Environment related acts are also promulgated from time to time. Many awards have been instituted for the sake of betterment of environment.

Environment Education, Awareness and Training (EEAT) Scheme is a central scheme.

EEAT scheme was launched during the 16th five year plan in 1983-84 with the following objectives.

(i)

To promote environment education through existing educational/research institutions/scientific.

(ii)

To ensure training and manpower development for environment education, awareness and training.

(iii) To

facilitate

development

of

education/training materials and aids

in the formal education sector.

(iv) To mobilize people’s participation for preservation and conservation for preservation and conservation by environment.

promote environmental

awareness among all sections of the

(v) To

society.

6

UGC NET Tutor

Environmental Science

Multi-disciplinary Nature in Environment Science

Although the study of environmental science implies single subject, but its essence is multi-disciplinary in nature. The science of environmental studies is a multi-disciplinary science because it comprise various branches of studies like chemistry, physics, life-science, medical science, agriculture, public health, sanitary engineering, etc.

Environmental science is a multi-disciplinary science that teaches us to protect and sustain our natural resources of land, water, air and vegetation. Sustainability is the key ward here. The usage of any commodity will deplete it if not done in a sustainable manner. Strides made in industry, agriculture and technologies for improving human life quality have been made possible by relying on resources available in land, water and vegetation.

These anthropogenic activities have often led to deterioration of the natural resources. Besides such activities, natural hazards like earth quake, land-slides, hurricanes and floods pose a threat to the natural resources system. There is an increasing awareness in society and an willingness to adopt measures to protect our environment from degrading effects of all forms of misuse and depletion.

Scope of Environmental Science

The environmental biology includes several disciplines involving different branches of environmental sciences. The physical, chemical and biological features of land are included under biogeochemistry. The concept of environment includes nearly all disciplines of science that are linked to humans directly ordinarily. These include Bioecology, Toxicology, Environmental Biology, Environmental Chemistry and Ecology.

y tr s E i m n e g h i C n e e
y
tr
s
E
i
m
n
e
g
h
i
C
n
e
e
ri
n
y
g
g
o
ol
L
i
a
B
Nature
w
s
c
S
o
i
Human
c
s
Environment
y
i
h
o
Culture
Society
P
ol
g
s
y
c
ti
a
P
m
lo
ti
e
h
ci
t
a
l
a
M
S
c
n
i
oi
e
g
n
il
c
e
e
R
tr
A
H
si
t
o
e
yr
r
u
t
a
iL
t
re

Various fields of environmental science

Ecology deals with the several organism under constant stress of different ecological principles. The study of toxic, physical, chemical and biological factor is included under Environmental Toxicology besides these prominent disciplines. There are many other fronts of study in environmental science.

Importance of Environmental Science

Importance of environmental studies lies in the fact that by being well-acquainted with nature one can lead a healthy, spiritual and long life. Under natural conditions at a time, the life or organism is affected by the sum of all environmental factors and not by any individual factor. All the factors are so interrelated that variations in one may affect the other.

Energy (radiant or other form) Mineral rocks and soil Atmosphere (gases and wind)
Energy (radiant
or other form)
Mineral
rocks and soil
Atmosphere
(gases and wind)
Organisms Water (soil and atmosphere)

Organisms

Organisms Water (soil and atmosphere)
Organisms Water (soil and atmosphere)
Organisms Water (soil and atmosphere)
Organisms Water (soil and atmosphere)
Organisms Water (soil and atmosphere)
Organisms Water (soil and atmosphere)
Organisms Water (soil and atmosphere)

Water (soil and atmosphere)

Water (soil and atmosphere)
Water (soil and atmosphere)

Importance of environmental factors

For instance an increase in temperature would certainly bring out a decrease in humidity values. Thus, in affecting an organism’s life under natural conditions environmental factors, operate in conduction and not in isolation following figure shows possible interactions between five principal components of the environment (energy, soil nutrients organisms, air and water). The effect of one factor is usually

modified by the other factors.

Since various environmental factors affect the life of an

organism in a logistic manner and all the factors operate in

conjunction and not in isolation, it is difficult to understand

the nature of influence of individual factor.

Environmental Cycles

Most of elements flow continuously in ecosystem in a cyclic

manner from one factor to another factor. Their transport

can be studied as a cyclic stages and from at different factors

(the flow of water is also in cycle manner and can be studied

as energy cycle and water cycle respectively).

In a self-sufficient ecosystem, there occurs the flow of

minerals (P, C, H 2 , N 2 , etc.) and energy through the abiotic and biotic components of the system. This cyclical path of

Introduction of Environmental Science

7

the elements from the abiotic system to the biotic system and back is called biogeochemical cycle.

On the basis of location of these pools, the nutrients cycles are of two types

Gaseous Cycle

The elements have main reservoir in gaseous phase is the essential feature of these cycle. The cycles of oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen are classified under the gaseous cycle. Thus, water cycle is considered separately as hydrological cycle.

Carbon Cycle

It is an example of gaseous type of biogeochemical cycle of nature. Carbon is found as graphite and diamond in nature. It amount of 0.03% in the air. It includes most important phenomenons like photosynthesis, respiration, etc.

Decomposition through which carbon cycles in various form of carbon compounds from one system to another. While the present day cycling of carbon nitrates with photosynthetic activity that accumulate CO 2 into carbohydrates. These carbohydrates (food) is taken up by animals, where it is used to produce energy and again CO 2 is released in the atmosphere.

Besides this decomposer decay the complex living matter into simple compounds that are further dissolved in soil. Such a form that can be used by plant in their metabolic activities. Carbon cycle includes following reaction

2C + O → 2CO at normal temperature

CO 2 + C → 2CO at high temperature

Atmospheric CO 2 is produced by burning by fossil-fuel, conversion of limestones into cement, etc., while CO is produced due to incomplete burning of carbon compound.

Oxygen Cycle

Oxygen is the life supporting portion of the earth’s atmosphere. It is present in large quantities (about 21% v/v) in the atmosphere. It is also found dissolved in water and as oxides and carbonates in rocks.

Atmospheric oxygen (O ) 2 Carbohydrate, glucose (C H O ) 6 12 6 Components
Atmospheric
oxygen (O )
2
Carbohydrate,
glucose
(C H
O )
6
12
6
Components of
living matter
Nutrient uptake
Photosynthesis
Respiration
Nutrient pool
CO 2
H O
2
Oxygen cycle
D
e
c
a
y

About 1 tonne of oxygen is present per square metre of the earth’s surface. Oxygen is given out as a byproduct of photosynthesis. Plants in all ecosystems release about 8 moles of oxygen per year per square metre of earth’s surface through photosynthesis. Plants and animals (heterotrophs) utilise this oxygen in respiration and return it to the atmosphere in the form of CO 2 . This CO 2 is utilised by green plants as an essential raw material for carbohydrates synthesis. Dissolved oxygen in water is the source of oxygen for aquatic life.

Nitrogen Cycle

It is a good example of gaseous cycle. Because of its role in the construction of proteins and nucleic acid and its importance as a potential limiting factor in many biological phenomena, nitrogen is a significant element. The atmosphere is the reservoir of free gaseous nitrogen. But living organisms, except some nitrogen fixing bacteria, cannot use elemental nitrogen directly.

It has to be converted into nitrate to be utilised by plant. The atmospheric nitrogen is converted into nitrates by nitrogen fixing bacteria and blue-green algae. The soluble nitrates are taken up by plants, which utilise them in synthesis of amino acid and proteins.

Steps of Nitrogen Cycle

The nitrogen cycle can be described by five steps

Nitrogen Fixation The conversion of nitrogen into ammonia or nitrites is called nitrification. Despite the

atmosphere being almost 80%

nitrogen, plants cannot assimilate this form of nitrogen. The nitrogen is converted by two methods, non-biological methods and biological methods.

8

UGC NET Tutor

Environmental Science

Nitrification

in the soil are nitrates. A group of microorganisms convert

For plants the most useful form of nitrogen

ammonia into nitrates in a process called nitrification.

Electric

discharge Atmospheric nitrogen N +O 2 2 Nitrogen oxide Nitrogen fixation Plant Washed Nitrogen fixation
discharge
Atmospheric
nitrogen
N +O
2
2
Nitrogen oxide
Nitrogen fixation
Plant
Washed
Nitrogen fixation
and animal
by rain
proteins
Symbiotic
and free
Nitrogen
living blue-
oxide
green algae
Free living
Denitrifying
nitrogen
Death
bacteria
fixing
Root absorption
bacteria
Nodules
Azotobacter
containing
Saprophytic
Rhizobium
bacteria
amino acid
ammonifying
Death and decay
ammonifying
bacteria
bacteria
Ammonia and
Soil nitrates
its commend
(soil)
Nitrobacter
Nitrites
Nitrosomonas
(soil)
Leaching loss to rivers
and oceanic basins

Nitrogen cycle

In this process nitrites are formed first, then converted into nitrates.

+

3

1 HNO

+

1

O 2

O 2

O

2

2 2

2

+

+

→

1 KNO

2 3

→

NH

KNO

H O

2

+

66 kcal

17 5 kcal

Assimilation Plants assimilate nitrogen in the form of nitrates through their root system and store them in the form of proteins and amino acids. The animals obtain nitrogen by eating plant and utilise them for growth, tissue repair, etc.

Ammonification The organic matter of plants and animals is decomposed by microorganisms in the soil. In this process ammonia and amino acids are released.

Denitrification It is the reduction of nitrates to gaseous nitrogen, ammonia or to some oxides of nitrogen. This occurs in soil mainly in anaerobic conditions.

Some iron and sulphur bacteria utilise the oxygen of nitrates for chemosynthetic activity as follows

C H O +6KNO

6

12

6

3

→

6CO +6KOH

2

+ 3N O +3 H O + 545 kcal

2

2

or 5C H

6

12

O

6

+

24KNO

3

→

30CO

2

+ 18H O + 24KOH + 12N + 570 kcal

2

2

or

S

+

KNO

3

+

CaCO

3

→

K SO

2

4

+ CaSO

4

+ CO

2

+ N + 132 kcal

2

Sedimentary Cycle

This type of cycle do not have a gaseous phase. The elements are usually found in soil and sediments and cycle through soil, water and organism. The only exception to these cycle is sulphur cycle, which has a gaseous phase as

H

elemental sulphur.

2 S and SO 2 . The sulphur forms sediments. Bacteria can use

Sulphur Cycle

Sulphur is an essential element of protein synthesis. It provides a linkage between polypeptide chain in protein molecules. Life on earth, could not exist without sulphur. It is less likely, however to be limiting of ecosystem productivity than phosphorus.

Organic sulphur in plants and animals Sulphur in coal and petroleum Decomposition by bacterial reduction
Organic sulphur in
plants and animals
Sulphur in coal and
petroleum
Decomposition by
bacterial reduction
Oxide
Taken up by
green plants
Sulphur-
H S
2
fixing
bacteria
Photosynthetic and
SO 2
chemosynthetic
sulphur bacteria
SO 4
Solution
sulphates

Sulphur cycle

In nature, sulphur exists in the elemental form and in several

oxidation states, including hydrogen sulphide (H S ),

sulphites (SO 2 ) and sulphates (SO ) . Organic sulphur in plants and animals is decomposed to H S by bacterial action

is further oxidised to sulphates such as

(NH ) SO 4 by sulphur-oxidising bacteria. Sulphur is also locked into coal and petroleum and is released as sulphur dioxide when these products are burned. A sulphur cycle is shown in figure whose details are self-explanatory.

Phosphorus Cycle

and the H S

2

2

3

4

2

4

2

Phosphorus forms part of the sedimentary cycle. It is also a key element in all living organisms. It play an important role

Introduction of Environmental Science

9

in almost every step of organic synthesis. It is more likely than almost any other element to limit the productivity in many of earths ecosystems. Phosphorus in the protoplasm of plants and animals is broken down by cellular metabolism or the action of phosphatising bacteria to dissolved phosphates, e.g., CaHPO 4 . These dissolved phosphates may be utilised directly in protein synthesis in plants as primary nutrients or they may enter marine deposits and become fixed in relatively insoluble forms of phosphates rocks Ca (PO )

3

4

2 .

The greatest reservoir of phosphates in the world lies in relatively insoluble ferric and calcium phosphates in rock. In this form, phosphorus may be released slowly to soluble form by action of dilute nitric acid formed during nitrification. Waste detergents are often sufficiently abundant in streams to cause foaming and sudsing at waterfalls.

Protoplasm plants animals bacteria Protoplasm Excretion synthesis Relatively insoluble Ca (PO ) 3 4 2
Protoplasm
plants
animals
bacteria
Protoplasm
Excretion
synthesis
Relatively insoluble
Ca (PO )
3
4 2
Fish and
marine birds
Phosphate rocks,
bone deposits and
guano deposits
Phosphatising
bacteria
The insoluble phosphates
are liberated to more
soluble forms
by HNO formed
during nitrification
3
Dissolved phosphates
CaHPO 4
Deep deposits
Marine deposits

Phosphorus cycle

Ecosystem

It is considered to be a major ecological unit and was coined by AG Tansley in 1935. Ecological system or ecosystem is any unit that includes all the animals, i.e., the communities in a given area, interacting, is with the physical environment so that a flow of energy leads to clearly defined trophic structure biotic diversity and material cycle such as exchange of materials between living and non-living components within the system.

Human beings live upon as a giant ecosystem, where abiotic and biotic components are constantly acting and reaching upon each other and bringing forth structural and functional changes in it.

Heat CO 2 O 2 Sun Vapours Nitrogen Water Dead Organic leaves matter Denitrifying Mineral
Heat
CO 2
O 2
Sun
Vapours
Nitrogen
Water
Dead
Organic
leaves
matter
Denitrifying
Mineral
bacteria
Nitrifing bacteria
Salts (N, P, K Ca and Fe)

Ecosystem

Any habitat of nature that includes plants, animals and non-living substances, which interact to produce materials that can be exchanged between living and non-living parts of the habitat is called as ecosystem. Thus, ecosystem is a major ecological unit, which contains biotic and abiotic components through which nutrients are cycled and energy flows.

Definition of Ecosystem

An ecosystem can be defined as a structural and functional unit of biosphere or segment of nature consisting of community of living beings and the physical environment both interacting and exchanging materials between them.

According to AG Tansley, Using the term ‘Ecosystem’ for the first time in 1935 AG Tansley, defined ecosystem as a

particular category of physical systems, consisting of organisms and inorganic components in a relatively stable equilibrium, open and of various sizes and kinds.

According to EP Odum, An American ecologist, defined ecology as, the study of the structure and function of nature, which includes the living world. He referred ecosystem as the basic fundamental unit of energy.

According to Charles Elton, A British ecologist defined ecology as, the study of scientific natural history.

According to Evan, The ecosystem involves the circulation, transformation and accumulators of energy and matter through the medium of living organisms and their activities. The dynamic abiotic components of environment and the assemblage of plants and animals there, as a result of interactions between themselves keep modifying and changing each other and leads to the development of ecosystem.

According to Andrewartha, An Australian ecologist, defined ecology as, the study concerned with the distribution of organisms.

10

UGC NET Tutor

Environmental Science

According to S Mathavan, An ecosystem is a sum total of living organism, the environment and the process of interaction between the various components of the ecosystem.

According to RL Linderman, The term ecosystem applies to any system composed of physical, chemical and biological processes within a space time unit of any magnitude.

According to AN Strahler and AN Strahler, The total assemblage of components interacting with a group of organisms is known as ecological system or more simply an ecosystem.

Kinds of Ecosystem

The ecosystem is broadly classified under two categories

Natural Ecosystem

These are self-regulating ecosystem, which operate under natural conditions independently without any major interference of man. On the particular kind of habitat, the natural ecosystem are further divided in terrestrial (forest, grassland, cultivated land and desert ecosystem).

Aquatic which may be lotic (running water as spring, river, stream) or lentic (standing water as lakes, pool, ponds) and marine (deep bodies and ocean ecosystem as lagoons, corals reefs).

Functions

These function themselves under natural conditions and are not influenced by man-made activities.

Some characteristics and functions of ecosystems are the following

(a) In natural ecosystem, there is a continued and rapid exchange of O 2 ,

of

these elements varies from season to season and also throughout the year.

CO 2 and H O . The concentration

2

(b) The industrial and automobile generated air pollutants are trapped by leaves of the trees and converted into harmless compounds.

Artificial Ecosystem

These are developed and maintained artificially by man. In them natural balance is disturbed by addition of energy and planned manipulations, e.g., cultivation of crop plants like maize, wheat, rice crops, etc. In addition, the rapid progress made during recent years led to the recognisation of some other types of ecosystem such as space ecosystem, pond ecosystem, closed bottle or aquarium, etc.

Functions

Such ecosystem are the creations of human beings. The kinds of species and the size of artificial ecosystems may vary widely. A few examples of artificial ecosystem may be enumerated as follows

Ecosystem
Ecosystem
Natural Ecosystem (controlled by natural)
Natural Ecosystem
(controlled by natural)
Terrestrial (based on vegetation) Aquatic Forest Grassland Cultivated land Desert
Terrestrial
(based on vegetation)
Aquatic
Forest
Grassland
Cultivated land
Desert
Artificial Ecosystem (controlled by human) Wastewater Spacecraft Closed Others treatment bottle
Artificial Ecosystem
(controlled by human)
Wastewater
Spacecraft
Closed
Others
treatment
bottle

pond

Freshwater Estuary Marine
Freshwater
Estuary
Marine
Running water Standing water
Running water
Standing water
Rivers Streams Springs
Rivers
Streams
Springs
Lakes Pool Ponds
Lakes
Pool
Ponds
Deep sea Ocean
Deep sea
Ocean
Lagoons Coral reefs
Lagoons
Coral reefs

Different types of ecosystem

Agricultural fields sprinpled with pesticides.

A waste water treatment plant.

A water filtration tank-pond, which purifies water before supplying if for drinking.

A home-aquarium or an exhibition-aquarium such as marine drive, Mumbai,

etc.

Some Important Ecosystems

Pond Ecosystem

A pond is a balanced system of water, biotic and abiotic substances. A small

pond (lentic ecosystem) is the best for ecological studies. They are smaller and

shallow and when become old, they possess rooted vegetation over most of the bottom.

Introduction of Environmental Science

11

However, during dry periods ponds may become stagnant and display unique adaptations and behavioural adjustments of animals to meet the adverse conditions.

The constituents parts comprise the following components

Abiotic Components

These include mainly organic and inorganic compounds including water, oxygen, nitrogen, calcium, salts, amino acids, humans, etc. All the bottom most of the nutrients are available in plenty.

Biotic Components

These may be categorised as

Producers In a pond ecosystem, the primary producers are diatoms and microscopic free floating algae (phytoplankton) like Chlamydomonas, Euglena, etc. There are also the larger algae like Spirogyra, Cladophora, Chara, etc.

Consumers The primary consumers (C 1 ) are minute floating water flea, larvae of insects that feed on green plant.

The consumers of second order (C ) are rotifers, small fish, frog, etc. The top carnivores (C 3 ) are the larger fish and predatory bird like gulls, duck and stork.

Bacteria, fungi and some invertebrate animals acts as decomposers. They are found in water and sediments. They decompose dead organic matter and release the mineral substance from it. These minerals again become available to producers.

Grassland Ecosystem

This is a type of terrestrial ecosystem. The various components of a grassland ecosystem are as follows

2

Abiotic Components

These are the nutrients presents in soil and the aerial environment. Thus, the element like C, H, O, N, P, S, etc., are supplied by carbon dioxide, water, phosphates and sulphates, etc.

Producers Macrophytes Phytoplanktons Sun (rooted) Water Mud Abiotic components (basic inorganic and organic
Producers
Macrophytes
Phytoplanktons
Sun
(rooted)
Water
Mud
Abiotic components (basic inorganic
and organic compounds)
Tertiary consumer
Decomposers
(carnivores)
Consumers
Primary consumers
(herbivores)
Benthos

Ecosystem of natural pond

12 UGC NET Tutor

Environmental Science

Biotic Components

These may be categorised as

(a) Producers They are mainly grasses, as Cynodon, Setaria, etc. Beside them a few forbs and shrubs also contribute to primary production.

Carnivores Herbivores Abiotic material Decomposers
Carnivores
Herbivores
Abiotic material
Decomposers

Grassland ecosystem

(b) Consumers In a grassland ecosystem, the primary producers and shrubs. Some grasses and grazing animals as sheep, cows, rabbit, mouse, etc. The consumer of second order (C ) are fox, snakes, frog, lizards, birds, etc. Sometimes the hawks feed on the secondary consumers, thus occupying tertiary consumers level in the food chain.

(c) Decomposers The microbes active in the decay of dead organic matter of different forms of higher life are fungi as species of Mucor, Rhizopus, etc., and some bacteria and Actinomycetes.

2

Balanced Ecosystem

A balanced ecosystem is such a biome in which the natural balance of energy flow, structure and functions are not disturbed and they occur in a natural way. Natural ecosystem are examples of balanced ecosystem.

Unbalanced Ecosystem

Artificial ecosystem are generally unbalanced. They are maintained to serve certain specific purpose. Pond ecosystem, crop field, etc., are some example of artificial ecosystem. In agricultural fields, the control of biotic community as well as physio-chemical environment is also unbalanced due to such manipulations.

Functions of Ecosystem

The ecosystem is lolistic unit as it brings together the environment, biological organisms and man within a single framework, where the interaction between the components can be analysed. Its functions involve continuous input and movement of matter and energy.

However, ecosystem is very broad term it incorporates following aspects in it

(i) Ecosystem tend to move from less complex to a more complex state through succession.

(ii) The main function of ecosystem is flow of energy and the cycling of materials through the various components of the ecosystem.

(iii) The ecosystem has historical aspects, the present is related to the past and the future is related to the present.

(iv) It contains abiotic and biotic components through which nutrients are cycled and energy flow.

(v) To maintain these cycles and flows, the ecosystem provides a number of structural relationships between soil, water nutrients, producers, consumers and decomposers.

Environmental Acts and Awards

Environment Related Acts

1972

— The Wildlife Act

1980

— The Forest Act

1986

— The Environment (protection) Act

Environment Related Organisation

IUCN

International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

NCEPC

— National

Committee

on

Environmental

Planning

and

WHO

Coordination — World Health Organisation

WWF

— World Wildlife Found now renamed as World Wide Fund

WRI

for nature — World Resources Institute

CSIR

— Council of Scientific and Industrial Research

CEE

— Centre for Environmental Education

Environment Awards

Rajiv Gandhi Environment Award for Clean Technology To industrial

units that have made significant contribution towards development of clean technologies and innovation solution to environmental problems created by industrial operations.

Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar To an organisation and individual for significant contributions in the field of environment.

The Mahavriksha Puraskar To an organisation individual for trees of notified species having the largest girth and height and in good health and vigour.

Important Days/Dates Related to Environment

World Environment Day–June, 05

World Environment Protection Day–November, 26

World Ozone Day-September, 16