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$$$003-006-000$3.3.6 Практическое занятие №6

{Тема, план занятия}

The Ecosystem Concept

The first principle of ecology is that each living organism has an ongoing and continual relationship with every other element that makes up its environment. An ecosystem can be defined as any situation where there is

interaction on between organisms and their environment.

An ecosystem, a contraction of «ecological» and «system», refers to the collection of components and processes that comprise, and govern the behavior of some defined subset of the biosphere. The term is generally understood to refer to all biotic and abiotic components, and their interactions with each other, in some defined area, with no conceptual restrictions on how large or small that area can be.

There are two main components of all ecosystems: abiotic and biotic. Abiotic, or nonliving, components of an ecosystem are its physical and chemical components, for example, rainfall, temperature, sunlight, and nutrient supplies.

One of the problems with modern society is that it changes environmental conditions, making regions hotter or drier, for example. Such changes can make life more difficult, if not impossible, for other organisms.

Biotic components of an ecosystem are its living things — fungi, plants, animals, and microorganisms. Organisms live in populations, groups of the same species occupying a given region. Populations never live alone in an ecosystem. They always share resources with others, forming a community (a group of organisms living in the given area).

The ecosystem is composed of two entities, the entirety of life, the biocoenosis and the medium that life exists in, the biotope. Within the ecosystem, species are connected by food chains or food webs. Energy from the sun, captured by primary producers via photosynthesis, flows upward through the chain to primary consumers (herbivores), and then to secondary and tertiary consumers (carnivores), before ultimately being lost to the system as waste heat. In the process, matter is incorporated into living organisms, which return their nutrients to the system via decomposition, forming biogeochemical cycles such as the carbon and nitrogen cycles.

The concept of an ecosystem can be applied to units of variable size, such as a pond, a field, or a piece of deadwood. A unit of smaller size is called a microecosystem. For example, an ecosystem can be a stone and all the life under it. A mesoecosystem could be a forest, and a macroecosystem a whole ecoregion, with its drainage basin.

The main questions when studying an ecosystem are:

• Whether the colonization of a barren area could be carried out.

• Investigation of the ecosystem's dynamics and changes.

• The methods of which an ecosystem interacts at local, regional and global scale.

• Whether the current state is stable.

• Investigating the value of an ecosystem and the ways and means that interaction of ecological systems provide benefit to humans, especially in the provision of healthy water.

Ecosystems have become particularly important politically, since the Convention on Biological Diversity - ratified by more than 175 countries -defines «the protection of ecosystems, natural habitats and the maintenance of viable populations of species in natural surroundings* as one of the binding commitments of the ratifying countries. This has created the political necessity to spatially identify ecosystems and somehow distinguish among them. The CBD defines an «ecosystem» as a «dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit».

For this purpose, ecosystems can be characterized and mapped as physiognomic ecological units, originally developed for vegetation classification. Each vegetation structure reflects ecological conditions. Each ecosystem thus defined, hosts assemblages of species with survival strategies that can survive under its conditions. This is not only true for plant species, but for all species, flora, fauna and fungi alike, as each species responds to the characteristic ecological conditions of each location. This principle allows us to map ecosystems using the UNESCO physiognomic ecological classification system, the Land Cover Classification Systems (LCCS) developed by the FAO and the United States National Vegetation Classification system (USNVC). The size and scale of an ecosystem can vary widely. It may be a whole forest, a community of bacteria and algae in a drop of water, or even the geobiosphere itself. As most of these borders are not rigid, ecosystems tend to blend into

each other. As a result, the whole earth can be seen as a single ecosystem, while a lake can be divided into several ecosystems, depending on the scale used.

Early conceptions of this unit showed a structured functional unit in equilibrium of energy and matter flows between its constituent elements. Others

considered this vision limited, and preferred to understand an ecosystem in

terms of cybernetics. From this point of view an ecological system is

functional dynamic organization, or what was also called «steady*state».

Study state is understood as the phase of an ecological system's evolution when the organisms are «balanced» with each other and their environment. This balance is achieved or «regulated» through various types of interactions, such as predation parasitism, mutualism, commensalism, competition, and

amensalism. Introduction of new elements, whether abiotic or biotic, into

an ecosystem tend to have a disruptive effect. In some cases, this can lead

to ecological collapse and the death of many native species. The branch

of ecology that gave rise to this view has become known as systems ecology. Under this deterministic vision, the abstract notion of ecological health attempts to measure the robustness and recovery capacity for an ecosystem; that is, how far the ecosystem is away from steady state.

Ecosystems are often classified by reference to the biotopes concerned. The following ecosystems may be defined:

• As continental ecosystems, such as forest ecosystems, meadow ecosystems such as steppes or savannas), or agro-ecosystems

• As ecosystems of inland waters, such as lentic ecosystems such as lakes of ponds; or lotic ecosystems such as rivers

• As oceanic ecosystems.

Another classification can be done by reference to its communities, such as in the case of a human ecosystem.



$$$003-006-001$ Методические указания к практическому занятию №6

{Цель занятия, методические указания к выполнению практического задания, примеры расчетов и задач}

Give Russian equivalents of the following expressions:

biotic; abiotic; rainfall; nutrient supplies; fungi; population; food chain; entity; primary consumer; steady state; predation; mutualism; ecological collapse; to share resources; to compose; pond; to apply; abstract notion; ecological health; to measure the robustness and recovery capacity; to attempt; meadow; steppe; lentic; lotic.



$$$003-006-002$ Задания или тестовые вопросы для контроля к занятию №6

{Задания или тесты (при необходимости указать ключ для выбора варианта)}

Answer these questions.

1. What are main components of all ecosystems?

2. What size units can the concept of an ecosystem be applied to?

3. How have ecosystems gained political importance?

4. Can an ecological system be called a steady state? Why?



$$$003-007-000$3.3.7 Практическое занятие №7

{Тема, план занятия}

Types of Ecosystems

Aquatic Ecosystem

An aquatic ecosystem is an ecosystem located in a body of water. Communities of organisms that are dependent on each other and on their environment live in aquatic ecosystems. The two main types of aquatic ecosystems are marine ecosystems and freshwater ecosystems.

Types of Aquatic Ecosystems

Aquatic ecosystems can be divided into two general types: marine ecosystems and freshwater ecosystems.

Marine Ecosystems

Marine ecosystems cover approximately 71 % of the Earth's surface and contain approximately 97 % of the planet's water. They generate 32 % of the world's net primary production. They are distinguished from freshwater ecosystems by the presence of dissolved compounds, especially salts, in the water. Approximately 85 % of the dissolved materials in seawater are sodium and chlorine. Seawater has an average salinity of 35 parts per thousand (ppt) of water. Actual salinity varies among different marine ecosystems.

Marine ecosystems can be divided into the following zones: oceanic (the relatively shallow part of the ocean that lies over the continental shelf); profundal (bottom or deep water); benthic (bottom substrates); intertidal ( the area between high and low tides); estuaries; salt marshes; coral reefs; and hydro thermal vents (where chemosynthetic sulphur bacteria form the food base).

Classes of organisms found in marine ecosystems include brown algae, dinoflagellates, corals, cephalopods, echinoderms, and sharks. Fish caught in marine ecosystems are the biggest source of commercial foods obtained

from wild populations. Environmental problems concerning marine ecosystems include unsustainable exploitation of marine resources (for example overfishing of certain species), water pollution, and building on coastal areas.

Freshwater Ecosystems

Freshwater ecosystems cover 0,8 % of the Earth's surface and contain 0,009 % of its total water. They generate nearly 3 % of its net primary production. Freshwater ecosystems contain 41 % of the world's known fish species. There are three basic types of freshwater ecosystems:

• Lentic: slow-moving water, including pools, ponds, and lakes.

• Lotic: rapidly-moving water, for example streams and rivers.

• Wetlands: areas where the soil is saturated or inundated for at least part of the time. Lake ecosystems can be divided into zones: pelagic (open offshore waters);

profundal; littoral (nearshore shallow waters); and riparian (where the lake meets the sea). Two important subclasses of lakes are ponds, which typically are small lakes that intergrade with wetlands, and reservoirs. Many lakes, or bays within them, gradually become enriched by nutrients and fill in with organic sediments, a process called eutrophication. Eutrophication is accelerated by human activity within the catchment area of the lake.

The major zones in river ecosystems are determined by the river bed's gradient or by the velocity of the current. Faster moving turbulent water typically contains greater concentrations of dissolved oxygen, which supports greater biodiversity than the slow moving water of pools. The food base of streams within riparian forests is mostly derived from the trees, but wider streams and those that lack a canopy derive the majority of their food base from algae. Anadromous fish are

also an important source of nutrients. Environmental threats to rivers include loss of water, dams, chemical pollution and introduced species.

Wetlands are dominated by vascular plants that have adapted to saturated soil. Wetlands are the most productive natural ecosystems because of the proximity of water and soil. Due to their productivity, wetlands are often converted into dry land with dikes and drains and used for agricultural purposes. Their closeness to lakes and rivers means that they are often developed for human settlement.

Wetlands are the interface between dry or terrestrial habitats and aquatic environments including streams, lakes and seas. Around the Great Lakes they take four basic forms. Swamps are a cross between forest and aquatic ecosystems, inhabited by woody species: conifers, hardwoods or shrubs. Bogs are characterized by acidic, peaty soils with little water movement and feature flora such as blueberries, orchids and carnivorous plants. Fens are similar to bogs, but with more water movement their soils are less acidic. The dominant plants are sedges and low shrubs.

Wetlands are important because they act as natural sponges, absorbing water so it moves more slowly through the system This prevents flooding and shoreline erosion. In the 19th Century people thought that anything obstructing rivers would increase flooding, so they frequently removed islands and wetlands to let water move more readily through urban areas. Such practices actually increased the problem More recently some cities have begun to let wetlands regenerate. Wetland construction is commonly a part of housing developments, though often at the expense of more complex pre-existing natural habitats.

Wetlands are also well-designed to filter out pollution, particularly nitrogen and phosphorous. They are also useful for removing heavy metals. Industries are experimenting with constructing wetlands for this purpose.

Meanwhile wetlands exceed other temperate habitats in that they produce as much oxygen, per area, as tropical rainforest.

Besides, wetlands provide a natural nursery for many species of native plants and wildlife. More than 40 species of birds nest in Point Pelee's marsh and 66 species of dragonflies and damselflies breed there. These habitats also provide a major food source for humans and animals. They also offer recreation in the form of canoeing, birdwatching and fishing.

Pond Ecosystem

This is a specific type of freshwater ecosystem that is largely based on the autotrophic algae which provide the base trophic level for all life in the area. The largest predator in a pond ecosystem will normally be a fish and in-between range smaller insects and microorganisms. It may have ascale of organisms from small bacteria to big creatures like water snakes, beetles, water bugs, and turtles.

Functions of Aquatic Ecosystems

Aquatic ecosystems perform many important environmental functions. For example, they recycle nutrients, purify water, attenuate floods, recharge ground water and provide habitats for wildlife. Aquatic ecosystems are also used for human recreation,and are very important to the tourism industry, especially in coastal regions.

The health of an aquatic ecosystem is degraded when the ecosystem's ability to absorb a stress has been exceeded. A stress on an aquatic ecosystem can be a result physical, chemical of biological alterations of the environment. Physical alternations include changes in water temperature,water flow and light availability. Chemical alterations include changes in the loading rates of bio stimulatory nutrients, oxygen consuming materials, and toxins. Biological alterations include the introduction of exotic species. Human populations can impose excessive stresses on aquatic ecosystems.



$$$003-007-001$ Методические указания к практическому занятию №7

{Цель занятия, методические указания к выполнению практического задания, примеры расчетов и задач}

Answer these questions.

1. What does the term «aquatic ecosystem" mean?

2. What types of aquatic ecosystems do you know? Characterize briefly each one, pointing the difference between them out.

3. What percentage of the Earth's surface does each of the ecosystems cover?

4. Name the zones of marine ecosystems and classes of organisms found there.

5. Do marine ecosystems have any environmental problems? Prove youi statement.

6. What types can freshwater ecosystems be divided into?


$$$003-007-002$ Задания или тестовые вопросы для контроля к занятию №7

{Задания или тесты (при необходимости указать ключ для выбора варианта)}

Give Russian equivalents of the following words and word combinations:

Freshwater primary production dissolved compounds

Continental shelf Salinity benthic

Marsh saturated soil unsustainable

Exploitation pelagic wetland

Littoral riparian sediments

Velocity canopy proximity

Vascular plants attenuate raw materials



$$$003-008-000$3.3.8 Практическое занятие №8

{Тема, план занятия}

Modern Ecological Theory and Research

Ecology's Influence in the Social Sciences and Humanities Human Ecology

Human ecology began in the 1920s, through the study of changes in vegetation succession in the city of Chicago. It became a distinct field of study in the 1970s. This marked the first recognition that humans, who had colonized all of the Earth's continents, were a major ecological factor. Humans greatly modify the environment through the development of the habitat (in particular urban planning), by intensive exploitation activities such as logging and fishing, and as side effects of agriculture, mining, and industry. Besides ecology and biology, this discipline involved many other natural and social sciences, such as anthropology and ethnology, economics, demography, architecture and urban planning, medicine and psychology, and many more. The development of human ecology led to the increasing role of ecological science in the design and management of cities.

In recent years human ecology has been a topic that has interested organizational researchers. Hannan and Freeman argue that organizations do not only adapt to an environment. Instead it is also the environment that selects or rejects populations of organizations. In any given environment (in equilibrium) there will only be one form of organization (isomorphism). Organizational ecology has been a prominent theory in accounting for diversities of organizations and their changing composition over time.

James Lovelock and the Gaia Hypothesis

The Gaia theory, proposed by James Lovelock, in his work «Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth», advanced the view that the Earth should be regarded as a single living macro-organism. In particular, it argued that the ensemble of living organisms has jointly evolved an ability to control the global environment — by influencing major physical parameters as the composition of th atmosphere, the evaporation rate, the chemistry of soils and oceans — so as maintain conditions favorable to life.

This vision was largely a sign of the times, in particular the growing perception after the Second World War that human activities such as nuclear energy, industrialization, pollution, and overexploitation of natural resources, fueled by exponential population growth, were threatening to create catastrophes on a planetary scale. Thus Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis, while controversial among scientists, was embraced by many environmental movements as an inspiring view: their Earth-mother, Gaia, was «becoming sick from humans and their activities".

Conservation and Environmental Movements

Since the 19th century, environmentalists and other conservationists have used ecology and other sciences (e.g., climatology) to support their advocacy positions. Environmentalist views are often controversial for political or economic reasons. As a result, some scientific work in ecology directly influences policy and political debate; these in turn often direct ecological research.

Ecology and Global Policy

Ecology became a central part of the World's politics as early as 1971, UNESCO launched a research program called Man and Biosphere, with the objective of increasing knowledge about the mutual relationship between humans and nature. A few years later it defined the concept of Biosphere Reserve.

In 1972, the United Nations held the first international conference on the human environment in Stockholm, prepared by Rene Dubos and other experts. This conference was the origin of the phrase «Think Globally, Act Locally*. The next major events in ecology were the development of the concept of biosphere and the appearance of terms «biological diversity* — or now more commonly biodiversity — in the 1980s. These terms were developed during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, where the concept of the biosphere was recognized by the major international organizations, and risks associated with reductions in biodiversity were publicly acknowledged.

Then, in 1997, the dangers the biosphere was facing were recognized from an international point of view at the conference leading to the Kyoto Protocol. In particular, this conference highlighted the increasing dangers of the greenhouse effect — related to the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, leading to global changes in climate. In Kyoto, most of the world's nations recognized the importance of looking at ecology from a global point of view, on a worldwide scale, and to take into account the impact of humans on the Earth's environment.



$$$003-008-001$ Методические указания к практическому занятию №8

{Цель занятия, методические указания к выполнению практического задания, примеры расчетов и задач}

Answer these questions.

1. When was human impact on the environment first recognized?

2. How do humans modify their environment?

3. What was the result of the human ecology development?

4. When did the term «biodiversity» appear and was recognized?

5. What increasing dangers for the biosphere were acknowledged in 1997?


$$$003-008-002$ Задания или тестовые вопросы для контроля к занятию №8

{Задания или тесты (при необходимости указать ключ для выбора варианта)}

Find in the text English equivalents of the following words and expressions. Translate the sentences which contain them.

1) вырубка леса; 2) побочный эффект: 3) утверждать, приводить аргументы; 4) отвергать; 5) баланс, равновесие; 6) группа, множество; 7) осознание, понимание; 8) противоречивый; 9) цель; 10) в мировом масштабе; 11) принимать во внимание, в расчет.



$$$003-009-000$3.3.9 Практическое занятие №9

{Тема, план занятия}

Divisions of ecology: autecology, demecology, synecology, global ecology


In accordance with the above levels of organization of life, ecology is divided into autecology, demecology and synecology. If an individual organism is studied, its individual relations with the environment, vital functions and behavior, it is taken as if isolated from other components of the system and is considered to be out of the system (aut means out).Thus, autecology studies interaction of a particular organism with the environment. Sometimes autecology is given a somewhat broader view, including into its objectives the study of particular groups of organisms of the same species. An integrated study of 'groups of organisms that make up certain unity" is the subject of synecology, (from Greek. syn means together) and demecology is a population ecology.

In addition, ecology is classified by particular objects and environments of study. For example, there are human ecology and ecology of animals, plant ecology, microbial ecology, etc. (See Figure 1.).


Figure 1: Classification of branches of ecology

In its turn, all these groups can be studied at the level of an individual or the population or can be studied in water, soil, atmosphere, in outer space. Living organisms inhabit tropical, temperate and polar zones, they live in natural, altered or man-made communities, and in contaminated environments. Currently the environmental studies which relate to pollution of the environment are significantly evolving. Figure 2 shows another classification of branches of ecology.

     Currently, the following new branches of ecology have become widespread

Global Ecology - the study of interaction with the environment of the biosphere (complex of natural communities).

Human ecology - the study of interaction of the natural and social environment. In other words, human ecology is a complex discipline that studies general laws of interrelations of the biosphere and anthropogenic system (structural levels of humanity, its groups and individuals), the influence of the environment (in some cases the social environment as well) on individuals and groups of people.

Social ecology - the study of the interaction of human society with the natural environment.

Urban ecology (Ecology of the city) - the study of the structure and functioning of urban ecosystems and the interaction of humans and the urban environment.

Engineering ecology - the study of the ways and means to overcome the destruction of the natural environment by public production.

All branches of ecology are based on general (classic) ecology. Ecology as a science is based on different branches of biology (physiology, genetics, biophysics), is connected with non-biological sciences (physics, chemistry, geology, geography, mathematics, etc.), and which methods, concepts and terms serve as a basement for environmental studies. Therefore, in the recent years new ecological concepts have appeared such as "geographical ecology", "global ecology" (or ecology as applied to the biosphere of the Earth), "Chemical Ecology", "Mathematical Ecology", etc.

At present people have exploited not only the near Earth space, but also sufficiently far outer space. This fact raises a number of entirely new problems that are the subject of anthropology of space, closely related to medical ecology.

Humans and machines also have complex and diversified relations in the conditions of industrial plants, where peculiar modes of temperature, noise, light and other ecological factors take place. The science of interaction between a man and machines is called ergonomics, and it is a part of occupational safety.

It is obvious from the above definitions, that objectives of ecology as a science are diversified:

1. Study of patterns of organization of life, including their relation to anthropogenic impacts on natural ecosystems and biosphere as a whole;

2. Establishing a scientific basis for the rational use of biological resources, forecasting environmental changes by human activities and management processes in the biosphere, and preservation of the human environment;

3. Regulation of populations;

4. Development of measures to ensure a minimum use of chemical control agents against harmful species;

5. Environmental indication in determining the properties of landscape components and elements, including the indication of environmental pollution;

6. Restoration of damaged natural systems, including reclamation of obsolete agricultural lands, restoration of grasslands, fertility of depleted soils, productivity of water reservoirs, etc.;

7. Transition from hunting to farming;

8. Preservation (conservation) of standard natural zones of the biosphere.

In recent years a new concept of the environmental security has been formed that combines ecological security of the society and environmental security of a person in the presence of environmental pollution that affects health and gene pool of both society and an individual.

It should be emphasized that ecology as a whole including biological (classical), global, social, and human ecology, is a worldview, synthetic field of study that integrates natural sciences and the humanities knowledge, human behavior in relation to nature and their health is largely determined by economic and religious considerations and interests.

              Thus, ecology is a science that studies the laws of behavior of organic life (in all its forms, at all levels of integration) in their natural habitat subject to any changes made ​​to the environment by human activities.


$$$003-009-001$ Методические указания к практическому занятию №9

{Цель занятия, методические указания к выполнению практического задания, примеры расчетов и задач}

questions for self-control

 1.       Who is the author of the term "ecology"?

2.In what year the term "ecology" was offered

3. What divisions of ecology do you know?

4.  What division of ecology has a task to study the structure and dynamics of populations of individual species?

$$$003-009-002$ Задания или тестовые вопросы для контроля к занятию №9

{Задания или тесты (при необходимости указать ключ для выбора варианта)}

Find in the text English equivalents of the following words and expressions. Translate the sentences which contain them.

  1. Аутэкология; 2. Антропогенный фактор; 3. Биоресурсы; 4. Направления экологии; 5. Поведение; 6. Окружающая среда.


$$$003-010-000$3.3.10 Практическое занятие №10

{Тема, план занятия}

Organism and the environment


     No living organism can exist without certain factors of the surrounding environment. Therefore it is necessary to distinguish between such concepts as "natural habitat" and "living conditions."                                   

Under the habitat it is usually meant natural bodies and phenomena with which the organism (organisms) is in direct or indirect interaction. The habitat of each organism is composed of a number of elements of inorganic and organic nature, and of the elements brought by a man, his productive activity. Moreover, some elements of the environment may be necessary for the organism, while others are indifferent to him, for example, each of us needs air and food, and it's not obligatory to have a cabinet at the wall.

The definition of "living conditions", or the conditions of life follows from this example - this is a collection of essential life elements that make up a dialectical unity with the organism.

Conclusion: The components of the environment necessary for life are air, food, energy and they make the living conditions, all other elements form the habitat.

Habitat -this is that part of nature that surrounds a living organism, and with which it is directly interacting. Components and properties of the environment are various and changeable. Any living being lives in a complex, changing world, constantly adapting to it and adjusting its living activity to its changes. Along with the term "habitat" some other terms can be used such as "ecological environment", "habitat area", "natural environment", "surrounding nature', etc. There are no clear distinctions between these terms.

Individual properties or elements of the environment influencing organisms are called environmental factors. There are various environmental factors. They may be necessary or, conversely, harmful to living organisms, they can facilitate or hinder their survival and reproduction.

Individual properties or elements of the environment effecting organisms are called ecological factors. There are various environmental factors. They may be necessary or, conversely, harmful to living things, facilitate or hinder the survival and reproduction.

Environmental factors are of different nature and specificity of action. Among them are the abiotic and biotic, anthropogenic.


$$$003-010-001$ Методические указания к практическому занятию №10

{Цель занятия, методические указания к выполнению практического задания, примеры расчетов и задач}

Questions for self-control

  1. What is the habitat?

  2. How are Individual properties or elements called?

  3. How can you tell about the abiotic, biotic and anthropogenic factors.


$$$003-010-002$ Задания или тестовые вопросы для контроля к занятию №10

{Задания или тесты (при необходимости указать ключ для выбора варианта)}

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