Ecology Project By:amanda, Sabina And Kiera

What Is Ecology

Ecology is the study of organisms and their relationships This includes abiotic and biotic factors. Abiotic factors are nonliving factors such as water, air, sunlight and minerals. Biotic factors are living organisms that are found in the biosphere, these organisms include animals, fungi, and plants.

Abiotic and biotic components form 4 parts of the world: the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, Ecology includes higher levels, starting from the organism, population, community, ecosystem and biosphere.

What Human Activities Affect the Ecosystem?

  1. Mining- taking away habitats by contamination and damages levels of the food chain.
  2. Burning fossil fuels- contributes to greenhouse gases and increasing the Greenhouse Effect.
  3. Air Pollution- harmful substances released in the air causing diseases and infections.
  4. Overfishing- overexploiting the fish population, causing a disturbance in the oceanic food chain.
  5. Deforestation- Clearing forest habitats; ruins homes for biomes in which trees are dominant, forcing animals to find a new habitat, depletes soil.
  6. Urban Sprawl and Land Consumption- Rapid spread of urbanization, which also is taking up our Green Belt in Canada.
  7. Water pollution- contamination of water resulting in the breakdown of aquatic habitats and the exposure of harmful chemicals to aquatic organisms.

Government Initiatives/Prevention On Oil Spills for Ecosystem Protection

  • The government has laws in place to regulate the oil mining industry.
  • The government of Canada's Oceans Protection Plan helps preserve and restore marine aquatic ecosystems.
  • Protecting marine animals from shipping and pollution will locate and track mammals
  • The government of Canada will help Coastal ecosystems to have better monitoring on clean ups.
  • Another solution to clean up oil spills in the water is by containing it in an underwater dome.
  • Mushrooms and hair are effective ways to soak up the oil spill.
  • Dispersant Chemicals are used to reduce damage by the oil floating in the oceans by breaking the oil slicks into droplets, which will then biodegrade. This method is used in large spills of oil and reduces marine life and environmental effects as helicopters and aircrafts are used to apply this method to the sea.
  • Bioaugmentation is a processes that is used in salt and fresh water to dilute the waste such as oil and raw sewage. Microbes are then added to the water to consume the waste.
  • Biostimulation is when microbes to work efficiently which has to have enough nitrogen, carbon and phosphorous which this process will completely work.
  • One rapid method on the spot is mechanical skimmers, that can remove massive amounts of oil which then stores into a storage vessel, there are very efficient on thick oil slicks.
  • Oil sands companies are responsible for monitoring the amount of oil is effecting the ecosystems, by different levels of government.
  • Federal- Looks for oil sand development proposals is co-organized with Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA)
  • Provincial- Alberta environment and parks minimize the impact of oil sands on air, water and land.
  • The canadian government is having a budget of 1.5 billion dollars for the ocean protection plan because of the causes of oil spills and fuel spills in the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. This is a 5 year plan which will include a protecting marine safety system and research into oil spill cleanup methods..

How Humans Affect Ecosystems

  • Deforestation causes animals that live in trees to lose homes (birds, squirrel, chipmunk etc.)
  • After animals lose their habitats humans tend to hunt and kill the animals.
  • Over hunting leads to extinction.
  • When animals become extinct the food chain is affected.
  • The prey of the animal that’s extinct begins to inflate.
  • The animal that's not being hunted becomes invasive because their is no prey or not enough prey to hunt the invasive creature.
  • Digging a large spot of ground and all the animals that live underground and where plants and vegetation get nutrients from the darker, deeper layers leaving other vegetation to have nothing to live off.
  • The fresh water leaks into the mines and gets contaminated by the oil and dirt particles.
  • When we transport oil there is a risk of it spilling and contaminating aquamarine ecosystems and kill a lots of biotic creatures destroying the food chain/ food web.

The Oil Extraction Process

The Oil Extraction Process via Oil Sands

  • All Wetlands need to be drained and rivers redirected.
  • Trees and its soil must be bulldozed to expose the ground.
  • The top layer of sand is shoveled and brought to an extraction factory (Sans can burn to 16,000 liters of diesel a day)
  • The sand is processed at high heat and sent to a oil refinery through a pipeline.

The Oil Extraction Process Via Oil And Natural Gas

  • After hole is drilled and oil well is built, there are 3 recovering types to extract the oil.
  1. Primary Recovery- Relies on Underground Pressure to bring fluids to the surface.
  • When pressure decreases pumps are used to bring more fluides to the surface.
  • 10% for the surface.
  • Often used in Facilities.

2. Secondary Recovery- Mostly Widely used technique

  • The Water they produced in the initial phase of drilling is then separated from the oil.
  • Injected into the Well to bring more Oil in the surface
  • Disposes waste water
  • Can bring 20% to the surface

3. Enhanced Recovery

  • Used to bring the remaining oil to the surface
  • Can bring 60% of the oil in the reservoir to the surface.
  • there is 3 methods
  • Thermal Recovery is injects steam into the Well to increase oil flow and increases pressure.
  • Gas injections uses gases that form homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures with Oil
  • Homogenous gases dissolved carbon dioxide, propane and methane in the Oil to improve flow by lowering viscosity.
  • Heterogeneous gases increase the pressure in the gas cap in the reservoir to bring additional oil upwards.
  • Chemical Flooding- mixes water soluble materials and injects it into the reservoir to push oil into the well.


  • Form of oil and natural gas extraction.
  • Short term for Hydraulic fracturing.
  • Pumps gallons of pressurized and chemically treated water deep into sedimentary rock formation (shale formations.)
  • Creates cracks in the rocks, releasing oil and gas into man-made wells.

Oil Extraction Techniques Affecting The Ecosystem.

Oil Drilling

  • Oil drilling affects wildlife immensely this is because it affects to noise pollution, when animals indignity noise disturbances, they react negativity which is by miscommunication, and roadkills.
  • Some animals won't populate its previous habitat once it is disturbed by humans.
  • Oil drilling includes potential oil spills on land and drilling sites.
  • Fluids needed it to inject into the well are supposed to be recaptured into pits for disposal but are often spilled around the well.
  • Oil drilling affects the environment by changing the landscape.
  • Development of Oil wells strips vegetation and increases erosion (can lead to flooding)
  • Oil drilling contributes to climate change by releasing methane which contributes to the greenhouse gas emissions.


  • Fracking raises concerns about the water supply.
  • One well can require at least 200,000 liters of water or several millions for shale formations.
  • Can lead to continuations of the water supply due to spills and well construction, this affects the aquatic habitats by introducing foreign chemicals into water.
  • Chemicals needed to treat water for fracking include Benzene and Radium.

Oil Sands

  • Underneath The boreal Forest is the third largest oil reserved in the world
  • Canadian oil companies have clear cut part of the boreal forest decreasing wildlife habitats and disrupting the ecosystem.
  • Clear cutting also releases stored carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and contributes to global warming.

Oil spills

  • Oil spills damage beaches, wetlands and aquatic ecosystems.
  • The oil covers every rock and grain of sand it encounters.
  • If oil reaches wetlands, plants will observe the oil which damages the entire habitat.
  • Some oil will eventually sink underneath the surface of the water which can kill and contaminate fish and small organisms that are important parts for the smaller food chain.
  • It also affects and kills birds that swim and dive for their food.
  • They get covered with oil and they weigh heavier which impacts for them to fly.
  • Oil affects their feathers, which is their natural way for installation and waterproofing. This exposes to hypothermia and overheating.
  • Birds will try to clean the oil from the body and therefore ingesting the oil which damages their organs.
  • In example is the Exxon Valdez which killed half of millions of birds.
  • Oil spills density breeding grounds example includes sea turtles.
  • They lay the eggs on the beach which can become invaded by oil spills, Thus poisoning the developing eggs or newly hatched turtles trying to reach the ocean again.

Keystone Pipeline

  • The pipeline idea was to enforce energy security and also the economical benefits.
  • The pipeline would have affected wetlands and reserves.
  • A controversial oil pipeline system that runs through Canada and United States.
  • Barack Obama was disputed debating how the Keystone Pipeline was going to affect the climate change as well as he rejected it because it would undercut American leadership and have a depended load on carbon energy.
  • However,Donald Trump disagree about the rejection of the pipeline because his opinion on Barack Obama's environmental policies was a threat to the economic impact as well as he doesn't believe in climate change which many environmentalists fear that Donald Trump is proving to be a dangerous threat to the climate.
  • The pipeline route will travel through earthquake known areas which can potentially result in land oil spills and pipe failures.
  • Oil Sands are highly corrosive which increases the probability of erosion and pipe failure. Oil is also more dense than water which means the cleanup will be difficult.
  • From Canada Alberta to America, Keystone pipeline would carry 800,000 barrels a day from the Canada oil sands to the Gulf coast.
  • Keystone Pipeline will create jobs approximately 42,000 jobs for 2 years but only 35 permanent jobs.
  • Keystone pipeline will create 1 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in US.
  • The pipeline would be made in the US with the materials as steel.
  • TransCanada a partnership with US had already spend 2.5 billion dollars for the Keystone Pipeline where it was first started in the 2008.
  • The pipeline would transport oil from tar sands, where the tar sands are heated and then proceed, after collected from extracting the oil sands it requires more energy and causes greenhouse gasses.
  • The pipeline would contribute to climate change because Canada's tar sands would threatens to wetlands and tar sands requires more energy than oil drilling.

Invasive species

  • Invasive species are animals/organisms that aren't native to a place that can cause problems in the ecosystem.
  • Zebra mussels are overtaking beaches, oceans, and rivers.
  • Invasive species are the 2nd leading cause of habitat destruction.
  • Ways invasive species can be introduced to a new habitat are: shipping vessels and containers, recreational and commercial boating, movement and release of live bait, aquarium and water garden trade, live food fish trade, unauthorized introductions, man-made canals, seed mixtures, wildlife, livestock, humans and pets, increased international, national and regional travel and trade, firewood.

Food Chain

  • Food chain is how ecosystems keep all components in control and prevents things from becoming invasive.
  • The food chain needs decomposers, producers, consumers (carnivores, omnivores and herbivores).
  • Producers are plants, moss, trees etc.
  • Producers produce their own food because they use water, oxygen, sun.
  • Decomposers are the bacteria and fungi.
  • Decomposers eat dead things and break down organic compounds.
  • Consumers are the animals that eat either plants (herbivore) other animals (carnivore) or both animals and plants (omnivore).
  • Apex predator is the top of the food chain, predators hunt their prey which is usually anything lower than them in the food chain.
  • When the apex predator dies the prey and predator population rapidly expands then becomes scarce.
  • Because the predator young will be able to grow older and hunt more prey and food becomes scarce.
  • This can also destroy the entire food chain.
  • When animals become extinct the food chain is affected.
  • The prey of the animal that’s extinct begins to inflate.
  • The animal that's not being hunted becomes invasive because their is no prey or not enough prey to hunt the invasive creature.
  • A food chain is similar to a food web but a food chain is more intricate and shows more relationships.
  • Food webs show the process of passing energy through biotic levels.
  • Plants make their energy with water, sun, oxygen to make glucose (photosynthesis) to create their food and energy.
  • Herbivores gain energy from eating plants only and are the second trophic level.
  • Animals that eat herbivores are the third trophic level.
  • Animals that eat both level are the highest trophic level.
  • Limiting factors are affecting the population of some species within the ecosystem.

Oil sands (tar sands)

  • Tar sands are affecting the wildlife which is also disrupting the food chain.
  • It affects mostly in the areas in the Boreal forest where mostly oil drilling occurs in that area.
  • Animals are getting affected by being poison which also is affecting human beings and where the indigenous communities are more prone to because of them living near the Boreal Forest.
  • The boreal forest most famous species include the Canadian lynx, Walleye and the Brown Creeper which are becoming endangered because of deforestation that causes need for more land to drill on to extract tar sands.
  • Migrating birds also are a victims from oil spills by being killed in tailing ponds which are manmade containers that are made from water which gets contingent with tar sand pollutants. However in a bird's eye view is that if a tailing pond is seen they think it's a perfect place to mind but the water is contaminated with full toxins resulting the birds to have a painful slow death.
  • In the Boreal forest about 130 bird species are endangered because of tar sands, deforestation and oil drilling.
  • Tar sands affects the aquatic lifestyle, this is because tar sands requires gallons of water, for example about 3 barrels of water is required for every oil.
  • The water resources comes from rivers and lake, and taking large amounts of water immensely affects on the aquatic life
  • fun fact about 172 gallons of water is extracted every year.
  • A Lot of the water is polluted which is stored in tailing ponds. It is estimated about 85 percent of the water has toxics which immensely affects the food chain causing massive death populations.
  • Tar sands poison the water by releasing chemicals in the rivers and lakes, which evidence is shown that tailing ponds leak millions of polluted water every day.
  • Thus 4000 million of toxins are into the ecosystems, affecting the aquatic species by having a huge amount of death tolls in their species population, for example studies have proven that fish have been diagnosed with tumors.
  • Tar sands have impacted in the social aspect because one specific community of people have been affected which are the indigenous people who live near the Boreal Forest. They experienced extreme air pollution, water pollution and food poisoning, resulting a high rate of cancer among the community.
  • Other toxins have been found in the wildlife/food such as mercury, arsenic and hydrocarbons which caused the community to leave their healthy natural organic food diets. Which they had to switch their diets and that consequently affected their health.

Oil Spills

  • Oil spills affect the marine wildlife and terrestrial wildlife. One species is immensely affected which are fish eggs, that alters the entire fish population and life cycle.
  • The ocean's food chain is dependent on all levels starting in the lowest level which is the phytoplankton, they live in the marshes and obtain nutrients such as marshes, water and sunlight which then carbon dioxide is converted into oxygen and that is strongly essential in the aquatic food chain. They are responsible for oxygenating the water, and providing nourishment to many of the sea creatures who are higher in the food chain as some marine animals are dependent on the phytoplankton as a primary food resource. Animals such as shrimp depend on them. However, if phytoplankton are poisoned, those predators who eat the poisoned phytoplankton will also be affected, which also the other animal who ate the affected one will also be harmed resulting it to be full cycle of harming marine species.
  • Oil can harm animals by consumption, an example of this is birds whose wings are polluted with oil could be consumed by a predator and could suffer from ulcers and internal bleeding.
  • Oil can be absorbed in the fish's fatty tissues causing biomagnification(process in which a contaminant increases in concentration in the tissues of an organism as it travels through the food chain.)
  • Since oil floats on water, animals that live near the surface of the ocean suffer more impact
  • Sea otters can be easily coated in oil, which impacts their ability to maintain their body warmth
  • Sea otters are keystone predators because they feed on sea urchins (which limit the habitat’s kelp supply). With a decrease in the sea otter population, the sea urchins will have less predators feeding on them and their population will grow. This will result in more sea urchins feeding on kelp, limiting the availability of kelp to the other organisms.
  • If oil spills reach the beach and stay there for a prolonged amount of time, terrestrial organisms are affected as well.
  • About 74 species have been endangered because of oil spills.
  • Physical oil can affect fishes and birds by blocking their air passageway causing suffocation, digestive problems and causes damage on feathers and fur. As well oil affects the species by starvation that affects the other species in the food chain starting with the smaller marine species.

Oil spills also affect the coral reefs this is because exposing small amount of oil can become very harmful, this is by having 3 major ways that have contact which is

1. Oil floating into the water can have direct contact to the coral reefs, where the water would leave drops at low tide.

2.Sea water mixes in with oil and drifts down into the coral reefs.

3. Oil gets mixed with sand and sediments it can become dense and is enough to sink below and effect the coral reefs.

  • Once oil comes into contact with the coral reefs, it can kill them or change their behaviour, growth and development, it can affect the whole food chain affecting the aquatic species such as crabs, fish that depend or live near the coral reefs.
  • Oil spills effects humans health who work in the oil drilling industry, refining it or burning oil. Short term effects include nosebleeds, ear infections, asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis, digestive problems skin problems. Long term includes irregular bleeding cycles, miscarriages which would have early warning signs such as abdominal pain and irregular bleeding.
  • Oil also causes cancer, children most particular who live near oil refinery développé leukaemia or people who live near the oil drilling constriction develop stomach, bladder, and lung cancer. As well co instructors who work in the oil industry have a high risk of lip, stomach, liver, pancreas ,eye brain and blood cancer.
  • Oil spills affect the economic impact such as the recreational areas which would not be appealing for the tourists as well as property value could drop drastically where tourists/investor won't invest because of efficiency of the clean up. As well restaurants hotels can get affected and it takes months to years for tourists to com back to the area.
  • The fishing industry gets affected such as the contamination of boats and gear that catches the species as well as business are affected.


Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration.


  • Autotrophs are organisms that produce their own food through light or chemical energy. This includes plants and algae.
  • Heterotrophs organisms that can not produce their own food and must feed on other organisms to survive.
  • Photosynthesis is the process used by plants, algae and certain bacteria to harness energy from sunlight.
  • Photosynthesis allows plants to convert Carbon Dioxide and Water to form carbohydrates (c6h12o6)
  • Autotrophs are the basis of the food chain.
  • The second level of the food chain contain herbivores and omnivores.
  • By eating photosynthetic organisms, they obtain energy.
  • Carnivores will consume omnivores and herbivores and obtain their energy from them.

(insert diagram)

  • Photosynthesis formula 6CO2 + 12H2O + light energy = C6H12O6 + 6O2 + 6H2O.
  • The process of photosynthesis is split up into two sets of reactions.
  • The first series are light reactions, which occur in thylakoid membranes in chloroplasts. These reactions capture light energy.
  • The second series are called dark reactions, which occur in the stoma (space in the chloroplasts). These will synthesize sugars.
  • Water is absorbed by the roots and pulled up through the stem into the leaves.
  • Carbon dioxide enters the leaves through openings called stoma.
  • After sunlight is absorbed by chlorophyll pigments in the chloroplast, and water molecules will be split up into hydrogen, oxygen and two electrons.
  • The oxygen will exit the leaves through the stoma into the atmosphere.
  • The electrons released from earlier, will move through photosystem II and become more and more energized.
  • These electrons will be used to convert NADP into NADPH and the hydrogen ions will be pushed through ATP Synthase (from inside the thylakoid to the stoma) and produce ATP.
  • The second series, the Dark Reactions, also called the Calvin Cycle, will synthesize and assemble sugars for the plants.
  • Carbon dioxide will enter the Calvin cycle, and with the help of NADPH and ATP, will become reduced and turn the Calvin cycle three times.
  • After 3 turns of the Calvin Cycle, one G3P molecule is produced, which is turned into sugars for the plant.

The Importance of Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is very important because it provides food and oxygen, some glucose is stored in fruits and roots, and that is why we can eat veggies and fruits which also provides energy for humans and animals. Oxygen is produced through photosynthesis and then released in the atmosphere. Photosynthesis provides food and oxygen it is essential and is very impactful, most organisms including humans cannot survive without it. Photosynthesis is important for balancing oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, where plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen during the process of photosynthesis.

The Impact of Oil on Photosynthesis

  • Oil spill's effects because photosynthesis uses solar radiation to convert water and carbon dioxide into essential nutrients for plant lives. However Oil floats on the surface of the water blocking sunlight from reaching plants within the body of water. Spilled oil also has contact with the plants leaves where most of the work process occurs in the leaves which reduces or blocks sunlight into through the plants, as without sunlight photosynthesis can not be completed.
  • Oil spills also affects photosynthesis by reducing water quality, this is because it poisons the water, which increases bacteria and spreads into the ph water levels, the reduction of water quality can stress plants resulting the lack of photosynthesis.

Cellular Respiration

  • The process in which glucose and oxygen forms carbon dioxide, water, and energy in the form of ATP.
  • Cellular Respiration is split up into 3 processes.

1. Glycolysis- Glucose is broken down to form pyruvate, which is broken down into acetyl-coA for the Krebs Cycle.

2. The Krebs Cycle- acetyl-coA is used to turn the Krebs Cycle and generate ATP, NADPH, and FADH2.

3. The Electron Transport Chain- NADPH and FADH2 release hydrogen ions to the mitochondrial membrane.

  • The high concentration of H ions in the mitochondrial membrane will force them to enter the inner mitochondrial space through ATP Synthase (a motor pump).
  • This will generate ATP, which is used as energy in our body.

How Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration Are Related

  • Photosynthesis and cellular respiration are the same processes, but reversed.
  • In photosynthesis, we need light energy, carbon dioxide, and water to form sugars, water, and oxygen.
  • In cellular respiration, we use sugar (glucose) and oxygen to form ATP (energy), and carbon dioxide.
  • In the last process of cellular respiration (Electron Transport Chain), H ions are accumulated on the outside and pushed inside through ATP synthase.
  • In photosynthesis, H ions are accumulated inside and pushed outside of the thylakoid through ATP synthase.


  • Biosphere is all the places in the world that is occupied by living organisms.
  • The biosphere has exited about 3.5 billion years, the earliest years has been prokaryotes.
  • The prokaryotes is able to use sunlight to make sugar and oxygen out of water and carbon dioxide which this process is called photosynthesis. These was very life changing that it changed the biosphere as over the period of time the atmosphere developed other oxygens to form and sustain a new life.
  • With the help of oxygen in the biosphere it allowed more complex forms to evolve. Where many of millions species such as different plants and species develops. Animals which consume plants and animals involved. Bacteria and other species evolved to decompose and break down dead plants and animals.
  • The Biosphere also helps the food web, this is by it helps the remains of the dead plants and animals release nutrients into the soil and ocean. These nutrients are re-absorbed by growing plants as the exchange of food and energy makes a self support and self regulating system.
  • The biosphere includes:

The lithosphere

  • The lithosphere is cold hard rock on the planet's crust and has semi sold land underneath the crust and the liquid is near the center. The surface of the land is very uneven. The solid semi rock of the land is physically and chemically different, the outermost layer consists of soil rich in nutrients oxygen and silicon. Beneath the layer is a very thin, solid crust of oxygen and silicon. As well the center of the earth is solid iron and nickel inner core.


  • The atmosphere contains all earth's air, the upper portion of the atmosphere protects the organisms of the biosphere from the sun's radiation as well produces and absorbs heats. When air
  • temperature in the lower part is cooled or heated it moves around the planet.


  • The hydrosphere contains all the solid, liquid and gaseous water in the planet. A small portion of the water is fresh (non-salty). The water flows as presentation from the atmosphere down to the earth's surface such as rivers and streams along the surface and as groundwater beneath the earth's surface. Most of the Earth's water is frozen.
  • However 97 percent of the water is salty which is collected in deep valleys, this is also referred as oceans. Extremely high temperatures are found at the equator that causes water to turn into gas and evaporate, Extremely low temperatures are found in poles that cause water to freeze and turn into polar ice caps, glaciers and an iceberg.


  • The biosphere contains all the living organisms such as microorganisms, plants and animals of earth. In the biosphere, there are small communities called biomes which include the deserts, grasslands and tropical rainforests that are the 3 main types of many biomes in the world (biosphere).

Biosphere Part 2

The Importance of the Biosphere

  • The importance of the Biosphere is dependent on all communities of all species in the globe. The earth contains so many species because populations have been able to adapt to almost any kind of environment, as life has evolved for so many years, that it was able to survive the ocean depths, Antarctic conditions and the boiling weather in geysers. However recently the extion rate has been rapidly increasing.

How The Biosphere is Affected by the Oil Industry

Oil Spills for Hydrosphere

  • Oil spills affect the hydrosphere which is oceans,lakes,streams any body of water.
  • Oil causes leaks and spills where it is mostly consist of stormwater drainage from cities and farms and untreated waste disposal from factories and facilities.
  • Approximately 706 million gallons of waste oils enter the ocean every year.
  • Offshore oil spills occurs when oil is being produced from transportation or either through pipelines.
  • Oil would spread in the water primarily, the oil slick forms may remain cohesive.
  • Oil that reaches the shoreline or cost, affects the beaches,sand, gravel, rocks, vegetation in both wildlife and human causing erosion as well as contamination.
  • Long term effects on oil in the shore is weather effects and climate change.

Oil drilling for hydrosphere

  • Offshore drilling affects the hydrosphere because there is massive amount of sonic disturbances, where workers use their guns to send sound waves into the ocean. The sound bounces off the ocean floor as this disrupt the ocean animals such as dolphins and whales who use their communication skills to find food and water.
  • Oil drilling has created pollution in the aquatic, these include drilling muds, brine wastes, pipeline leaks.
  • Drilling muds are used for cooling of the drill and pipelines. These muds are removers of cuttings that come from the bottom oil well. All types of Drilling Muds releases toxins and chemicals in the oceans where between 70-100 oil drills are drilled and discharges about 90,000 metric tons of fluids and metal cuttings are released in the ocean.
  • Produced water is fluid trapped underground brought up with oil and gas. This takes up about 20 percent of waste combined with offshore drilling, as well as produced water has oil content of 30-40 million parts per million.

Oil Drilling FOr Lithosphere

Oil drilling impacting the environment includes is ground clearing, removal of vegetation, traffic, waste management.

Noise is a very huge concern in the lithosphere because of bulldozers, drill rigs, as these noises would be short but can be heard in a very long distances as this would disturb the residential areas for about 1-2 months.

Land use impacts oil drilling because there would be potential damage to the existing land such as educational, recreational, religious, scientific land uses. Resulting in a lot of traffic congestions, large amount of noises and a lot of dust which can affect people who have asthma.

Farmers would be affected by loss of livestock, increases on vehicles/livestock accidents and have a long term effect of the loss of timber.

Oil Sands For Atmosphere

  • Approximately there is about 176 tailing ponds holding waste from oil sands in Alberta, which the tailing ponds emitting high toxins and is causing cancer which continents into the air.
  • 1,609 kg of PAH is an oil toxic that are known to cause cancer to humans and animals, which are released from the oil tailings ponds into the atmosphere each year.
  • A health study shown that high PAH Levels from heavy metals, mercury selenium is founded in animals such as moose, duck and beavers in their kidneys and livers.


  • Burning oil is very harmful for the atmosphere because the smoke can cause respiratory problems and cause death.
  • Carbon monoxide can be produced by oil, which would smell and look odourless, colourless, and tasteless but very toxic resulting to headaches, nausea and dizziness.
  • Burning oil creates sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides in the air, when they combined acid rain is created and damages both land and sea.

Tar sands for Biosphere

  • Affecting human health such as increase of cancer. The study shows from Environmental and Human Health Implications Of Athabasca Oil Sands were founded in 23 cases of cancer studies from children and Adults.
  • Local fish has been exposed to mercury and arsenic
  • First Nations who eat natural organic food diets have been affected by poison.

General Biosphere

  • Groundwater would get contaminated because of poor well causing the increase of methane leaks or groundwater contamination, So it is very important is how well it is constructed and excused exceptionally.
  • Waste water can potentially be mishandled and this could cause contamination. As well Wastewater links into earthquakes that are usually small but could cause some damage.
  • Citizens who live near the oil and gas may exposed to air toxics such as benzene as well as gas emissions of smog forming pollutants that can cause respiratory illnesses.
  • Methane produced from gas and oil facilities contributes to global warming. Study shows that 10 million tons of methane emits into the atmosphere every year.

Biodiversity in the Biosphere

Definition of biodiversity

  • Biodiversity means the variety of life found in a place on earth, species richness is the capacity of how many species are in the area. Canadian Biodiversity's Included approximately 140,000 species all across canada, the most species we have is fungi, flowering plants, and insects, the least amount of species are coniferous plants, amphibians and reptiles.
  • The 4 spheres allow for species diversity because all of the spheres together compose one large unique whole system. Most organisms in each ecosystem are not restricted to one sphere such as turtles living in the hydrosphere but using the lithosphere to lay eggs. Energy flow also cycles through all of the spheres. For example, bears consume energy from fish. As well, organisms have many types of relationships with each other. This includes mutualistic relationships (where two organisms both benefit each other, ie. bees and flower pollination). Not one species is independent from another, they are all connected through the food chain. Each species has a role in a given ecosystem. With more species diversity, the greater variety of roles to sustain the biosphere are present. A healthy ecosystem is a diverse ecosystem. This allows the habitat to resist changes in the environment better and withstand natural disasters.
  • Canada has 15 terrestrial ecosystems and 5 aquatic ecosystems.
  • 5 aquatic ecosystems include Arctic Basin, Pacific, Atlantic,Northwest Atlantic, and Arctic Archipelago.
  • 15 terrestrial ecosystems include Arctic Cordillera, Northern Arctic, Southern Arctic, Taiga Plains, Taiga Shield, Boreal Shield, Prairies, Taiga Cordillera, Boreal Cordillera, Pacific Maritime, Montane Cordillera and the Hudson Plains.

Healthy Ecosystems

What is a sustainable ecosystem?

  • A sustainable ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of species, that are able to support and thrive with itself, without any outside influence. Everything, is balanced and sustainable as it goes through its cycle.
  • The ecosystems describes of both living organisms (biotic) and non-living factors (abiotic), where they interact and connect with each other.
  • Abiotic factors are nonliving organisms that include moisture, sunlight, soil chemistry, temperature and precipitation. These non-living organisms are essential because of the reproduction and survival of each species an a ecosystem. Without significant amount of sunlight 99% of the plants would die and have a disturbance on the food chain.
  • Abiotic factors are important in sustaining the ecosystems because they directly affect how organisms survive. These factors, such as temperature and sunlight, limit where an organism can live and restrict their resources that are needed to survive. For example, if the soil chemistry changes, it can decrease the amount of minerals and nutrients present. This affects plants because they need to uproot minerals to undergo their necessary processes.
  • Biotic factors include all living organisms and their relationships, as some organisms produce their own food while others consume plants and animals. A few organisms eat waste products (decomposers) which help them harvest energy. All of these organisms (biotic components) are mandatory in sustaining ecosystems because they recycle energy and keep it flowing throughout the ecosystem. Plants are important because they are the main base of the food chain and the source of which we gain our energy. This energy is passed on to what eats it (omnivores and herbivores), which are then eaten by carnivores. Decomposers are needed to sustain an ecosystem because they consume dead organic matter. Without decomposers, energy would not flow in a cycle because the flow of energy would stop once an organism dies. Decomposers feed on dead matter and recycles the energy back in the cycle. These processes cycle energy throughout the ecosystem, which is needed to perform all basic functions.

How Humans Are Affecting Ecosystem Sustainability

  1. Mining- taking away habitats by contamination and damages levels of the food chain.
  2. Burning fossil fuels- contributes to greenhouse gases and increasing the Greenhouse Effect.
  3. Air Pollution- harmful substances released in the air causing diseases and infections.
  4. Overfishing- overexploiting the fish population, causing a disturbance in the oceanic food chain.
  5. Deforestation- Clearing forest habitats; ruins homes for biomes in which trees are dominant, forcing animals to find a new habitat, depletes soil
  6. Urban Sprawl and Land Consumption- Rapid spread of urbanization, which also is taking up our Green Belt in Canada.
  7. Water pollution- contamination of water resulting in the breakdown of aquatic habitats and the exposure of harmful chemicals to aquatic organisms.

Factors that Limit Population Size

The main 4 factors that control the carry capacity of organisms are

Food Availability

  • Food availability is very important for the survival of the animal and plant species. Predators and carnivores depend on their predators and the food chain. However if the food chain is disrupted it will cause carnivores and predators food stress.
  • Herbivores eat only plants which is more of an intensive diet compared to a carnivore and omnivores who eat animals and plants where a lack of shortage of food and nutrients for herbivores can be stressful. Resulting them to consume nourishments that have less nutrients for their body weight to sustain.


  • Animals must have water to help with food digestion and help their body temperature as well as help flush out waste from their body.
  • The larger the animal the more water is required for them to sustain their organs.
  • However if water becomes lacking, animals and plants would die, fight off terrible diseases or the remaining animals would fight their own kind on how much water is left.

Ecological Conditions

  • Conditions of the environment affect the carrying capacity, for example if an animal population is located near or close to a city (human population) it has affect on it as well.
  • Pollution and natural disaster such as floods and hurricanes affects the ability of environment ecosystems such as plant, microorganisms, and animals to carry a population
  • Erosion, desertification and degradation affects the crops, climate affecting the soil composition becoming more dry. As all theses issues affect how much capacity an ecosystem can hold.


  • Animals need homes and shelter for their animals to protect and provide a place for reproduction.
  • Sufficient amount of space in a habitat is better for the animals because it is easier to find sufficient amount of food and water.
  • Study shows from The University of Clemon that Animals need vital amount of space for them to raise their youngster. However without space, animals can become stressed, which impacts their eating habits as this results crucial health-declining.

The Impact of the Oil Industry on Healthy Ecosystems

  • The oil industry can cause lasting damage to the environment. Oil spills for example causes a serious threat to the ecosystems such as leakage pipelines, shipping accidents, that put a lot of massive amounts of pressure on the ecosystems.
  • Shipping increased means more noise which can disrupt the sea mammals such as whales as this increases potential collisions.
  • Infrastructure on oil and gas occurs mostly in the arctic areas where there is a large scale of infrastructure. The construction of roads, pipelines, and buildings do have a potential negative impact on the ecosystems because of destruction on the terrestrial green life and the lack of nutritional vegetation.
  • Oil spills in the arctic lands and water is high freezing temperatures, which makes oil spills clean up difficult, if oil is trapped underneath the sea, the ice could not be cleared up until it melts. Crew members would be unable to clear the ice for months , resulting a devastating destruction on the aquatic ecosystems, and the indigenous people who are dependent on the aquatic ecosystems such as fish and sea plants.
  • Extracting oil is refined and use to manufacture gasoline (transportation) and petrochemicals.
  • Oil companies pump oil by using drilling rigs, these drilling rigs are usually performed in oceans to access the oil. This picture shows the drilling rigs extracting oil from different levels of depth.
  • Refining petroleum creates air pollution
  • This is by transforming crude oil into petrochemicals that releases toxins into the atmosphere which is harmful for humans and the ecosystem health.
  • Burning gasoline releases carbon dioxide
  • Oil does not produce the same amount of C02 however it still contributes to greenhouse gases causing global warming.
  • Oil spills cause damage to healthy ecosystems
  • Large spills sometimes occur during transportation which affects the surrounding around the environment.
  • Oil that leaks from cars, airplanes boats as well as illegal dumping are potential hazards to be spilled on the ecosystem.

Soil Composition

What is Soil Composed of?

  • Soil has nutrients, consist of minerals, water, gases, organic matter and microorganisms.
  • Soil has combination effects of climate and biotic activities, there are 5 main components on how soil is formed.


  • 45-50% of minerals is made up of soil, where it is divided into primary mineral parts and secondary minerals.
  • Primary minerals are examples founded in sands and silts which are often a rounded or irregular shape.
  • Secondary minerals are important because they release ions and forms more stable minerals such as clay which are important for the soil and water holding capacity.
  • Negative ion charges are founded in soil and helps it to have an important nutrient capacity.


  • Water is the second base component of soil which makes up of 2-50% of the soil.
  • Water is important for the soil because it helps transport nutrients to growing plants and organisms.
  • The capacity of soil holding water is dependent on the soil texture, where more small soil particles the more water the soil can contain.
  • Organic material also helps hold more water in the soil because the larger capacity of organic material the more water the soil can retain.

Organic matter

  • 1-5% of organic matter is founded in the soil.
  • Organic matter comes from dead plants and animals And is able to hold as much an high capacity of essential nutrients for the soil.
  • Soil that has a large amount of CEC has a lot of productivity for plant growth.
  • Decomposed materials on soils show in indication of fertility soil.


  • Air can occupy the same as water which is 2-50%.
  • Oxygen is essential for roots and respraintonal for the plants.
  • Nitrogen and carbon dioxide are important for how the plants function.
  • Floods affects plants because of the effect in how the soil is clogged.


  • Microorganisms are made up of less than 1% of the soil.
  • Approximately there are 20,000 microorganisms in a one cup of topsoil.
  • The largest organisms are earthworms and the smallest is algae and fungi.
  • Microorganisms are the primary decomposers of raw organic matter.
  • Decomposers are the ones who consume water and air to recycle raw matter into humans which is richfull for the nutrients of the plants.
  • Fungus are one of the most important organisms for soil because it grows into the plant's roots, where the plant provides the fungus with sugar and in return the fungus gives back the plants roots with water and access to nutrients in the soil through a web chain.
  • Microbes is extremely important for the soil and plant because it helps them thrive longer and have better nutrient in plant growth.

How Is Soil Impacted by the Oil Industry and How This Affects Terrestrial Ecosystems?

  • Concentrations of hydrocarbons from oil were researched to be much higher near oil drilling sites.
  • As temperature changes, soil content decreases due to petroleum hydrocarbons released from oil sites.
  • For example, in the fall, the soil contaminated with hydrocarbons had significantly lower soil water content.
  • As well, oil contamination increases soil pH (how acidic or basic a solution is) up to 8.0 and reduces phosphorus concentrations in the soil.
  • Plants thrive best at a pH of 6.0-7.0. Making soil more basic causes plants to die, as they are more used to slightly acidic and more neutral soils.
  • Phosphorus is important for plants to take in, as it is a building block to grow (used in DNA).
  • In addition, diesel oil contamination to soil can decrease germination (development of a plant from a seed) and makes the soil toxic to the seedling.

Water Quality

  • Water QualityCan be determined by hardness (PH Levels), Radiological, Biological.
  • Oil is It’s the way we check how safe the water is.
  • Poisonous and would kill mass amounts of marine life when oil spills happen.
  • Water quality is very important because it sustains different biomes like wetlands, abiotic and biotic factors.
  • If water is not purified then that will ruin the ecosystem and affect the producers making them not able to produce.
  • Then because there's not enough plant life or none at all fish and other animals will will/could die.
  • Since the oil is less dense than water then it floats to the surface.
  • Animals can ingest the oil if they come near the surface and that will kill them.
  • Animals can suffocate if the oil is to thick and they can’t get oxygen.
  • Birds that float above water/ feed by water will get oil in their feathers and make it very difficult/ impossible for them to fly.
  • Birds can also die because the oil sticks to their feathers they get stuck and since they keep warm with their feathers.
  • Humans Affect water quality by spilling oil into bodies of water with marine life.
  • Littering into the ocean and the garbage getting stuck and suffocating the marine animals.
  • Overfishing affects the population of fish and could possibly affect the food web.
  • The CO2 levels affect the atmosphere and make water more acidic slowly over time.
  • Throwing out unwanted living marine life into water and then the species becoming invasive.

The End


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