CANADA Ecosystems By: Abrar & Saleh

What Is ecology?

Ecology is the branch of biology that concerns the connections between many different organisms and their physical surroundings. An example of ecology is the study of wetlands, studying the food chain in the wetland area this is what we did here but for Canada's ecosystems.

Introduction

Our Topic: Canadian Ecosystems

In this unit, we were asked the question, "Do humans affect ecosystems". So to answer that question, we looked at Canada and very concentrated parts of it to connect it and further understand our learning. We chose Canada because we live here and if we know anything about how our ecosystem works, maybe we can help our Canadian ecosystem as a whole grow. We strive to be able to understand where we are living so we can be more aware in the future as Canadians.

Ecology

What is an ecosystem?

An ecosystem is a living community in which organisms interact with their physical surroundings and vise versa. Ecosystems exist everywhere. Examples of an ecosystem could be a rainforest community, or even your own neighborhood.

Another example of an ecosystem are the Tundra ecosystems. Tundra ecosystems, located in polar regions or on the tops of very high mountains, are frozen and covered with snow for the majority of the year. Life is tough in this cold place but during the summer, snow may melt, enough to expose small wildflowers and attract migrating birds.

Tundra

Photosynthesis and cellular respiration

Cellular Respiration Equation

An ecosystem consists of producers, consumers and decomposers. A producer is an organism that creates its own nutrients it requires to survive. Producers are always plants, never animals. This is because plants can undergo photosynthesis to create the nutrients they need. Photosynthesis is the process of plants making food for themselves in the presence of sunlight, carbon dioxide, chemical energy and water. Consumers are organisms that acquire the nutrients it needs by feeding off of other organisms already containing the nutrients. Consumers are normally animals. Since animals cannot undergo photosynthesis, they have eat plants and other animals who already have the nutrients to gain the nutrients for themselves. Instead, they would undergo cellular respiration, which is creation of energy in the presence of oxygen and nutrients, in this case their prey. Both producers and consumers undergo cellular respiration to acquire the energy they need to keep functioning. Decomposers are organisms that break down organic matter, substances created by organisms, into inorganic matter, substances that are not created by organisms. The most well known decomposer is fungi. An example of their action would be processing the nutrients in decaying bodies of organisms and transforming them into nutrients that the soil could reuse to stay healthy.

Photosynthesis Diagram

http://www.phschool.com/science/biology_place/biocoach/cellresp/intro.html

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/db/Photosynthesis.gif/220px-Photosynthesis.gif

Food web

Although most ecosystems have what they need, ecosystems have requirements for its own survival. In an ecosystem, a balance is required for an ecosystem in the long run. If there is a tip in the balance, then populations in that ecosystem could change causing all the food chains and webs to be somewhat disrupted. For example, look at Lake Ontario. If there were more calanoids than normally existing, then the producers would get eaten up very rapidly, hence limiting other consumers food. If the ecosystem were to grow, every organism population should grow.

Lake Ontario food web (2009)

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/39/Lake_Ontario_food_web.pdf/page1-400px-Lake_Ontario_food_web.pdf.jpg

https://www.glerl.noaa.gov//pubs/brochures/foodweb/LOfoodweb.pdf

http://cashmancuneo.n met/pictures/fc/web6.jpg

http://www.ramp-alberta.org/river/ecology/factors/humaninfluences.aspx

What is Biosphere?

The biosphere is our global ecological system which is connected to and their relationships also with their connection with the elements of the lithosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere.

Hydrosphere: Covering 70% of Earth's surface, the hydrosphere is all the water on earth in any form. Rivers, lakes, oceans, ice caps, these are all a part of the hydrosphere

Atmosphere: The thick membrane surrounding Earth, consisting of all the gases in the world (ie. oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide)

Geosphere: Also known as the lithosphere, covers 30% of Earth's surface. The geosphere is literally the rocky portion of Earth's surface.

Biosphere

Bioshpere

Our biosphere is changing and not for the better. A major economic success in Canada is our oil sales in trade markets. It indeed is very successful, however, it is causing a major problem, not just in Canada, but also the world itself. We use oil and gas as essentials in our daily lives. When we use them, they pollute our air. This air pollution is causing a major problem: Climate change. When the climate changes so suddenly as it is now, this causes animals who cannot handle the sudden change to get sick or worse. Like stated before, if one population dies out, it can throw its ecosystem off balance. Ultimately, it would not be long before the ecosystem fails to survive.

In Canada, we are already starting to take precautions when we use oil or gas. One example would be the use of ethanol. Ethanol is a recycled bio fuel made by using biomass (corn and sugarcane's usually). This same bio fuel is also the same substance put in alcoholic drinks people drink. This fuel does not affect the air negatively and is being perfected in Canada today.

Ethanol Bio Fuel

http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/climate/cli_biosphere.html&edu=high

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel

Soil and water quality

In any ecosystem, there are two important abiotic factors, the non living parts of ecosystems, that are essential to all biotic factors, the living parts of ecosystems, in an ecosystem. These two factors are soil and water. Soil composition and water quality is important in the lifespan of all organisms. The reason why soil composition is important is because soil is needed to grow plants. If the soil is harmed in any way, it would affect the way plants would grow, and plants are the starting point in any food chain. As for water quality, we need clean water to keep ourselves hydrated and for other daily needs. For ecosystems, the purity of water allows animals to drink from it, water to get into the roots of plants, and to form rain.

SOIL AND WATER QUALITY

However, unfortunately, we affect both soil and water quality negatively. An example would be the usage of oils. Whenever we burn oils, it releases harmful chemicals into the air. If this harmful chemical was to mix in with water vapor, that would cause clouds to be affected. When the clouds get infected, the vapor inside becomes acidic. This acidic vapor would cause acid rain later. Acid rain is very dangerous to both animals and plants. In fact, both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems could be damaged. Water quality would change when acid rain mixes in with the water bodies, causing a change in the lifestyle of ecosystems, as some organisms cannot survive under acid rain. As for terrestrial ecosystems, when the acid rain hits the ground, or soil, the acid rain slowly seeps into the ground and mixes in with the water that is supposed to be used by plants in the roots. This acidic water is not good for plants as it will make them sick. If plants die out, then they cannot provide nutrients for the consumers. Thus, destroying the ecosystem.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we have learned a lot about Canada's ecosystems and what we are doing to protect and preserve it. We were able to identify connections to our topic from all the different areas of ecology and apply it. The answer to our main question "Is human activity harming Canadian ecosystems" is definitely. We have gathered our information and we have come to a conclusion that yes, human activity is affecting Canadian ecosystems not only negatively but also positively. An example of negative impacts occurring in the Canadian economy would be the extracting of oil from the Alberta Oil Sands. The Alberta oil sands are naturally occurring mixtures of sand, clay, water, and bitumen, which is a heavy and extremely viscous oil that must be treated before it can be used by refineries to produce usable fuels such as gasoline and diesel. The Canadian oil sands are the second largest oil reserve in the world, most of our oil sands are located in Alberta Canada, we can extract around 175 billion barrels of oil. Oil sands industry creates an economic benefit for Canada. As the oil sands development increase, many have concerns about the negative impacts that it causes.

Before and after picture of the boreal forest

This shows you what oil sands are and some of the bad impacts it has on us. It may have good impacts for us like it gives many people job opportunities and we need the fuels it produces for everyday living but there also a lot of bad impacts because of how we produce oil sands it bringing pollution into the air which is not only affecting the ecosystem but it's also affecting our health as well. In fact, a clever man has invented a new way to extract oil from oil sands.

Intelligent business man, Tatsuya Nakagawa, has figured out a strategy to successfully extract oil from oil sands without releasing the harmful gases they produce when using them. This method uses an organic solvent called a surfactant, which reduces the tension between the oil and the sand. Over time, they separate and become two layers of liquid, one being mud and the other being the oil. Using a filter, the two liquids are slowly filtered and separated. This process does not require burning of the oil sand, which causes air pollution.

Tatsuya Nakagawa is the VP of marketing and the co-founder of Castagra Products, a storage tank manufacturing company that provides the top oil and gas industries in the world.

Now as it is now obvious, humans are affecting our ecosystems, for both better and worse. Many people from all around the world take part in the care of our ecosystem, as they gain from it as well. Yes, in Canadian ecosystems, there are actions being done that are harming the environment. However, with the help of fellow citizens and people around the world, we are making the environment more livable for both the animals and humans of the land.

Livable

Bibliography

http://www.castagra.com/2014/12/environmentally-friendly-way-extract-petroleum-oil-sands/

http://www.ramp-alberta.org/river/water+sediment+quality/factors/pollution.aspx

http://soils4teachers.org/human-soil-interactions

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http://www.soils4teachers.org/land-and-people

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http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/climate/cli_biosphere.html&edu=high

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel

https://www.phschool.com/science/biology_place/biocoach/cellresp/intro.html

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/db/Photosynthesis.gif/220px-Photosynthesis.gif

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http://www.oakridgesmoraine.org/species.html

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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/39/Lake_Ontario_food_web.pdf/page1-400px-Lake_Ontario_food_web.pdf.jpg

https://www.glerl.noaa.gov//pubs/brochures/foodweb/LOfoodweb.pdf

http://cashmancuneo.net/pictures/fc/web6.jpg

http://www.ramp-alberta.org/river/ecology/factors/humaninfluences.aspx

http://www.oakridgesmoraine.org/species.html

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/publications/downloads/2011/REPORT-GB_Habitat-Dec2011.pdf

http://www.escarpment.org/_files/file.php?fileid=fileYDfFojVnqb&filename=file_Wildlife.pdf

http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/nature/eep-sar/itm4/eep-sar4d.aspx

The End

Credits:

Created with images by alexindigo - "Canada" • Unsplash - "water trees wilderness" • mypubliclands - "#conservationlands15 Social Media Takeover, May 15, Top 15 Trails to Blaze on BLM’s National Conservation Lands" • SCA_Deutschland - "Ein früher Morgen im Wald" • BLMOregon - "Donner und Blitzen Wild and Scenic River" • wondermar - "toronto lake canada"

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