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Human Impact on Ecosystems. Refers to the variety of life in an area. Biodiversity. Why is Biodiversity important? It’s not just about the aesthetics…. Life depends on life… *biodiversity brings stability to an ecosystem

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why is biodiversity important it s not just about the aesthetics
Why is Biodiversity important? It’s not just about the aesthetics…

Life depends on life…

*biodiversity brings stability to an


*living things create niches for other living things; more living things, more niches…

*symbiotic relationships can be effectively established or maintained

*effective food webs can be established or maintained when there are more orgs

importance of biodiversity to humans
Importance of Biodiversity to humans?
  • Production of oxygen and carbon dioxide
  • Wider choice of Diet
  • Prevention of starvation
  • Cross-breeding can happen more easily, making stronger, hardier organisms
  • More Materials for clothes, furniture, buildings
  • More medicines
loss of biodiversity extinct vs endangered vs threatened
Loss of Biodiversity – extinct vs. endangered vs. threatened
  • Extinct – no orgs of that species exist
  • Endangered -- population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters
  • Threatened -- any species which is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range
threats to biodiversity
Threats to Biodiversity:

1. Habitat loss/destruction

(this one is the number one concern!)

2. Habitat fragmentation

3. Habitat degradation

4. Introduction of Exotics/Invasive Species

threats to biodiversity1
Threats to Biodiversity
  • Habitat loss – destruction of area


*clear-cutting grasslands

*draining wetlands

Habitat degradation

(damage to habitat by pollution)

Pollution: any undesirable factor that is added to air, water or soil.

*3 types of pollution:

air, land, water

air pollution
Air pollution

-greatest source of air pollution is the burning of fossil fuels

*Smog: can create breathing problems -- asthma; irritates lining of mouth and nose

*acid precipitation (acid rain); pH drops

*damage to ozone layer – natural filter for uv radiation is being lost

*Global warming due to greenhouse effect

global warming
Global warming
  • See page 490-492 in textbook….
water pollution
Water Pollution
  • Additions of solid or liquid waste that is not naturally occurring in a body of water

Ex. Excess fertilizer and animal waste wash into streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, and oceans cause


indicator species
Indicator species
  • Also knows as bioindicator
  • Species that provides a sign or indication of the quality of the ecosystem’s environmental conditions

Ex. amphibians

land pollution
Land Pollution
  • Trash, garbage, and litter

*average American produces ~1.8 kg of solid waste daily

  • Pesticides: increase in concentration of a substance (toxin) from one link in a food chain to another –
  • causes BIOMAGNIFICATION in food web
  • Ex. DDT effects on eagles
introduction of exotic species or invasive species
Introduction of Exotic species or Invasive Species
  • “Exotic” meaning not native to an area
  • Problem is that there are NO NATURAL PREDATORS, so the new species grows unchecked and can get out of control
  • Ex. Kudzu, fire ants, zebra mussels
fishzilla video clip
Fishzilla video clip
conservation biology
Conservation Biology
  • Studies methods and implements plans to protect biodiversity.
  • Effective plans are based on principles of ecology
  • HUMANS ARE HUGE PART OF THE PROBLEM, so education is a key part of conservation biology…
legal protection of species
Legal protection of species
  • 1973 – U.S. Endangered Species Act put into effect

Source: = updated daily

preserving habitats
Preserving Habitats
  • Nature preserves

1872, first national park – Yellowstone

  • Sustainable use – strives to let people use the resources of wilderness areas in ways that will not damage the ecosystem

Ex. Eskimos hunting seal and walrus in Alaska

Global fisheries – page 503

*rotation of species to catch

*fishing gear review

*harvest reduction

*fishing bans


Habitat corridors – natural strips that allow the migration of organisms from one area to another

reintroduction programs vs captivity
Reintroduction Programs vs. Captivity
  • RIP -- Release orgs into an area where their species once lived
  • Captivity – org that is held by people; reintroduction of these orgs is VERY difficult, if not impossible
precautionary principle
Precautionary Principle
  • In situations where absolutes are not known but problems are suspected:

Set the acceptable levels of the suspected substance conservatively low, and keep them there unless future studies show that they can be safely raised.

importance of recycling reusing
Importance of recycling, reusing
  • CUT DOWN ON SOLID WASTE that will be left behind
  • Use biodegradable materials that will decay
  • Recycle materials that WON”T decay for other uses