Plants and Fungi: Ecosystem Essentials Biology 2410 Utah State University
Course Outline • Three weeks: Diversity • Plants • Fungi • Bryophytes • Fourth week: Human impact on ecosystems • Environmental impact study
Diversity 50 years from now • Focus on seeing the diversity that exists • Use identification as a tool to • Induce close examination • Help understand role in ecosystem • Embed basic material deep into brain
Housekeeping • 2 credits in 4 weeks • 20-25 hours per week expected; 12 in class, the remainder outside of class • Four small assignments, collection, report, midterm, final • Slides summarize – learn more • Grading – based on top score • Lots of work, but learning tangible
Grading • Flower, leaf, fungus, bryophyte assignments 10 points each • Collection 20 points • Ecosystem report 20 points • Midterm 20 points • Final 30 points
Collection and report • Collection • 20 specimens • Well documented • At least 3 fungi and 3 bryophytes • Report • On EIS exercise • Draft of first part • Complete report due in June 3. End of Housekeeping!
Ecosystem A particular environment and the interacting biotic and non-biotic components of which it is composed. Note: Interacting – important part of concept. Particular environment? Desert, mangrove swamp, montane forest, agricultural field, town, whatever suits. A holistic view of an environment.
Ecosystem Needs: Energy Flow • Most energy from sun • Some from earth’s core as heat • Photosynthesis converts sun’s light energy to chemical energy • Chemical energy transformed into • Other forms of chemical energy • Heat energy • Kinetic (motion) energy • Light energy
Photosynthesizers • Plants • Oxygen as by-product • Algae • Oxygen as by-product • Bacteria • Methane, hydrogen sulfide as by-products • Manufacture sugars http://www2.ecology.su.se/dbbm/images/fucus.jpg
Chemical energy converters • Rely on other organisms for previous energy capture via photosynthesis or use of earth’s heat energy (thermophilic bacteria) • Fungi • Animals • Bacteria • Archaebacteria
Ecosystem Needs: Nutrient Cycling • Three major cycles • Carbon • Nitrogen • Water • Maintaining these cycles vitally important • Other cycles usually less important • What is impact of slowing down cycles?
Ecosystem Structure • Physical • Location • Topography • Rock type • Biotic • Species present and their abundance and distribution
Building Blocks Of Starch Plants Terrestrial, photosynthetic organisms • Green – absorb all but green from visible light spectrum • Capture light energy and convert it to chemical energy – sugars; oxygen as by-product • Store energy as starch • Cellulose cell walls • Essential - most extant organisms require oxygen for metabolism
Plants: additional contributions • Food • Soil stability • Soil creation • Protection • Shade www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/ plants/plantae.html
Plant Diversity • Green algae • Mosses • Liverworts • Ferns • Gymnosperms • Flowering plants
Glycogen Less linear than cellulose and has protein at center Fungi – closer to animals than plants • Obtain nutrients via external digestion of complex carbon compounds • Not photosynthetic, not motile • Use glycogen as their primary form of energy storage • Have chitinous cell walls (see next slide)
Chitin and Cellulose • Chitin – polymer of glucosamide • Cellulose – polymer of glucose
Fungal Importance • Primary recyclers - break down complex compounds to simpler compounds that can be used by other organisms • Aid plants obtain nutrients by extending effective reach and breaking down compounds (mycorrhizae) The Fungi Rot Them All
Fungi: additional contributions • Food • Drink • Disease • Medicine • Bioremediation