The adaptability and interconnected nature of the organisms living in ecosystems helps to maintain the habitats in the natural world. For example, if one important species begins to disappear from a habitat, other species begin to fill the void. Conversely, if a species becomes too numerous, the plants and animals that it relates with adapt to the increased population.Know More
Ecosystems are collections of large numbers of interconnected species, each of which has different needs. This broad diversity of needs ensures that there are enough producers, consumers and decomposers to keep the habitat functioning as it should. As small disturbances occur to the habitat, the relative number of individuals and species varies. Over time, these disturbances tend to disappear, returning the conditions to normal. When this occurs, the number of individuals and species returns to normal.
For example, if too many oak trees die in a forest, the number of squirrels living in the forest decreases. This means that there are fewer predators eating acorns, and so, after 20 or 30 years, the number of oak trees returns to its previous levels. Now, with more acorns present, the squirrel population rebounds as well.
While ecosystems often last a long time in the natural world, most evolve just as species do. In some areas, this process takes thousands of years, while other ecosystems may evolve and change over the course of a few years. For example, in the Eastern United States, barren fields usually evolve into pine-dominated forests over many years and eventually evolve into oak-hickory forests. Once at this stage, the ecosystem is referred to as a climax habitat, meaning that it remains in this form unless disturbed by a fire or other catastrophic event, according to Marietta College.Learn more about Environmental Science
High biodiversity improves an ecosystem by making it less susceptible to disaster and increasing plant reproduction rates. All the species in an ecosystem rely on one another in some way, and with less biodiversity, the ecosystem is more vulnerable to collapse.Full Answer >
In ecology, limiting factors are environmental variables that can determine or negatively affect the population of different organisms or species in an ecosystem. Limiting factors can be either abiotic or biotic variables. In an ecosystem, some abiotic factors that can have a limiting effect on species are light, temperature, soil type and water.Full Answer >
In addition to overtaking and replacing native plants in an ecosystem, kudzu can alter the nitrogen balance of the soil and release dangerous ozone into the atmosphere. The vines also release volatile organic compounds into the air that can exacerbate smog when combined with other particulate pollutants. Kudzu's root systems can also drain an ecosystem of available water, leaving the few plants that survive its presence parched and dying.Full Answer >
An invasive species is any organism that causes damage to an ecosystem in which it did not originate. An invasive species may cause reduced biodiversity and extinction of other plants and animals in a new environment incapable of defending against its effects.Full Answer >