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What Is Biosphere In Biology

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What Does Biosphere Mean

What is Biosphere? | Class 9 Biology

Biosphere is the name given to the entirety of the earth’s ecosystem that supports life. This includes all areas of the earths surface that contain living organisms or provide life support for them, as well as the earths atmosphere and the earth’s waters. Any place that can support life of any kind is part of the biosphere. It includes both living organisms and their environment.

Zones Of Biosphere Reserve

There are three biosphere reserve zones:

  • Core

This is a legally protected area where human intervention is strictly prohibited.

It is the innermost undisturbed ecosystem.

The information from these areas helps to assess the sustainability of activities, or maintenance of environmental quality in the surrounding areas.

The Diversity Of Life

The biosphere supports between 3 and 30 million species of plants, animals, fungi, single-celled prokaryotes such as bacteria, and single-celled eukaryotes such as protozoans . Of this total, only about 1.4 million species have been named so far, and fewer than 1 percent have been studied for their ecological relationships and their role in ecosystems. A little more than half the named species are insects, which dominate terrestrial and freshwater communities worldwide the laboratories of systematists are filled with insect species yet to be named and described. Hence, the relationships of organisms to their environments and the roles that species play in the biosphere are only beginning to be understood.

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Evolution Of The Biosphere

During the long history of life on Earth , organisms have drastically altered the chemical composition of the biosphere. At the same time, the biospheres chemical composition has influenced which life forms could survive. For example, when life first evolved, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide was much greater than today, and there was almost no free oxygen. After the evolution of photosynthesis there was a large decrease in atmospheric carbon dioxide and an increase in oxygen. Much of carbon once present in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide now occurs in fossil fuel deposits and limestone rock.

The increase in atmospheric oxygen concentration had an enormous influence on the evolution of life. It was not until oxygen reached similar concentrations to what occurs today that heterotrophic multicellular organisms were able to evolve. Such organisms require high oxygen concentrations to accommodate their high rate of respiration.

Biomes In The Biosphere

Vienna Project

A biome is an ecological community that includes living things in a specific environment. It is a naturally occurring group of plants and animals that live in a habitat. The biosphere contains all the biomes on the planet. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between different biomes, and a biome can contain more than one ecosystem.

There are six major biomes: freshwater, marine, desert, forest, grassland and tundra. However, there are other ways to classify biomes, and different systems exist. A broader classification system divides biomes into terrestrial and aquatic groups.

The land, climate and other features of a geographic area affect the type of plants and animals that can survive in it. Over time, biomes can change and evolve.

Human activities, natural disasters and other factors can influence biomes. For example, agricultural activities can change the vegetation in an area and drive out or attract different species. Once the flora and fauna change in a specific ecosystem, this can affect the entire biome. Because humans have a large impact on biodiversity, studying the entire biosphere is crucial for protecting species and the environment.

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How Much Does The Biosphere Change

The biosphere is constantly in flux. It fluctuates in the short term based on the seasons. And it changes in the long-term from climate change.

Net primary productivity is unique to the biosphere. Its the rate at which plants take in carbon dioxide during photosynthesis minus respiration.

Productivity peaks in the summer for mid-latitude regions. But when winter comes, productivity drops because of the lower rate of photosynthesis.

Tropical rainforests are the most productive places on the planet. Whereas, polar regions are the least productive ecosystems.

Iia2emissions From Land Use Changes

The biosphere holds approximately 560 GtC in the form of aboveground biomass, and an additional 1200 GtC in soils and detritus. These pools form the principal reservoirs from which terrestrial systems can exhaust or sequester carbon. Evaluations of carbon releases from vegetation and soils based on changes in land use indicate that, since 1800, land use practices have decreased carbon storage in vegetation and soil by about 170 Gt. Estimates of the net flux of carbon into the atmosphere in 1980 due to land use range from 0.4 to 2.5 GtC/yr. For the decade of the 1980s, tropical emissions from changes in land use averaged 1.6 ± 1.0 GtC/yr.

S.V. Chernyshenko, in, 2008

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How Do Organisms Depend On The Lithosphere


  • Below are several photos depicting different ways that organisms depend on and interact with the lithosphere.
  • Use these images to write a paragraph about how different organisms depend on the lithosphere in different ways.
  • A frequent misconception is that plants get larger and grow because of nutrients they absorb from the soil. However most of the organic mass from any plant is from carbon dioxide that is captured during photosynthesis and used to make organic molecules. It is important to stress that the main nutrient obtained from the soil is water, and relatively small amounts of minerals. If plants ‘took up’ the actual soil then one would expect it to be depleted and there would be large craters around every large tree!

    Some of the things which learners could note are:

    • Animals live in parts of the lithosphere, such as earthworms which live in the soil, ants which make their nests out of sand. Many microorganisms live in soil.
    • Some birds make their nests on rocks and also use sand to make the nests.
    • Most plants and trees need soil to grow in. They absorb water and minerals, and use the soil to anchor their roots.
    • Rocks form rock pools on the shoreline. Rock pools are homes to many different organisms.
    • Humans use mud and stones to build houses and other buildings.

    The Biosphere: Life On Earth

    Earth’s Biosphere and Climates | Biology

    Earths biosphere is the layer of the planet where life exists.

    That means you, me, plants, insects, bacteria, and living things on land, air, and oceans make up the biosphere.

    And in case you were wondering viruses are part of the biosphere too. But they can be a bit tricky.

    Today, lets explore Earths biosphere. One of Earths spheres that is completely unique to our planet.

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    Characteristics Of Living Plants And Animals

    This was first introduced in Gr. 4 Life and Living and then also revised in Gr. 5 and 6.

    • abiotic
    • cellular respiration

    Video about the seven life processes

    There are seven processes that all living organisms perform that determine whether they are alive or not. Let’s have a look at the seven life processes:

  • All living things need to be able to move. Moving does not have to consist of big movements. Even plants move, for example as the flowers and leaves turn to face the sun during the course of the day.

  • All living things need energy to perform the life processes. Organisms release energy from their food by a process called cellular respiration.

  • All living things need to be sensitive to their environment. Think of an example of why animals need to sense their environment and write it down below.

  • All living things need to be able to grow.

  • All living things need to be able to reproduce so that they do not die out.

  • All living things need to be able to excrete waste.

  • All living things need nutrition, as they need to break down nutrients during cellular respiration to release energy.

  • Learn more about the seven life processes

    Now that we can determine whether something is living or not, we can take a look at what living things need to survive. In other words, what are the requirements for life?

    Biosphere Examples: Biosphere 2

    Currently, the only known biosphere in the universe is Earth’s biosphere, and it is considered Biosphere 1. However, humans have created artificial biospheres, including Biosphere 2. Biosphere 2 was a laboratory built in Oracle, Arizona, to do controlled studies. The self-contained facility looked like a large greenhouse. Between 1991 and 1994, groups of people tried to live and work in the facility.

    In 1991, Biosphere 2 had five different biomes spread across three acres. The scientists who lived in the laboratory wanted to make it sustainable and avoided interactions with the outside world. The original goal was to stay in the artificial biosphere for 100 years. However, the missions lasted for only four years. The teams faced many challenges, including cockroaches and ants, constant hunger, irrational antagonism, internal power struggles and dangerously low oxygen levels.

    Although people do not live in it full-time, Biosphere 2 is still an important research facility. You can even take a tour of it and see how scientists used the laboratory to learn more about biomes and ecosystems.

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    Can Help To Track Pollutants

    With the study of the composition of the biosphere, you could be able to tell exactly what the pollutants caused by humans are and how they act.

    This would help states and the international community to initiate research and policies that are geared towards dealing with pollutants and preserving the physical environment.

    Now lets take a quick look at the examples of the biosphere before we finish with the facts.

    Example Of The Biosphere

    Biosphere  Definition &  Importance

    The natural biosphere of the earth is called biosphere 1. However, due to humans curiosity, they have built an artificial biosphere known as biosphere2. Biosphere 2 is known as the human-made laboratory in Oracle, Arizona. The initial purpose of the project was to study the different factors and carry out relevant information. This was made from 1991 to 1994. They have made it like a large greenhouse in terms of structure. Different groups of people just tried to live under the facility and work on it.

    Biosphere 2 was supposed to be the mission of 100 years but unfortunately failed within four years. However, in these four years, the five biomes have been spread over the biosphere, and scientists have to face challenges and, unfortunately, have to close the project.

    Moreover, it is still open to research work and tours. You can easily take a tour of the area and research the biospheres different parts and factors.

    Try to answer the quiz below to check what you have learned so far about biosphere.

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    Historical Background And Scientific Foundations

    The biosphere may be divided into biomes, or subparts with respect to latitude and elevation . Polar biomes are found at high latitude. Mid-latitude biomes and equatorial biomes are at lower latitudes respectively. In the ocean, biomes are found at shallow depths , at abyssal depths , and in oceanic trenches, where water may be over 5 mi in depth. In the crust, biomes exist at shallow depths (for

    example, soils and surface rocks) or up to 5.6 mi or more in crustal rocks. In the atmosphere, some birds fly at heights up to 6.8 mi or more. On land, microscopic biomes exist from sea level to the highest mountain areas. There are several main ecosystems within the biome of the land, including forests, deserts, grasslands, and wetlands.

    No matter how the biosphere is subdivided, all living organisms are interrelated in some way. Within the biosphere and its biomes are regional and local ecosystems. Each of these ecosystems consists of living organisms and the non-living components upon which they depend. The living organisms depend upon one another as parts of the food web. The food web has a hierarchy: producers , consumers , and decomposers . Local ecosystems are parts of the regional ecosystem and, in turn, are components in the biomes and global biosphere.

    Could Serve As A Pollution Marker

    The study and control of the composition of the biosphere can function as an efficient marker to keep the levels of terrestrial pollution in check. This will also help to ascertain if in fact international treaties and public policies have had a real impact on the existing levels of planetary pollution.

    Hence, from the information derived from the study of the biosphere, you can draw historical, as well as interregional, comparisons that show changes and variations in pollutions levels in various ecosystems.

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    Ecology And Biodiversity From Individuals To The Biosphere From Past To The Future

    Ecology is a major biological discipline which deals with the relationships between individuals, populations, and their environment, and with the structure and dynamics of ecological communities and ecosystems. There are close links to other biological disciplines, namely evolutionary biology, parasitology, physiology, behaviour or conservation biology. For this reason, ecological issues are studied at many departments within the Charles University. Our team studies ekology of all taxa, ranging from bacteria to flowering plants, insects or vertebrates, including humans.

    The research comprises all spatial scales, from the detailed studies of subtle interactions between individuals within local ecological communities up to the exploration of the origin of macroecological patterns at continental scale. We study both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, mostly in Europe, but also in relatively exotic environments, namely tropical rainforests and savannas in Africa or microbial communities in Arctic and Antarctic environments. We are interested, for instance, in the evolution of life histories, in the origin of adaptations to extreme environments or in ever changing interactions between organisms and biodiversity variation in space and time.

    Examples Of Biosphere In A Sentence

    What is biosphere? | 11 | SCIENCE OF LIFE | BIOLOGY | SANTRA PUBLICATION | Doubtnut

    biosphereThe Hollywood Reporterbiosphere The AtlanticbiosphereSan Diego Union-TribunebiosphereThe AtlanticbiosphereRobb ReportbiosphereBGRbiosphere Ars Technicabiosphere CNN

    These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘biosphere.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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    The Importance Of The Biosphere

    The continued functioning of the biosphere is dependent not only on the maintenance of the intimate interactions among the myriad species within local communities but also on the looser yet crucial interactions of all species and communities around the globe. Earth is blanketed with so many species and so many different kinds of biological communities because populations have been able to adapt to almost any kind of environment on Earth through natural selection. Life-forms have evolved that are able to survive in the ocean depths, the frigid conditions of Antarctica, and the near-boiling temperatures of geysers. The great richness of adaptations found among different populations and species of living organisms is Earths greatest resource. It is a richness that has evolved over millions of years and is irreplaceable.

    The need to understand how the biosphere functions has never been greater. When humanpopulation levels were low and technological abilities crude, societies impact on the biosphere was relatively small. The increase in human population levels and the harvesting of more of Earths natural resources has altered this situation, especially in recent decades. Human activities are causing major alterations to the patterns of energy flow and nutrient cycling through ecosystems, and these activities are eliminating populations and species that have not even been described but which might have been of central importance to the maintenance of ecosystems.

    Importance Of The Biosphere

    The biosphere is unique to the solar system in that the earth is the only planet known to have life. This may mean that the Earths location and characteristics are unique or extremely rare and therefore the formation of the biosphere is of paramount importance.

    Besides, the biochemical processes of the various life forms change the environment, adding or subtracting elements in different compounds, which in turn affects the geochemical state of the world.

    For example, the appearance of photosynthesis during the Precambrian period greatly influenced the composition of the atmosphere, filling it with oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide, which allowed the planet to gradually cool down and reduced the greenhouse effect of heavy atmospheric gases.

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    Help To Track Pollutants

    One might be able to tell what the pollutants that are caused by humans are and how they act by studying the composition of the biosphere. This would assist states and the international community in initiating research and policies aimed at reducing pollutants and preserving the physical environment.

    How Old Is The Biosphere


    The biosphere is unique to Earth because its the only planet known to support life.

    Its believed that Earths biosphere started about 3.5 to 4.1 billion years ago. All living things originated from a common ancestor called the last universal common ancestor .

    Archaea are believed to be the oldest domain of life. They make up a group of the first organisms to appear on Earth. We know this because they are used to extreme environments like those during the early Earth.

    Archaea resembles both eukarya and bacteria. They are single-cell without a nucleus. But they look like bacteria for structure.

    Since the evolution of our very early ancestors, the biosphere has altered land, air, and water for over a billion years.

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    Emissions From Land Use Changes

    The biosphere holds approximately 560 GtC in the form of aboveground biomass, and an additional 1200 GtC in soils and detritus. These pools form the principal reservoirs from which terrestrial systems can exhaust or sequester carbon. Evaluations of carbon releases from vegetation and soils based on changes in land use indicate that the global net flux during the period 18502000 was 148.6 Pg C, about 55% of which was from the tropics . During the period 19902005, the greatest regional flux was from South and Central America . The global total flux averaged 1.5 Pg C yr1 during the 1980s and 1.56 Pg C yr1 during the 1990s, dominated by fluxes from tropical deforestation. The global total flux averaged 1.47 Pg C yr1 during the period from 2000 to 2005.

    O. Gutiérrez-Hernández, L.V. García, in, 2021

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