The Ecosystem

When you see the beautiful blue earth from space you are looking at the largest unit of life as we know it, the whole earth ecosystem
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March31.DSC_4400.smallEveryone is aware of the enormous differences among living things, from one-celled bacteria to the whole earth ecosystem that includes plants, animals, fungi etc., all able to maintain a viable balance within their various environments. Can a giraffe in Africa have anything in common with an acacia tree in Australia and a jellyfish that lives in the ocean? Yes, of course, they are all living things, and all living things — to be alive — have three requirements in common.

1. Energy flows through all living things. Energy is the ability to do work and work is described as anything that moves or changes. Clearly one characteristic of living things is that they move and/or change. Therefore they require energy to be alive.

2. At every level, living things must regulate interactions with the materials in the environment – that is materials such as oxygen, nitrogen, carbon and hydrogen. These are the things that living things are made of.

3. As we mention above, these interactions are too complicated even for a computer to keep track of. Somehow the living organism must find a way to keep track of all this complexity, and it does so by the flow of information through time.

On Monday we will begin with a discussion of energy.

2 Responses

  1. i’m in general scurrying on the web most of the working day which means that I have the inclination to browse a lot, which isnt generally a beneficial factor as most of the web pages I view are composed of useless garbage copied from some other internet sites a million times, on the other hand I gotta give you props this site is truely quite informative and also possesses a bit of unique material, so many thanks for helping to stop the trends of just simply duplicating other people’s websites, in case you ever want to try a couple of hands of facebook poker with me just let me know – you have my email 🙂

    • Well thank you, it is nice to be appreciated. This web site is dedicated to the proposition that we can not address our most pressing human problems if we don’t know what they are. As you have noticed, most other web sites repeat information, which would be a very good thing if the information were complete and accurate. To the contrary, most are fads that have been generated by hopes. I believe in the ability of people to deal with information. Probably the people who are withholding the information also believe the people would have the ability to deal with it if it were available. (Or rather, now that it is available.)

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