Ecosystem: A self-sustaining system of plants, animals and their environment (lake, desert)

Ecosystem: A self-sustaining system of plants, animals and their environment (lake, desert)

NATURE’S COMPLEXITY ecological systems & patterns


FIBONACCI SEQUENCES (proportional mathematical patterns in nature)


Fractals (patterns repeating at different scales)



Snow-melt drainage & lung oxygen pathways

Cyclonic Clouds

Supernova Explosion

Milky Way Galaxy

Water going down a



Carbon Atom

Boron Atom

Our Solar System

Nature’s repeated patterns


Interplanetary Nebulae (the birthplace of stars)




Cosmic Zoom Out/Zoom In Video

Levels of Life







Levels of Life

Biosphere: Contains all life on Earth

Ecosystem: A self-sustaining system of plants, animals and their environment (lake, desert)

Community/Life zone: Smaller version of ecosystem (a specific elevation, one side of a mountain, a tree canopy,etc.)

Habitat: Environment in which an organism lives

Niche: An animal’s functional role within an ecosystem (food chain, decomposer, pollenation, etc.)

What are some habitats of specific animals or plants? (a redwood tree, a crab, a lion, a buffalo, a polar bear, a New York stock broker, an organic farmer, a college student )


Ecosystems rely on a food web

Food web & niches within one


Losing even one species can have dramatic effects


Evolution of an Ecosystem

Patch Dynamics: countless sections of an ecosystem developing at different rates (parallel to polycentric/organic urban development)

Succession of species: Replacement of one species by another in a specific area due to superior adaptation or environmental event (parallel to succession of racial groups in urban areas/heavyweight boxing champ)

Succession: wipes out former species but creates new opportunities

Primary vs Secondary Succession: (video)

How is the climate crisis forcing humans to adapt as a species, or face being replaced?


Sounds of the Rainforest



Howler Monkeys:

Leaf Cutter Ants:

CaraBlanca Monkeys:

Photosynthesis in plants

Photosynthesis: (making food)

CO2 + water + sunlight =

Sugar(food) + oxygen

During daylight hours/summer


Respiration in Plants & Animals


(burning calories)

Sugar + Oxygen =

CO2 + water + heat

During nighttime/winter in plants

accelerated by higher temperatures @ night (global warming)


The Carbon Cycle

What ads carbon to our air?

Burning fossil fuels or forest

Respiration in animals & plants

Volcanic activity

What removes carbon from the air?


Absorption in ocean (acidification)

What is un-balancing the Carbon Cycle?

Cutting down forest and burning SO MANY fossil fuels. (video)


The Carbon Cycle


The Nitrogen Cycle

Chemical fertilizer, sewage, & waste manure


Nitrogen (N) is 78% of air

Plants absorb (N) from the air through the roots (by bacteria)

(N) in plants is eaten by animals

(N) in animal waste is released into air (by bacteria)

Nitrogen returns to the atmosphere

The Nitrogen Cycle

What is disrupting the Nitrogen cycle?

IN WATER: Chemical fertilizers pollute waterways, generating “algae blooms.” and “dead zones” in oceans

IN WATER: Concentrated livestock waste has similar effect.

IN AIR: N2O produced from cars/industry and chemical fertilizer


The Food Chain

Producers/Autotrophs = Plants

Consumers/heterotrophs = Animals

Detritivores (“death eaters”) = worms, snails, termites

Decomposers = bacteria & fungi (external metabolization)


Plants, Animals, Detritivores, & Decomposers





Detritivores: worms, termites,


Decomposers: Bacteria & Fungi


Food/Energy Pyramid

High Energy

Low Energy

Energy content and total amount of food decreases with each step away from the sun


Primary Producers


High energy level and largest supply

Primary Consumers

Cows, chickens

Large decrease in energy vibration and supply

Primary and Secondary consumers


The Sun

Highest energy level



Effects of Eating Lower Energy Food

Cancer rates rise as meat consumption rises

Meat production concentrates food supply, so millions starve.

Plants have fiber & antioxidants (healing & anti-aging)

Animal products have no fiber and also have free radicals (causing aging & disease by destroying cell structures & DNA)



Definition: Number of species/ecosystems and quantity of each species/ecosystem

Why is biodiversity of food and flora/fauna important?

Resilience/survivability (pathogens & hazard events)

Soil fertility

Pest resistance

Medicines from plants


Pace of climate change

Rapid Mass extinctions have happened before, but this is the first anthropogenic extinction.

Thousands of species go extinct every year.



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