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Effects of Abiotic and Biotic Factors on Different Ecosystems

Info: 3674 words (15 pages) Essay
Published: 8th Oct 2021 in Biology

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Introduction

An ecosystem is a geographic area where living organisms and non-living components of the environment interact as a system (National Geographic, 2011).

Ecosystem studies can help us understand what is being changed, or the rapidity and extent of these changes and it will help us find solutions or will help us find better ways to satisfy our wants and needs with less environmental damage. It is always important to have a balanced ecosystem. Unbalanced ecosystem would negatively impact not only itself but the surrounding system as well.

The aim of this experiment is to compare different ecosystems and look at the components and features which are similar and different. Our objective is to expand our understanding biotic and abiotic factors within different ecosystem and the inter relationship between them.

Methodology

The selected study area was Elsternwick Nature Reserve. Area A (figure 1) included, green areas that were mainly compromised of grass with some dry spots with no grass, it had some small inclines no hills and was also located nearby houses and roads. On other hand area B (figure 2) had a creek (waterway) and pathways. Area B had no hills, but it had bigger inclines, there were more bushes with large areas of trees and grass areas. Once the area was chosen on the 15th of April 2020, we started to record the observation for area A at 2:00PM and area B at 3:00PM on the same day. To begin observation a 4-metre rope was used to measure the quadrant. We began randomly selecting area by throwing a stick behind, then marking out the area in which the stick fell on, it was mark by 1m x 1m squares. Then we started observing of the quadrants by recording the percentage covered by individual plant species on the data sheet and photographed each species to reference to the other quadrants. These steps were repeated another 4 times but in different zones of area A. Then, we moved to area B and followed the same procedure of collecting data on five 1m x 1m of quadrates of area B. The data from recorded observation was then entered into Table 1.

Figure 3

Area A looking west

Figure 4

Area B Looking South

Results

The table below shows the different plant species that were recorded in each quadrant. There was a total of 13 different plant species in Area A and 16 species in Area B, some plant species were common in both Areas.

Table 1. Mean species richness of plants in areas A and B (with % cover recorded for each species

 

Area A Quadrat (replicate)

Area B Quadrat (replicate)

Species

1

2

3

4

5

1

2

3

4

5

Grass 1- Wallaby grass

20%

 

10%

             

Grass 2

50%

70%

40%

30%

20%

5%

   

10%

10%

Grass 3

10%

10%

5%

 

30%

       

5%

Grass 4

       

20%

       

5%

Grass 5

 

5%

5%

             

Grass 6- Kangaroo grass

             

5%

5%

10%

Grass 7

         

5%

10%

20%

70%

80%

Rush 1- Juncus sp

         

10%

10%

     

Rush 2- Bulrush typha orientalis

         

40%

10%

     

Rush 3- Spiny head mat rush

               

10%

20%

Herb 1- Cape weed

10%

 

20%

30%

     

5%

5%

5%

Herb 2- flaxleaf fleabane

5%

 

10%

20%

10%

         

Herb 3- Common purslane

     

5%

           

Herb 4- Ribwort plantain

10%

5%

20%

40%

10%

   

5%

5%

5%

Herb 5- Mallow

         

20%

10%

5%

10%

10%

Herb 6- Slender knotweed

         

10%

10%

     

Herb 7- Purple loos strife

         

20%

10%

5%

   

Herb 8- Black nightshade

         

30%

10%

5%

 

5%

Herb 9- Cleavers

         

20%

5%

     

Shrub 1- Honey myrtle

40%

 

40%

10%

           

Shrub 2- Crimson bottlebrush

 

20%

 

10%

           

Shrub 3- Hakea wattle

       

30%

         

Tree 1- Mealy stringybark

   

70%

100%

100%

         

Tree 2- River redgum

         

40%

70%

70%

100%

100%

Number of species

5

4

7

6

5

10

9

8

8

1

Table 2. Shows two of the most common plants observed in area A and area B.

Area A Quadrant(replicate)

Area A Quadrant(replicate)

Species

1

2

3

4

5

1

2

3

4

5

Grass 2

50%

70%

40%

30%

20%

5%

   

10%

10%

Tree 1- Mealy stringybark

   

70%

100%

100%

         

Grass 7

         

5%

10%

20%

70%

80%

Tree 2- River redgum

         

40%

70%

70%

100%

100%

The graph in Figure 5 below Shows the average number of plants in two areas. Area B has a slightly greater value than area A.

Figure 5. The mean number of plant species in area A and area B

The graph in figure 6 below shows that two of the most common plants in two areas were Tree 1- mealy stringybark and Tree 2- River redgum followed by Grass 2 and Grass 7.

Figure 6. Graph of the mean percentage cover (+SD) of the two most common plants species in area A and B.

Discussion

Biotic components of the ecosystem

Area A had a smaller number of trees compared to area B. There was a waterway (creek) in Area B and there were more bushes around the waterway. Area B also had greater incline around the creek and bigger patches of plants compare to Area A. There were similar number of primary producers, an estimated number of 12 primary producers were observed in Area A and 14 in Area B from the 5 quadrants.

Biotic factors that can impact the significance can be population of producers, consumers and decomposers. Abiotic factor that could significantly impact the primary producers can be levels of rainfall, temperature, quality of land (soil) and sunlight.

The kinds of niches accessible may impact different plants and creatures by the capacity for it to endure its condition for instance in Area A there would be insects that lives in the soil contrasted with the animals that live in Area B which lives in water. This additionally applies to plants that develop in Area A which live on moderate soil dampness contrasted with the plants in Area B that live in significant levels of dampness.

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Interaction between biotic and abiotic components of the Ecosystem

The abiotic condition that may influence the living things in Area A could be features of soil. There are numerous kinds of soil that can change the development and the sorts of plants that develop in the zone, factors that influence the vegetation are the dampness of the soil, organic matters and pH levels can affect the development of the plant. An examination was directed on soil types found that soil have diverse natural and physiochemical properties. Human soil has the better quality (Quan M and Liang J, 2017). A living organism can change the abiotic condition a dead creature remains can discharge various supplements that change the soil kind. An abiotic factor that can influence Area B is water quality, water is a contribution of photosynthesis which plants require to endure and if a dry spell or change in water quality such salt levels were to happen the plant would not be able to make nutrients for themselves. Past examinations have indicated the significance of water on the development of plants, the outcomes demonstrated the higher the saltiness bring about lesser plant development (Munns, Pasioura, Guo, Chazen and Cramer, 2001).

Some other biotic interaction which are expected to occur at other times can be commensalism in which one species benefit without affecting the other (NeoStencil, 2020).

Primary Producers (Autotrophs)

Two of the most common primary producers in each area based on the percentage cover was grass 2 (42%) and tree 1- mealy stringybark (90%) in area A and grass 7 (37%), tree 2- river redgum (76%).

These species weren’t the most abundant because percentage cover is quantitively continuous and number-based abundance is qualitative discrete meaning that percentage cover take size into account and shows the area it covers, while numerical data only take into account the number of species not their size.

Primary Consumers (Heterotrophs)

Two of the most common primary consumers in Area A were Lorikeets and brushtail possums and in Area B was grey headed flying fox and eastern rosella.

Their diet confirmed their trophic as they were only consuming primary producer’s lorikeet only feed on nectar of native flowers and plant seed (Gladesville veterinary hospital, 2019), brushtail possums feeds on seed, fruits and flower (Waleed,2017). Similarly, grey headed flying fox eat fruits and flower of more than 100 native plant (SydneyBats, 2017) and eastern rosella’s diet is mainly fruits and seeds of other native plants (Leeland Bettis, 2017).

Secondary Consumers

Two of the most common secondary consumers that were observed in each area were tawney frogmouth and forest bats in area A and Chestnut teal and pobblebonk Frog in area B.

Tawney frogmouths mostly feed on the insects such as beetle and other bug (Kathryn, 2020), forest bats eat small insects (Museum Australia, 2019). Chestnut teal diet is mainly small invertebrates and seeds (Williams, M.J.2013) and pobblebonk frogs eat forest mite and insects (Museum Australia, 2020).

Tertiary Consumers

A few of tertiary consumers were observed in Area A and B. Fox faeces was observed in Area which indicate the presence of Fox in the area and in Area B Rakali was observed as tertiary consumer.

Tertiary consumer needs energy to survive and they are not found in high density in ecosystem because energy availability is more abundant in lower density than higher density.

Figure 7. Food cycle in area B

Figure 8. Food cycle in area A

The kind of detritus that would be observed in this ecosystem would be plant material such as leaves, and animal remains such faeces. Carrion that were observed were rat carcass and dead grey headed flying fox. Animal faces and carcass would utilise decomposing organic matters.

Conclusion

There were differences in variety of plants and animals in two observed areas. The aim of the experiment was to compare two area and to find out the difference and similarities between them. Also, to understand how biotic and abiotic organism work together within the ecosystem.

References

Google Maps, (2020). Elsternwick park nature reserve, -37.886047, 144.99204, 3D map, retrieved 29/05/2020,

https://earth.google.com/web/search/-37%2e886047,+144%2e99204/@-37.88505862,144.99587911,4.75681295a,1379.22727276d,35y,-0h,0t,0r/data=CigiJgokCULpsWT08ELAEWQGklBN8kLAGb0hj_UGIGJAIQcJVnCZH2JA

Daniel, N. (2017). What do foxes eat, retrieved 29/05/2020, https://sciencetrends.com/what-do-foxes-eat/

Panawala, Lakna. (2017). Difference Between Scavenger and Decomposer. Retrieved 28/5/2020, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320413590_Difference_Between_Scavenger_and_Decomposer/citation/download

NeoStencil, (2020). Types of biotic interaction, retrieved 28/05/2020, https://neostencil.com/biotic-interaction

Australian museum, (2018). Common brushtail possum, retrieved 29/05/2020

https://australianmuseum.net.au/learn/animals/mammals/common-brushtail-possum/

Food Web. (2019). Facts, Idaho National Laboratory, retrieved 28/5/2020, http://idahoptv.org/sciencetrek/topics/food_chain/facts.cfm

Madan, S. (2019). Tertiary Consumer Definition, Earth Eclipse, retrieved 29/05/2020 https://www.eartheclipse.com/biology/tertiary-consumer-definition-examples-functions.html

Marissa Parrott, Simon, C. (2019). The rakali, a native water rat, retrieved 28/05/2020, https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/wildlife/2019/09/the-rakali-a-native-water-rat-found-feasting-on-cane-toads-in-the-kimberley/

Wilson, D. (1997). What do bats eat, retrieved 29/05/2020, https://askabiologist.asu.edu/bat-food

Kate, B. (2018). What do frogs eat, retrieved 28/05/2020, https://sciencetrends.com/what-do-frogs-eat/

 

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