Biophysical Interactions: Vulnerability

Topics: Biodiversity, Ecosystem, Ecology Pages: 4 (1253 words) Published: March 8, 2014
All ecosystems have the ability to withstand stress. They are able to resist being disturbed or altered and will restore themselves to their original condition if not disturbed too drastically. There are both natural and human induced stresses. An ecosystem is the dynamic complex interaction of plant, animal and microorganism communities and their non-living environment as a functional unit. Ecosystems include the biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) elements of the environment and the relationships between the components. For the correct functioning of ecosystems it is imperative that the dynamic equilibrium (balanced change) is kept under control

A number of factors are relevant to how vulnerable ecosystems are to stress these include location, extent, biodiversity and linkages. The location of an ecosystem affects it’s functioning greatly as the latitude can affect the climate and ultimately the nature of particular ecosystems as seen in the Daintree Rainforests which is located in tropical Queensland so therefore has a constantly wet and humid climate. The microclimatic features of a location can be significant enough to create a range of distinctive ecosystem types within relatively small areas; an example of a variable is the slope on which the ecosystem sits. When ecosystems are located in extreme environments such as desert or a polar region the flora and fauna needs to be highly specialised, meaning that smaller change has a greater impact on the ecosystem. The greater the specialisation of an organism the more vulnerable it is to change an example is coral. Corals are highly specialised organisms that flourish in relatively shallow, nutrient-deficient waters of the tropics and any increase in nutrients levels promotes the level of algae thus reducing sunlight available for coral growth. Global warming is drastically affecting coral reefs as the increase in temperatures is killing the corals. This is known as coral bleaching where only the white...
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