SUSTAINING EARTHS ECOSYSTEMS
UNIT ONE
Final Project
Aasia Rahguzar
Science 10



The earth depends on our help to survive, and we as humans depend on the earth to survive. We can achieve a positive balance through sustainability. Keeping the earth a better place will only benefit us. In Unit 1 we learn about; biomes and ecosystems, energy flows and nutrient cycles, and how ecosystems continually change over time. After taking a closer look at these chapters, I will be relating on how they connect with the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

1.1- The Gulf of Mexico is one of the worst places to have an oil spill because it is a large marine biome. There are many fishes and other living organisms that are negatively affected due to the oil spill. The oil spill causes a lot of pollution and destruction of living organisms because it kills plants and creates a lack of food for animals. The oil also causes many of the animals to become severely sick because they are not used to the dirty waters and do not have any form of adaptations in order to survive. Both the biotic and abiotic components will be altered due to the immense pollution. This will create an imbalance and the entire biome may collapse.




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1.2- Because the Gulf has very shallow waters, and is very vast in its size, it contains a large amount of the world’s plankton and plankton is a very important source of food for many marine animals. The Gulf is also a big resource for the surrounding fishing industries, without it, those industries would die down, and worsen the economy. The depletion of many animals and their food sources will in return create an imbalance; there will be more predators, less predation. The new chemicals the scientists are adding into the waters to help clear the oil could act as an invasive species and potentially harm more than it can help. There will be much more competition for food and the weaker organism may perish. Abiotic components such as the water and sun are also being affected because the oil is pollution the water and creating a thick dense layer on top of it, meaning the sun cannot penetrate through to help give nutrients to plants.

2.1 – When there was not an oil spill, everything within the marine biome was able to circulate well and had its proper balance. But due to the severe disruption of this balance, the primary producers (plants) are dying because the sun is unable to reach them, which means the primary consumers (plankton) are unable to eat and reproduce, which in return affects the diet and survival rate of the secondary consumers such as oysters, lobsters, and shrimp and creates a large amount of competition between the tertiary consumers such as bigger fish and whales. Even if the tertiary level were able to consume someone from the lower level of the food pyramid, they would become really sick because of the large amount of oil contaminant. This is creating an immense change in the food chain and pyramid; organisms are no longer able to obtain proper food and are slowly dying out.




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2.2 – Because there is an increase of dead matter that decomposers are thriving off, they are creating large amounts of carbon dioxide. And because of the increase of dead matter, there will be a severe increase in the stores on the bottom of the sea. There will be an increase in fossil fuels and sedimentation. The increase of Carbon dioxide can also harm organisms through cellular respiration when they breathe in the large amounts of evaporated oil/carbon dioxide. Photosynthesis will also be a major problem because the sun will not be able to penetrate through the dense layers of oil at the top of the water

2.3 – Bioaccumulation will now become a major problem in the Gulf because the animals will be taking in a lot of the toxins and their bodies will absorb those chemicals, and accumulate because they cannot excrete fast enough. After this, biomagnifications will take place animals that eat these poisoned animals will be poisoned twice as much. Keystone species such as the plankton are running out and resources are largely depleted, even though competition has increased, whatever meal they do get will only harm them more. Scientists are attempting to try bioremediation to help the species such as green plants, fungi and nutrients to return.

3.1 – It takes a long time for organisms to adapt to changes in an environment. When there is a significant change (loss of species), and competition rises; usually the stronger and more dominant species will remain alive. Their strength is one factor allowing them to adapt to change, afterwards; they may produce more qualities to adapt to life in a changed environment, like in natural selection. If the environment and organisms are unable to adapt, they will die.



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3.2 – Because humans have been over exploiting their resources, the animals, and humans themselves are left suffering. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a clear example of that; humans have been over using oil, despite knowing its harmful effects on the environment, and now one mistake has led to mass destruction of a major and important biome. Humans could fix their mistakes and prevent future ones through sustainability, they can use moderate amounts of their supplies so that the product doesn’t run out, and wouldn’t harm the environment as much if something like this were to happen again.

3.3 – The native species in the Gulf are the plants and animals that have been living there for a long period of time and are included in the food chain and the cycle of energy. The invasive species would be the chemicals, oils and toxins introduced to the biome, whether they were meant to help or they were included by accident. And the foreign species would be the species introduced by scientists during bioremediation, in an effort to help restore the Gulf to its natural state. Some species will have an easier time adapting to the oil filled environment than others; this will help them survive because they will be more focused on obtaining resources than trying to free themselves from sticky oils.

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has caused for a lot of damage and depletion of resources and organisms. If people are only concerned about the animals, they should also remember that the marine animals help humans. The fish in the Gulf of Mexico are a large part of the surrounding fishing industries, without them, our economy would go bad, and if we decided to still fish, we would be sickened from all the toxins. It is very good that scientists are attempting at restoring the environment and using new and better methods, but the problem is those animals don’t have a lot of time. And if anything were to happen to them, it would cause a major imbalance in that biome, which would in return affect our world.

This project helped me open my eyes about the oil spill and learn more about it. It also helped me understand the changes that our environment constantly undergoes and that many people are unaware of it. If we were to become more educated regarding these matters, we would be able to make a better impact on our surrounding environments that would help us and all the organisms around us live a better life each day.


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Using Wiki spaces was really good because I was able to methodically work on my project, save as I went on and change my project without having to worry about re-printing or coloring. It is fast, effective and easy. It is close to my information sources and I am able to work in a more neat environment

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