SCIENCE 10 : FINAL PROJECT UNIT 1




The catastrophic explosion that caused an oil spill from a BP offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico has reached the shoreline. The leak is currently releasing 5,000 barrels of oil per day, and efforts to manage the spill with controlled burning, dispersal and plugging the leak have been unsuccessful. This oil spill is on track to become the worst oil spill in history. The oil spill hitting the shorelines can pose as a huge threat to marine habitats, beaches, wildlife and human health.

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Oil Spill





1.1 :

The oil spill is not only affecting aquatic environments but terrestrial ones as well. There are many organisms both biotic and abiotic that are affected. Oxygen, water, nutrients, light, and soil are some examples of abiotic components that are affected both on land and in water. Firstly abiotic components support the life functions of biotic components such as plants, animals and micro-organisms. So if these are affected the chances of the biotic components survival is jeopardized. Abiotic components are affected not by the oil actually doing something to it but, by blocking off their routes or ways from getting to the biotic components. Biotic components can be affected in the terms of food. Since many of these aquatic plants and animals rely on the ocean for their main food supply they may begin to die off. Organisms in terrestrial areas may also be affected in the means of evaporation of water from the ocean. This water could fall to the earth in the form of precipitation that can land on plants and animals who might unknowingly ingest the harmful substances, that may lead to sickness or death. Another problem for both biotic and abiotic components in aquatic and terrestrial habitats is that each component has special adaptations that help them survive, but when new things are introduced into their habitats like in this case the oil spill the organisms have to make new adaptations in order to survive. In many cases the adaptation isn’t made quiet fast enough leading to the component slowly dying away.




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1.2 :

Due to the oil spill many plants and animals both on land and in water (terrestrial and aquatic) may have major problems in finding food. This can lead to increased competition which may lead to the loss of important species. Both abiotic and biotic components interacting with one another can help run an ecosystem. Abiotic components such as oxygen, water, nutrients, light, and soil all help the life function of biotic components (living things). But, due to the oil spill many of these functions are left out. For example plants in water need light to carry on a process called photosynthesis which is a chemical reaction that converts solar energy into chemical energy that is usable for the plant.

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Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Food Web


But, due to the event that took place the oil from this blocks sunlight from reaching the plants below the surface eventually leading to the plants dying off.If any one of these aquatic organisms is removed from this food web the whole food web could be changed. Because since these organisms rely on each other for food even if one gets removed the rest will either have to make changes and begin to eat other organisms or they will begin to die.


2.1 :

Because of the oil spill biodegradation can also be a problem. Since producers aren’t or may not be able to “produce” due to the oil in the air or in the water and consumers wont be able to “consume” properly because they might end up dying off. Decomposers can also have major problems changing wastes and dead organisms into usable nutrients especially in the water due to the oil. And because of this food webs can also be affected.


2.2 :

The Carbon cycle is the essential component of cells and life-sustaining chemical reactions. Carbon is cycled through living and decaying organisms, the atmosphere, bodies of water, soil, and rock. It moves between store by 6 processes : photosynthesis, cellular respiration, decomposition, ocean processes, volcanic eruptions, and forest fires. But, due to the oil spill many of these processes can’t be carried out properly or can cause damage to the organism. For example when there is oil in the ocean the plants down beneath can’t receive sunlight which they need to carry out the process of photosynthesis. Another example would be cellular respiration the process in which carbon dioxide is released back into the atmosphere. This process can cause harm to organisms in the means of them breathing them in after they have breathed is out which in this case could be evaporated oil.




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Carbon Cycle



2.3 :
The oil spill will cause damage to the natural processes of the earth as well. Some of these processes include bioaccumulation, biomagnifications, and bioremediation. Bioaccumulation is the gradual build-up of chemicals in organisms which in this case could be oil. Chemicals or oil can enter an organism through food intake, skin contact, or respiration. If the intake of chemical (oil) is to much it can be harmful to the organism. So since there is so much oil in the water and some moving on land both terrestrial and aquatic organisms can be affected. But, mostly aquatic since that is the main source for were the oil is located. Biomagnification is the process in which chemicals not only accumulate but become more concentrated at each trophic level. Since the organisms in the lower trophic levels will be affected more then others because they are consuming most of the contaminated food. This leading to keystone species. These are very important species that can affect entire population and the health of an ecosystem. So, if even one of these species dies off the entire ecosystem can suffer. This moves into bioremediation which is the process in which micro-organisms or plants help clean them up. But if these organisms are being affected by the oil spill then bioremediation cannot take place. Meaning that the oil will remain as it is until, human efforts are made to get rid of it.



3.1 :
Changes occur naturally in ecosystems. Ecological succession refers to the changes that take place over time inn the different types of organisms that live in an area. There are two types of succession but, only one is mainly affected:

1. Primary succession: occurs in areas where no soil exists, such as glaciation or a lave flow.

2.
Secondary succession: occurs as a result of a disturbance to an are that already had soil and was once the home of living organisms.(this type of succession is mostly affected because since the oil spill is moving towards land the organisms there will be affected. So since they rely on each other for food and if one of the organisms that is a food source becomes ill the rest will be affected)


3.2 :Due to the oil spill many habitats will be lost. Since the oil spill Is a human accident the animals and other organisms are being put to suffer since they themselves cannot completely clean up the mess. Humans use much of the resources of the world sometimes even over using them. Such as land use, and deforestation. These two are major problems the humans put themselves and other organisms in.


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Crab : BEFORE
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Crab : AFTER



3.3:The oil spill can also affect native species which are the species that originally or naturally inhabit an area. Because of the spill many new things may be introduced into the ecosystems of the Gulf, to clean up the spill, which can subsequently become introduced invasive species. Since they are able to completely change an ecosystem. These new introduced species can put an end to the native species of the area.




Bibliography:

- Bc Science 10 textbook.
- http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/the-human-condition/2010/05/03/oil-spill-answers-how-does-the-spill-affect-aquatic-life-in-the-gulf.html
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**http://ecosystem-preservation.suite101.com/article.cfm/how-compounds-left-by-oil-spills-affect-marine-life-in-estuaries**




What I think about Wiki

I think that the wiki spaces are a great way to do projects because I find that working on a computer or presenting your project over the internet is much more easier.





Volcanoes and their effects on the climate:

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Volcano locations around the globe

Volcanoes are a huge part of the Earth. They can both have a positive and negative effect on the climate. Many Volcanologists believe that the Earth climate is balanced over millions of years due to ongoing volcanism.

Here is a Volcano erupting:



The first major problem volcanoes cause are that when they erupt they release huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is a gas that contributes to the greenhouse effect. Combined with water in the form of gas, they absorb heat radiation that is emitted by the ground and hold it in the atmosphere. (This causes the air below to become warmer). Many giant volcanic eruptions over millions of years can raise carbon dioxide levels enough to cause significant effects on global warming.


Volcanic dust is also discharged into the atmosphere were it causes temporary cooling (Dust that is launched into the stratosphere can block off sunlight). The more particles there are released into the air the more cooling. Also depending on the size of the particles, the smaller particles fall out of the sky and remain close to the volcano, having no or little effect on the climate. (These particles are usually washed out by rain present in the lower atmosphere).


Volcanoes may also release large amounts of sulphur. Sulphur that is released into the atmosphere has a stronger effect on the climate than that of dust. Sulphur that gets lodged into the dry stratosphere combines with (limited) water to form a slight haze of droplets of sulphuric acid. (though tiny, these droplets are able to reflect huge amounts of sunlight, the droplets eventually enlarge in size and fall to earth, but since the stratosphere is so dry it may take months or even years to happen) The droplets can cause huge amounts of cooling for as long as two years.


With that said, volcanic effects were first brought to the attention of Benjamin Franklin in 1783 after the eruption of the Laki volcano in Iceland. Even though Franklin had the right idea he had the wrong volcano to explain it by. Later, in 1815 when the volcano in Tambora, Indonesia erupted did this idea come back to people. This eruption was so huge that the year that followed was known as “the year with no summer”.

As for recent cases there has been on rather large eruption that has effected many nations is the eruption of Mount Eyjafjallokull, Iceland. This volcano erupted on March 20th to April 12th. The volcano was located under an icecap which melted and produced steam making ash and other debris to distribute into the atmosphere. A horrible thing some may say, but to others this is a sign for better climate. Since planes were grounded from April 14th to the 20th over a 100 tons of fuel was saved from being launched into the atmosphere.

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Volcano debris distribution




Bibliography: