The Gulf of Mexico oil spill

1.1 Biomes

Biome- The largest division of the biosphere, which includes large regions with similar biotic components.

Biotic- living organisms such as plants, animals, fungi, and bacteria
Abiotic- non living parts of the environment such as sunlight, soil. Moisture, and temperature

There are 9 biomes and they are:
- Boreal forest
- Desert
- Grassland
- Permanent ice
- Temperate deciduous forest
- Temperate rainforest
- Tropical rainforest
- Tundra
- Aquatic
The oil is spilling out from the seafloor at 5,000 barrels a day -- the equivalent of 210,000 gallons is abiotic. Among the animals that live in the Gulf Coast it is time for them to reproduce. This could bring sensitive young animals in contact with the toxic oil or cause their parents to plunge into oily waters looking for food. The Tropical rainforest, Grassland, and the Desert are being affected by the oil spill because they are located near the Gulf of Mexico. The oil that is bursting out from under the sea is washing up on to the shorelines where it is causing a tremendous threat to the plants and animals.
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1.2 Ecosystems

Ecosystem- A part of a biome in which abiotic components interact with biome components such as oxygen, water, nutrients, light, and soil, support the life functions of biotic components, such as plants, animals and micro-organisms.

Habitat- Is the place in which an organism lives
Nutrients- Substances such as the chemicals nitrogen and phosphorus that are required by plants and animals for energy, growth, development, repair, or maintenance.

The ecosystem is all about Organisms within the community constantly interacting to get hold of resources such as food, water, sunlight, or habitat. Examples of these connections in the ecosystem include commensalism, mutualism, parasitism, competition, and predation. Every organism plays a role, or niche, within an ecosystem. The oil spill is polluting our air by releasing harmful chemicals which both humans and animals have to breathe in. The water is also affected by the oil spill because when the oil is released into the water it contaminates the water which the marine wild life is harmed by. The oil spill that is happening in the Gulf of Mexico can put toxic chemicals in our drinking water furthermore this can cause serious weakness to your immune system or can cause death.

2.1 Energy flow in ecosystems

Emery flow- The flow of energy from an ecosystem to an organism and from one organism to another.

Food Chains- show the flow f energy from plant to animal and from animal to animal
Food web- A mode of the feeding relationships within an ecosystem
Trophic levels- Steps in a food chain that show the feeding of a niche relationships among organisms.

Every organism interacts with its ecosystem in two ways:
1) The organism obtains food energy from the ecosystem
2) the organism contributes energy to the ecosystem

When the animal is contaminated by oil it is harmful for its predators. When the predator intakes his prey the harmful oil that is inside the animal will harm the predator and may even cause death furthermore this will be a food chain.

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2.2 Nutrient cycles in Ecosystems

Nutrients- are chemicals required for plant and animal growth and other life processes.
Nutrient cycles- describes the flow of nutrients in and out of stores as a result of biotic and abiotic processes
Carbon cycle- The nutrient cycle in which is moved through the biosphere
Nitrogen cycle- The nutrient cycle in which nitrogen is moved through the biosphere
Phosphorus cycle- The nutrient cycle in which phosphorus moved through the biosphere

The carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, and phosphorus cycle move nutrients into and out of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The nitrogen cycle can be affected by human activities such as land clearing, industry, motorized transportation, and agriculture. These human activities affect the nutrient cycle by increasing the amounts of nutrients in the cycle faster than natural biotic and abiotic processes can move them back to the stores. The oil is limiting the chemical nutrients that are required for plants, animal growth and other life processes. The oil in the ocean stops the nutrient cycle from functioning properly. In order for the nutrient cycle to work there must not be any interference with the way the cycle behaves.

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2.3 Effects of Bioaccumulation on Ecosystems

Bioaccumulation- The gradual build-up of synthetic and organic chemicals in living organisms
Biomagnification- The process in which chemicals not only accumulate but become more concentrated at each trophic level in a food pyramid
Bioremediation- The use of organisms usually micro-organisms or plants to break down chemical pollutants in water or soil to reverse or lessen environmental damage
Heavy metals- Metallic elements with a high density that are toxic to organisms at low concentrations
PCB's (Polychlorinated biphenyls)- Synthetic chemicals containing chlorine that are used in the manufacture of plastics and other industrial products, become stored in the tissue of animals, and also persist in the environment
POP's (Persistent organic pollutants)- carbon-containing compounds that remain in water and soil for many years

Humans create a lot of harmful pollutants in the environment. Not all pollutants can be broken down by decomposers and these pollutants are taken up by plants. Bioaccumulation then occurs in the living organisms all the way up to the highest trophic. Biomagnification is greater for primary, secondary and tertiary consumers because contaminated food is eaten and pollutants build up in tissues also lower trophic level organisms are affected two. Low amounts of heavy metals such as lead and mercury are very toxic. These metals build up in ecosystems due to human activities. Oil spills affect
bioaccumulation in many organisms. For example, when oil gets into the oceans, it can transfer into many fishes when
predators prey on these fishes, oil is also transferred into them and affects their ability to survive.

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3.1, 3.2, and 3.3

Organisms adapt to change through natural selection. Species that are well adapted to their environment are the ones that survive to produce offspring. When biotic and abiotic factors change in the environment adaptive radiation occurs. This means that different species change from a common ancestor and live in different niches. Ecological succession refers to changes that take place over time in the types of organisms that live in an area. There are two types of ecological succession, primary succession occurs in areas where no soil exists, such as lava and glaciations. Wind and rain carry spores of lichens to these areas. A Secondary Succession is small disturbances, like fires. They occur in places that has soil and were once home to living organisms. There are also natural events that can affect ecosystems. Some examples are flooding and drought. Secondary succession is occurring by oil spills such as the one that is happening now. Secondary Succession is occurring because the oil is beginning to wash onto the shore where there is soil involved. Sustainability is the ability of an ecosystem to maintain ecological processes. Sustainability is affected through land and resource use. Land use means the way we use land around us. Some examples are using land for roads and cities. Resource use means the way we get and use resources such as soil, and wood. First Nations traditional ecological knowledge refers to knowledge about things such as animal and plant life cycles. This knowledge has been gained over centuries and produces data to enhance productivity and health of ecosystems. The way we use our resources could be affected by the oil spill because one of our resources is sea food which is being harmed by the harmful chemicals in the oil. Also since the oil is coming on to land the soil and wood could be debilitated by the oil. Some introduced species are invasive and can destroy ecosystems. Invasive species can reproduce quickly and are often aggressive. They easily beat native species and change habitats. The rapid spread of introduced invasive species is a huge cause of global biodiversity loss. Introduced species can have an effect on native species through competition, predation, disease, parasitism, and habitat alteration. Eurasian milfoil forms mats on the surface of waterways that limits the amount of sunlight that is needed for organisms lower down. Oil can also limit the sunlight that is necessary for organisms and therefore organisms cannot get the required living needs.

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BC Science 10 textbook

“Gulf of Mexico oil spill reaches Louisiana coast.” 04 June 2010
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“Oil spill in Gulf of Mexico: 1,800 square miles and spreading.” 6 June 2010
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Author: Thomas Hart

“Oil Spills: Impact on the Ocean.” 06 June 2010
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Author: Carolyn Embach

what changes can society make in order to deal with the problems associated with climate change?

Everyday we are damaging our environment which affects the way we live. There are various ways that we can reduce global warming in our community, for example we can use the reduce, reuse, recycle method. Furthermore we can also use environment friendly grocery bags that can help save our planet from global warming. Everyday people take advantage of our environment by throwing waste onto our streets which should either be thrown into the garbage or should be recycled. As a matter of fact companies should start using filters to get rid of the pollution that is released into the atmosphere.
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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Climate change is one of our main problems that is affecting the earth. To prevent this from happening we all need to understand the importance of recycling. Some of the main items that we can recycle are plastic, paper, pop cans, electronic devices, metal, and glass. If our environment recycled these items our atmosphere would be so much cleaner and a healthier place to live in. discoveries are made everyday about our environment and how it can be saved for example, for each ton of recycled paper we can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil and 7,000 gallons of water. Moreover plastic bags made from recycled polythene rather than virgin materials save 2/3s of the energy required for production and reduce the water used by almost 90%. As well as glass is 100% recyclable and 80% of recycled glass containers are made into new glass bottles and glass can be reused and infinite number of times. A single aluminum pop can save enough energy to power a television for 3 hours or to run a 100-watt light bulb for almost 4 hours. Some ways to recycle electronics are to donate the device to a charity or you can give the item to a friend or family member. You can also look for the nearest electronic recycling company.

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Environment Friendly grocery bags

The benefits of a environment friendly grocery bag is that reusable bags provide a solution to the problem that plastic and paper bags create. Instead of being used and thrown away reusable bags are used also washed and can be used over and over again. Plastic and paper bags are being used all over the world way too much. Over 1 trillion bags are used every year worldwide. Less than 3% of plastic bags are recycled. Billions of plastic bags will sit on our landfills for the next 1,000 years while others make their way to the oceans and kill thousands of animals each year. Reusable bags are typically made of one of many different types of cloth and are great Eco friendly replacements for harmful plastic and paper bags. While reusable bags take a lot of energy to make the fact they are made once but can be used hundreds of times that means their pre-use impact is much smaller than plastic and paper bags. Also reusable bags do not fill landfills and oceans for the reason that they are not thrown away.

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Industrial Factories

Factories effect the global environment in various ways for example; pollution from factories is excreted with the use of fresh water. This affects other fresh water resources by polluting them as well. Additionally factories contribute to global warming, thus increasing the pollution in our society. Factory pollution also contains carbon monoxide which is produced in the combustion process. Though motorized vehicles have the most carbon monoxide, today there are also many combustion driven power plants still in operation. The earth's ozone layer is being affected by factory pollutants such as chlorofluorocarbons. All factories should use filters to eliminate carbon dioxide and deadly chemicals that are released in the air we breathe.

Government Support

The Government is doing many things to help stop global warming. The government made a law called the clean air act so that there is less air pollution. The clean air act is making many companies change their products to decrease the problems we are having with global warming. Part of the law states how many pollutants can be release in the air. Furthermore the government does not apply sales taxes when you are purchasing energy star appliances. Energy star appliances do not waste as much energy as regular appliances and they will save you $200 to $400 in annual savings.


“Global Warming Facts.” 25 April 2010
“Pollution caused by factories.” 25 April 2010
Author: Jude Minar
“Things you can do to reduce global warming.” 25 April 2010
“Canada’s clean air act.” 25 April 2010
Creation date: 2006-10-02