An ecosystem can only support a limited number of species before problems begin happening. How do scientists determine that number, and what things can affect it?
- The abundance of liquid water on Earth’s surface and its unique combination of physical and chemical properties are central to the planet’s dynamics. These properties include water’s exceptional capacity to absorb, store, and release large amounts of energy as it changes state; transmit sunlight; expand upon freezing; dissolve and transport materials; and lower the viscosities and melting points of the material when mixed with fluid rocks within the mantle. Each of these properties plays a role in how water affects other Earth systems (e.g., ice expansion contributes to rock erosion, or ocean thermal capacity contributes to moderating temperature variations).
- H.B.6 The student will demonstrate an understanding that ecosystems are complex, interactive systems that include both biological communities and physical components of the environment.
- 3.L.5 The student will demonstrate an understanding of how the characteristics and changes in environments and habitats affect the diversity of organisms.
- 3.L.5B When the environment or habitat changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce, some move to new locations, and some die. Fossils can be used to infer characteristics of environments from long ago.