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Part X : The Environment

Environmental Factors Appropriate for Life :
Associated Practical Work

Environmental Factors Appropriate for Life : Question

Environmental Factors Appropriate for Life
Soil
What is soil made of?
Environment and Distribution
Water
The Water Cycle
The Globe and the Water Cycle
The Seasons
The Seasons and the Sun
How Seasons Influence the Biosphere
Human Influences on the Environment

Topic Chapters Index

 

Fact File No.41

A square meter of grassland soil may contain over half a kilogramme of microbes.

 

Fact File No.42

The biggest earthworms in the world are found in Australia. They may grow to nearly four meters long.

Earthworm © Shirley Burchill

 

LIFE IN THE SOIL

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The top layers of the soil are full of living organisms. Most of them are microscopic organisms, also called microbes.

Most of these organisms are fungi and bacteria that eat dead leaves which have fallen to the ground. This is how the leaves decompose.

 

Cepes © Paul Billiet

 

When something decomposes, it means that it is broken down into small particles.

Some soil organisms, such as springtails and mites, are big enough to be seen by the naked eye as little dots. They can be observed in more detail by using a binocular microscope.

These, too, are mostly decomposers; so are the large earthworms which can be seen even without a hand lens. All of these organisms are relatively small but play a very important role in making soil.

 

Soil organisms © Paul Billiet

Soil organisms © Paul Billiet

Soil organisms © Paul Billiet

Soil organisms © Paul Billiet

 

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