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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?
Life in the Soil
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

 

The extremes of the lithosphere and the hydrosphere

 

12000m

Some living organisms are capable of surviving in particularly difficult conditions. high in the mountains there is little oxygen, strong winds and very cold temperatures. deep in the oceans there is also little oxygen, very cold temperatures and extremely high pressures.

11000m

10000m 

9000m

8000m

Mount Everest 8840m
Whooper swans can fly to heights of 8230m

Whooper Swan © Shirley Burchill

7000m 

A common toad was discovered in the Himalayas at 7980m

Toad © Paul Billiet

6000m 

A flowering plant belonging to the buttercup family was found at 6400m
The yak, a relative of the llama, can reach 6100m

Buttercups © Shirley Burchill
Llamas © Shirley Burchill

5000m 

  

  

4000m 

Mont Blanc 4810m
La Raya Pass, Altiplano, Peru 4335m

 Alpine View © Paul Billiet 
Altiplano, Peru © Shirley Burchill

3000m 

Lake Titicaca, Peru 3820m

  Lake Titicaca © Shirley Burchill

2000m 

Machu Pichu, Peru 2430m

  Machu Pichu © Shirley Burchill

1000m 

Average height of continents 840m

  

0 m 

Eiffel Tower 321m
Sea level 0m

The Weddel seal can dive to -40m

Eiffel Tower © John Hembury
Crabeater Seal © Shirley Burchill

-1000m 

A common toad was found in a coal mine tunnel at -340m Toad © Paul Billiet

-2000m 

  

  

-2500m

Black smokers, types of hydrothermal vents, provide the energy and minerals for organisms such as bacteria, tube worms and shrimp at -2500m Black Smoker © National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

© National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

-3000m 

  

  

-4000m 

Average depth of the oceans -3800m   

-5000m 

Sponges have been found at depths of -5637m Sponges © Shirley Burchill

-6000m 

   

   

-7000m 

Starfish can reach depths of -7584m

Starfish © Shirley Burchill

-8000m 

A species of fish has been seen at -8300m Fish © Shirley Burchill

-9000m 

     

-10000m

A crustacean, called a amphipod, has been found at -10500m Shrimp © Shirley Burchill

-11000m 

  

  

-12000m 

Mariannas Trench -1180m Mariannas Trench © Karl Musser

© Karl Musser

 

ENVIRONMENT AND DISTRIBUTION

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Where Living Organisms Live

A living organism, such as a pigeon lives in a certain area because it can find all it needs to survive there. In and around the school's courtyard, pigeons can find enough food and enough water. In addition, they can tolerate the cold temperatures in winter and the presence of several hundred humans. The same is true for the trees and the other birds that live in the courtyard.

 

Why are there no bears in the courtyard? © Shirley Burchill

Why are there no bears in the courtyard?

 

Other organisms, such as lizards, could never survive in the courtyard. There is not enough food for a lizard (not enough insects) and the temperature in the winter is much too cold for it to survive.

 

Lizard and frog dialoging © Shirley Burchill

 

Likewise, there is not enough water for an organism such as a frog.

Animals are not the only organisms which tend to live in certain areas because of the temperature and humidity. The environment in the courtyard might not be right for palm trees, for example, but it suits sycamores such as the half dozen London plane trees which are planted in it. Like many of the trees planted in Paris, London plane trees are particularly resistant to urban air pollution.

 

London Plane trees

 

Another reason palm trees planted in Paris often die is because they cannot survive the freezing weather in the winter.

 

Factors Which Influence Where Organisms Live

There are several factors which decide whether or not living organisms will populate a certain area or not. Some examples of these factors are:

 

  • The temperature and the amount of sunlight.

  • The availability of water.

  • The presence or absence of soil.

  • The effects of human activity.

 

Humans have an influence on the organisms which populate the courtyard. First of all, there is no soil in the courtyard because any particles that might collect there are removed by the maintenance staff regularly. As a result, no seedlings or shoots of grass can be observed growing because they have nothing to grow in. The only soil that might exist is below the asphalt and any seeds which might be under there would never be able to pierce through with their seedlings.

Grasses, palm trees, and lizards cannot be found in the courtyard but they do exist in other parts of the world where the environment is different. There are regions of the planet which are warmer, more humid and sunnier than Paris. The African continent, for example, contains regions which lizards enjoy. There are regions on the African continent which are hot, humid, and sunny enough for palm trees to grow in large numbers, and grasses to cover the ground all the way to the horizon during the wet season.

 

What do the pigeons in the courtyard eat?

How many different species of birds can you identify in the school's courtyard?

How many other species of living organisms can be identified?

Are the plants and trees there naturally or have they been introduced by humans?

 

 

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