A Natural History of California (California Natural History by Allan A. Schoenherr

By Allan A. Schoenherr

During this complete and abundantly illustrated ebook, Allan Schoenherr describes a country with a better diversity of landforms, a greater diversity of habitats, and extra forms of vegetation and animals than any region of similar measurement in all of North the United States. A typical heritage of California will familiarize the reader with the weather, rocks, soil, vegetation and animals in every one designated sector of the country.

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If you like this book, buy it! < previous page page_20 next page > Page 20 can't get to it. Micro-organisms, on the other hand, get their share by producing foul odors or toxins that discourage humans from eating the food. A simple ecosystem might have only two kinds of organisms. A sewer outflow, for example, might have only algae (autotrophic) and bacteria (heterotrophic). The important thing is that one organism makes the food, and the other recycles matter by consuming it. The nonliving components of an ecosystem include matter that is cycled and the energy that powers it.

Previous page page_22 If you like this book, buy it! next page > < previous page page_23 next page > Page 23 Food Pyramids A food chain is the sequence by which energy is transferred from sunlight, to green plant, to herbivore, to carnivore. The total amount of energy that flows along a food chain in an ecosystem can be graphically depicted as a food pyramid, sometimes called an Eltonian pyramid after Charles Elton, an English ecologist. Food pyramids are simple applications of the laws of thermodynamics: In any given ecosystem, plants are more common than herbivores, and herbivores are more common than carnivores.

Fluctuations of these two energy forms have a profound influence on the system. The matter in a system may be thought of in terms of pure elements such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorus. These elements may combine to form various materials such as water (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), carbohydrate (CH2O), nitrate (NO3), and phosphate (PO4). A simple way to describe the nonliving components of an ecosystem is to lump all these factors into five categories: light, heat, air, water, and soil (minerals).

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