Ecosystems at Risk Essay

691 Words Jun 12th, 2011 3 Pages
‘Compare the nature and rate of change that affect the functioning of TWO different ecosystems at risk.’
An ecosystem is the dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment as a functional unit. Ecosystems are systems through which incoming solar energy is captured and channelled through a hierarchy of life forms. Each ecosystem has its own characteristic plant and animal community.
Nature of change refers to the natural or human induced change towards an ecosystem. Humans play a role in maintaining or disturbing the dynamic equilibrium of any ecosystem. They have the ability to minimise natural resources ecosystems in order to grow food, build habitats, and remove or extract specific
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The Great Barrier Reef is a huge, complex ecosystem located off the east coast of northern Queensland and is considered as an ecosystem at risk. It stretches approximately 2300km from Papua New Guinea’s Fly River in the north (8⁰S) to Fraser Island in the south (24⁰S) and has become the largest World Heritage site in the world. It has 1500 of the worlds 13 000 fish species in it area, 200 bird species, 5oo species of seaweed, 600 species of echinoderm, 125 species of shark and ray and around 360 species of hard coral.

The Great Barrier Reef is a highly active ecosystem. Tropical cyclones are a major source of damage to this reef system. These storms create great waves that damage corals. They bring large amounts of fresh water onto the reef though forceful rain. The fresh water alters salinity levels, placing stress on the corals and other animals. Human’s impacts have affected the Reef for thousands of years. Climate change, oil spills, tourism, overfishing, land clearing, sewage and waste disposal, coral harvesting and dredging and sand mining have all been major human impacts on the Great Barrier Reef. The impacts of climate change have affected the climate of northern Australia. The increase in sea surface temperature, the increase in average sea level, the change in rainfall patterns, changes to ocean currents and circulation, increased in
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