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ECOLOGY - Easy explanation

The term ecology is derived from the greek oikos (house) and logos (discourse), it is the study of living organisms and the surrounding environment and its impact on the balance of ecosystems. The living are bound together by relations of food type, the trophic relationships. There is an autoecology that studies the relationships of a single species that he has with the environment and with other species instead synecology studies the relationships between the various species. They hope for a union between ecology and economy, since the latter derives from the greek oikos (house) and nomos (management) that management of the environment in which we live.

The levels of organisation

There are 3 levels of organisation:

  • the body, which would be the individual
  • the population which are groups of individuals
  • the community that is formed by the population that occupies a territory.

The ecosystem and its components

The ecosystem is the basic functional unit of ecology and it is composed by living organisms and abiotic environment is interlinked functions or relations. For living beings, it is important the presence of energy which is taken from the environment in the form of light or chemical bond. The first law of conservation of energy says that energy can neither be created nor destroyed but only transformed. Instead, the second law says that the cost of energy when there is a transformation, the heat product is dispersed in the environment.

The limiting factors

A scientist Justun Liebig discovered how the factors influence the growth of plants, in fact, the law of minimum says that the growth of a plant depends on the resource present in a minimum quantity. There exists an optimum which is an optimal situation, a maximum or a minimum tolerated at above or below which life is not possible life. Depending on the degree of tolerance using the prefixes euros (wide) and steno (narrow). There are ecotypes that are adapted to local populations a certain limiting condition and that they have expanded their limits. It is also known as ecological race.

The light

The light is the main source of energy and is essential for life. Plants capture solar energy using a pigment called chlorophyll and photosynthesis takes place. The light is composed of a 10% of ultraviolet rays 45% of visible light and a 45% of infrared rays. The light is also able to induce phenomena of phototropism when the vegetative apex moves towards the light. The solar energy is then used for the 1% and 70% is transformed into heat.

The temperature

The temperature is the heat level in a given place, has different unit of measure such as d Celsius degrees or Fahrenheit degrees. The temperature range is the difference between the maximum and minimum temperature over a day, a month or a year. It can occur the greenhouse effect when the sun's rays pass through the atmosphere and heat the soil which in turn emits radiation which however fail to recross the atmosphere. The temperature is a conditioning factor for organisms. The species that can live at very low temperatures are called psychrophilic, the species that can live in an intermediate temperatures are called mesic, the species that tolerate very high temperatures are called thermophiles.

The water

It occupies almost 70% on earth and it is important for the survival of all the species on the planet. The water that we find in the atmosphere comes from evaporation which then condenses and forms precipitation. Based on the needs of the water we distinguish 4 species: hydrophilic which always live in water, hydric plants that live in damp places; mesophilic that need little water and xerofile that can live without water. Man as always moved with little respect and has polluted the water with poisons and waste.

The climate

The climate depends on the daily and seasonal variations, temperature, humidity, rainfall and the atmospheric phenomena. The biotic factors: organisms producers, consumers and degrading. The producers are autotrophic organisms that are able to obtain energy from the sun through photosynthesis. Consumers are divided into herbivores and carnivores.

The soil

It is the most superficial part of the earth's crust and is also called pedosphere. It is the result of the inorganic fraction that has formed over time mingling with the animals and decaying plant and atmospheric agents. They are also formed from the remains of rocks that have been broken down by weathering. The most superficial layer is the richest of inorganic compounds and degraded, it is the humus.

The chemical elements and their cycles

They know many elements but only fifteen are essential for life, they are divided into macro elements and trace elements according to their natural occurrence.

The oxygen

The oxygen is indispensable for living creatures and is present for 21% in the atmosphere. It is released during photosynthesis and bodies are divided into aerobic those that require oxygen and perform the anaerobic respiration and those who do not need oxygen and do glycolysis and fermentation.

The carbon

It is scarce in nature and is found in inorganic compounds. It is present in the atmosphere in the 0.03% and is essential for plants. The carbon cycle takes place in such a way that the element passes continuously from one organic compound to an inorganic one. Man gases in the atmosphere is increasing due to excessive combustion, this is causing an increase in the greenhouse effect and thus an increase in temperatures.

The nitrogen

The nitrogen is present for 78% of the atmosphere, however, only the plants use it. When the producers die and degrade, they form the litter that under the action of atmospheric agents form the humus and the nitrogen is in the form of organic compounds.


Ecology


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