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Man and Environment

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  1. Man and Environment doc. dr. Vaidotas Vaišis

  2. Main information Dr. Vaidotas VaisisVice-director of research board, assoc. prof. of Environmental protection department. CR 407 room. Webpage: Phone: (+370 5) 274 49 54E-mail:

  3. Man and Environment Literature: • V. Oškinis. Environment Part I. Training book, Vilnius Technika, 2004 • A. Basalykas. Žemė - žmonijos buveinė. Vilnius. Alma Littera, 1999 • R. Gražulevičienė. Žmogaus ekologija. Kaunas, VDU leidykla, 2002 • D. Heinrich, M. Hergt. Ekologijos atlasas. Vilnius, Alma Littera, 2000 • V. Stravinskienė. Bendroji ekologija. Kaunas, Šviesa,2003 • R. Juknys. Aplinkotyros pagrindai. Kaunas, V DU leidykla, 2002

  4. Introduction • Nowadays a huge increase of public interest in environmental quality, but there is not jet an integrated science of the environment, with established principles or even many substantiated generalizations. This lack of a conceptual framework for understanding how man and environment interacts cause many environmental problems. This course is focused on man-environment relationships – haw man affects environment. • In general the variety, intensity and spread of environmental change by man is accelerating. • The reasons of our poor understanding and harmful treatment of environment could be established by these points [Thomas R. Detwyler]: • Most of the natural sciences have treated their subjects as man did not exist and affect nature. • The environment is artificially divided into separate component for study. • Man-environmental research has been not sufficient evaluated since 1930s. Olla pied and technical sciences were oriented in “production” of goods and environmental aspects were set as “social costs”.

  5. Towards an Integrated Science of Environment It is essential that man develop an integrated science of environment for solving his worsening affects. To aid his development we may define some primary requirements for this science and draw useful concepts from existing sciences.

  6. Processes of environmental interactions The physics of Newton, the geology of Lyell, and the biology Darwin provide early examples of scientific breakthrouts that resulted from looking beyond the whatand where of nature to inquire into the whyand how.This shift from description to dynamics.

  7. An interdisciplinary, integrated viewpoint Only mixture of bio ant techo sciences could be used for environmental evaluation. Viewpoint of sociology – man is in the center of studies, natural science – man is one kind of the species. “Mission oriented research” is very good way of thinking.

  8. Man as a critical force While technologies have adapted environment for man, people have reject the effects of man on environment. All changes should be evaluated from man impact viewpoint. Reference Thomas R. Detwyler. Man’s Impact on Environment. McGaw-Hill book company, 1971, 731 p.

  9. Humans play an dominant role in ecosystems

  10. Ecology and Geography Ecology and Geography are so called environmental sciences which has closest contribution to man and environment. Definitions of Ecology: “The study of relationships between organisms and their environments” More precise definition is made by Pierre Dansereaus [Dansereau, 1957, p. 323): “The study of the reaction of plants and animals to their immediate environment, to their habitat” Ecological studies have usually concentrated on the relationschips between organisms themselves (with little serious regard for the physical environment) and usually at the scale of the singe field. It is not surprising that many of the principles of ecology do not apply to man in the environment. Unlike ecologists, geographers have tended to study broad spatial patterns and relations of man and landscape.

  11. Man’s Impact on Environment What is man doing to environment? To focus on this question I propose to look at the titles of scientific works which were made: Man and nature; Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action [George Perkins Marsh] Man’s Role in Changing the Face of the Earth [William L. Thomas] Feasible solutions to most environmental problems are a complex blend of environmental understanding, politics, economics, social attitudes, and technological capability.

  12. ECOLOGY- basics and definitions • Basics of ecological understanding: • Living things do not exist as isolated individuals or groups of individuals. • All organisms interact with others of their own species, with other species, and with the physical and chemical environments that surround them. • All organisms have an effect on each other and their surroundings. • No living organisms exists entirely by itself, it is a part of a community organisms which interact and have effect on each other and their environment.

  13. Science of ECOLOGY SINECOLOGY Sinecology - part of ecology which analyze communities, features of ecosystems, structure, relationships with environment, organization, transfer of energy and materials. Paleocology – previous Neoecology – nowadays AUTOECOLOGY Autoecology – part of ecology which analyze relationships between individuals, species, and their population with environment. Ecology of populations – analyze evolution of population of exact species, conditions, structure, dynamics and functioning. Factorical ecology – analyze relationships of living organisms with environment, impact of environment on organisms, their kinds and populations, adaptations mechanisms.

  14. The organisms in an environment are grouped together at different levels: Species Population Community Ecosystem

  15. Species- a natural group of actually or potentially interbreeding individuals reproductively isolated from other such groups. A species is the smallest taxonomical group of organisms that can actually breed with each other and have fertile offspring. A donkey and a mule are different species because their offspring are sterile. A miniature poodle and a great dane are the same species because their offspring would be fertile, although possibly ugly.

  16. Population- all the individuals of a given species in a defined area. We are members of the population of humans on this boat, the population of humans in the British Virgin Islands, and the population of humans on this planet.

  17. Community- The group of the species populations that tend to occur together in a particular geographical area. We are members of the community of species populations that live on this boat, along with the population of cockroaches under your mattresses, and funguses in your marine head, etc.

  18. Ecosystem- The community or series of communities and their surrounding environment. This includes both the physical and chemical environment; that is the rocks, metals, perfumes (pheromones), water, and air. Functional unit of variable size composed of living and nonliving parts, which interact. Component parts of the whole system function through a sequence of operations involving energy and the transfer of energy. Components of ecosystem - biotic (organisms) and abiotic (physical and chemical factosrs).

  19. Other definitions: HABITAT: the locality, site and particular type of local environment occupied by an organism PHYSIOGNOMY: the description of the appearance of the vegetation, e. g. grassland, deserts. BIOSPHERE refers to that part of the earth planet that is inhabited by organisms. TROPHIC refers to feeding and nutrition of organisms.

  20. Structure in ecosystems The overall habitat of a community of organisms is called the macrohabitat. It is divided into smaller units called microhabitats. Ecologically related species occupy the microhabitats. The interacting community of organisms and the abiotic factors of the area constitute the ecosystem. An ecosystem is an entity with many physical and biological dimensions.

  21. In terrestrial habitats, vegetation greatly influences physical and chemical factors in the habitat and thus the resident animal populations. Dominant species are the most influential in the habitat. Dominant species of plants influence the wind, temperature, humidity, light intensity, water and nutrients. This in turn determines the animal species that live in the habitat. Terrestrial habitats have a general appearance due to the type of vegetation living in the area. This appearance is referred to as the physiognomy of the habitat. E.g. needle-leaf forest, grassland, broad-leaf forest, tropical jungle.

  22. The functioning of a community is based on energy transformations. Photosynthesis is the base of all energy transformations in the ecosystem. Plants convert light (radiant energy) into chemical energy. This chemical energy is stored in the bodies of plants mostly in the form of proteins, carbohydrates and oils. Starch is the principal energy-storing substance in plants. Organisms that carry on photosynthesis are called producers.

  23. Autotrophs Photoautotrophs: derive energy via photosynthesis in chloroplasts, reduce inorganic sources using sun’s solar radiation. Chemoautotrophs: some bacteria use energy stored in chemical bonds within the earth system ie bacteria Thiobacillus uses Sulfur compounds as energy source in deep sea vents. Ricklefs (2000)

  24. Heterotrophs: derive energyfrom produced organic matter,they consume other organisms Ricklefs (2000)

  25. Decomposers: - transformers, reducers; -take dead prod & consumers break them down to elementary nutrients -make nutrients available for re-cycling Ricklefs (2000)

  26. In an ecosystem, herbivores feed on plants. Carnivores prey upon herbivores. Organisms that feed on other organisms are called consumers.

  27. Scavengers eat these carnivores when they die. All organisms and their wastes are eventually decomposed and are recycled by decomposers. This feeding series is called a food chain. All food chains can be traced back to photosynthesis. Ricklefs (2000)

  28. Food Webs more complex than linear chains Individual food chains may become interconnected with other food chains operating in the ecosystem to form a food web. The more complex the food web, the more stable a community tends to be.

  29. Atmosphere Biosphere Lithosphere Hydrosphere Conception and Structure of Environment THE "SPHERES" atmosphere - The gaseous portion of our planet lithosphere - The rocky portion of our planet hydrosphere - The watery portion of our planet biosphere - The living portion of our planet Although these may at first seem distinct, in reality, they all interact with each other. V. Oškinis, 2004

  30. Litosphere The lithosphere - a region of soil and rock consisting of the earth’s crust, a mantle of partially molten rock beneath this crust, and the earth’s inner core consisting of molten rock called magma. Life is not found throughout all of these regions. Size comparison of inner planets (left to right): Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars

  31. The core, or interior part of the Earth, is composed of a dense, intensely hot mass of molten metal – mostly iron and nickel – thousands of kilometres in diameter. Surrounding the molten core is a hot, pliable layer of rock called the mantle. The mantle is much less dense than the core because it contains high concentration of lighter elements, such as oxygen, silicium and aluminum. The outermost layer of the lithosphere is the cool, lightweight, brittle crust of rock that floats on the mantle

  32. The mass of the Earth is approximately 5.98×1024 kg. It is composed mostly of iron (32.1%), oxygen (30.1%), silicium (15.1%), magnesium (13.9%), sulfur (2.9%), nickel (1.8%), calcium (1.5%), and aluminum (1.4%); with the remaining 1.2% consisting of trace amounts of other elements.