The existence of the biotic system, the

The earth is made up of
many systems that function with the multitude of abiotic resources and input of
solar energy to create the working system called the ecosphere. The ecosphere
is the interconnection and interdependence of four major abiotic and biotic
systems on earth. The hydrosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere exist as abiotic
systems that allow for the existence of the biotic system, the biosphere. Each
system relies on the others to work within a specific range in order for equilibrium
to be held, and for life to exist. Combining dynamic cycles, flows of energy,
homeostasis, and interdependency of processes, the ecosphere is directly
comparable to a biotic organism.

organisms share a number of traits that classify them as living. Locomotion,
absorption of energy, adaptation to environment, growth, reproduction, excretion,
and homeostasis make up the characteristics of life used to define an organism
(Krow 2017). The ecosphere does not fit all of these requirements to be
considered a living organism, although as a system it does carry out similar
processes. While there is no direct movement, there is a consistent flow of
energy and resources throughout the ecosphere carried out by the carbon cycle
phosphorus cycle, nitrogen cycle, water cycle, and many others. The ecosphere
as a whole absorbs solar energy which is distributed through the biosphere in
photosynthesis, and also in the atmosphere to warm the planet. Reproduction,
growth, and excretion do not exist on a large scale through the ecosphere, but
there is a flow of resources and restoration of simple elements that is
directly comparable at the level of the biosphere. The ecosphere cannot be
automatically regulated to react like homeostasis, but the large systems
involved do all work together in the ecosphere the create a balance.

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Lithosphere is the solid matter of the earth that holds most of the planet’s
elements and fundamental building blocks for life. The hydrosphere is the
quantity of water that exists on earth, found in the oceans, the air, and on
land. The atmosphere is composed of the gases that cover the earth’s surface
and provide a hospitable, contained environment for life to thrive. Together
these systems provide a constant quantity of resources that both limit and
enable life within an equilibrium. The biosphere is a product of the perfect
conditions provided by the systems of the planet. The stable temperatures are a
result of the atmosphere and the ozone layer that make up the greenhouse
effect, allowing solar energy to warm the planet to livable conditions. All of
the energy flowing through the biosphere comes from the sun, being absorbed by
producers to make sugars, then eaten by consumers and broken down by
decomposers. By breaking down other organisms, decomposers both consume energy
and restore the nutrients to a simple state that allows producers to continue
the cycle of life.

the size of the planet makes it difficult to see the ecosphere as a living and
functioning system, also making it hard to see that the ecosphere could be at
risk of an imbalance. This is easier to see when looking at single examples of
how systems function within the ecosphere, such as the many interactions
between producers and consumers. The dynamic equilibrium held by the ecosphere can
react to small changes within the system and successfully adapt. If changes in
the ecosphere become too large it can throw off the equilibrium and cause
damaging effects to larger populations. This can result in a domino effect, due
to the interdependency of many organisms. Researchers with National Geographic
estimate that “if the nearly 12,200
animals and plants worldwide currently listed as threatened or endangered were
to disappear, another 6,300 “affiliate” species could also be lost”
(Owen 2004).

            The same dependency can be observed in the human body, as
each organ is part of an organ system that rely on each other to do their part.

For example, if someone were to take up smoking, at first the effects would be
small, but most noticeable within in the lungs. Over time with lowered
functionality in the lungs the body system cannot clear the mucus and bacteria
that develops in the lungs, resulting in more sickness and disease (McGraw-Hill
1998). Imbalance within a system may start small, but its impacts quickly
multiply and grow to a potential no return. The same can be said of the ecosphere
and the many working parts that each need to be taken care of and kept in
balance to reduce the risk of a complete breakdown.

            The lively systems that create a flow of energy and
resources work and adapt as a unit within the ecosphere, similar to the same
processes within a single organism. The interdependency of these systems is
essential for life to thrive and is a delicate balance that should not be
abused. While many abiotic systems such as the hydrosphere, lithosphere, and
atmosphere do not hold the characteristics of a living organism, their
functions provide a suitable environment for the living species that exist
within the biosphere. These biotic and abiotic interactions are unique within
the ecosphere and key for life to exist.


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