This edition: Ecosystems and the Biosphere
A quiet marsh or a forest may look peaceful, but a delicate balance of interactions that take place in ecosystems determines life and death for the inhabitants. Dick Zembal reveals one such ecosystem as he struggles to save the Clapper Rail, an endangered bird species of the salt marsh. Further, salt marsh plants and animals are used as an example of a complex food web.
Delving further into an aspect of an ecosystem, a controlled “burn” in a forest illustrates the cycling of nutrients in an ecosystem. The story shows how carbon and nitrogen are released and reused by the environment after a forest fire, and how some plants depend on fires to trigger new growth. Finally, Dr. Warren Blier explains the effect of global weather patterns on climate. Detailing the importance of precipitation zones, Dr. Mark Poth takes us on a tour of the ecosystems found at different elevations on a mountain.