Sierra College Department of Biological Sciences

Discover the Biological Sciences

The introductory information for this site has been contributed as a joint assignment by students in Bio. Sci. 10.

Ecology - Global Ecology (Biosphere Studies)

By: Mark Clement

Global Ecology

Too often life is defined as and summarized by repetitive and mundane tasks that we do each and every day. Life is more than simple tasks. It encompasses our interaction, whether we are cognizant of it or not, with other living organisms and our interdependence upon each other and our environment. Each day that we breath, eat, walk, and in any way function we contribute to our ecosystem. We contribute to the stability of and the efficiency of the biosphere that we inhabit, earth. Our global ecosystem is a balance of many factors that interact and indeed depend on each other in order to perpetuate.

The topic of global ecology (biosphere) opens up to us an understanding of the factors of why our planet is the only one in our solar system capable of sustaining life and what our role is in maintaining it’s delicate balance.

There is a codependence between plant, animal life, and the non-living matter in our global ecosystem. In order to sustain itself, plant life requires carbon dioxide, which is expelled by animals and humans. In turn, plant life releases oxygen into the atmosphere. This oxygen is used to sustain animal and human life as well as making up the ozone which protects us from harmful light. As the level of carbon dioxide in the air increases and the greenhouse effect increases, global temperature levels rise. With this temperature rise, there is more moisture in the air and so more rain. This rain pulls carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, which reduces the greenhouse effect. Thus reducing the temperature. The carbon dioxide seeps into the ocean and soil and eventually ends up deep in the earth where it is heated and released through volcanoes back into the atmosphere. This cycle acts as a natural thermostat, regulating important factors that help stabilize the earth’s biosphere. The earth, plant, and animal life all contribute to the well-balanced global ecosystem that if maintained will continue to sustain life for a long time to come.

In studying this topic I came across many intriguing discoveries. One that stands out most is that of the uniqueness of the Earth in our solar system. Each of the other planets lack at least one important aspect that our earth possesses. Even lacking only one of these aspects renders a planet unable to sustain life. Whether it is proper gravity, oxygen, temperature, seasons, water, distance from the sun, the ridiculously convenient accessibility to a Starbucks, etc., the Earth is alone in providing all of the requirements necessary to sustaining life.


Bennet, Jeffery., et al. The Essential Cosmic Perspective. 4th ed. San Francisco, CA:
Pearson Addison-Wesley, 2007

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