The functions and structure of the biosphere briefly
Planet Earth combines unique components that allowed it to be born sometime and since then to get wide distribution and diversity of life. Within our Solar system, no other planet has yet discovered the existence of such a large amount of biomass in all of its complex and multifaceted manifestations. This once again confirms how unusual, beautiful and unique our Earth is. It is endowed with such qualities by the shell - the biosphere. Her and consider in more detail in this article.
The concept of the biosphere
In the general understanding of this term, it is customary to denote the whole diversity of living beings on our planet and the products they produce. However, the structure of the biosphere is strictly delimited; it has its components, limits, and performs certain functions.
Literally, the term can be translated as "sphere of life." It accurately captures the essence. In general, the biosphere, its structure and functions are the subject of study of more than one generation of scientists.But only V. I. Vernadsky, who defined this concept as a set of all existing ecosystems and their products, was able to create a holistic theory, teaching.
History of the term
The very first scientist who expressed the idea that living beings interact with each other, produce products and thereby influence the environment and the planet as a whole, became Jean Baptiste Lamarck. As early as the 18th century, he pointed out that biomass was actively involved in the formation of the earth's crust.
After him, many scientists, naturalists were engaged in the study of this issue and confirmed this statement. For example, the concept of the biosphere, its structure was described by Edward Süss in the XIX century. However, they did not take into account many facts, so the holistic picture did not work out.
But our Russian scientist V.I. Vernadsky and the Frenchman Teilhard de Chardin were able to create a real volumetric doctrine, which gave a full description of this concept, explaining what the biosphere is, its structure and boundaries. The fundamental role was played by Vernadsky.
Structure of the biosphere
The main elements constituting the essence of the shell of the Earth include various types of substances in it. Vernadsky distinguished horizontal and vertical structure of the biosphere.The first includes the coverage of all possible envelopes of the Earth by living creatures. You can consider the structure of the horizontal biosphere as follows:
- The upper boundary is the lower layer of the atmosphere (ozone). About 10 kilometers from the surface of the Earth. Above, no organism is viable, since there are strict limiting limits on the concentration of oxygen and ultraviolet radiation. At this altitude, only spores of fungi and bacteria that can get there from the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and so on, are capable of development and life.
- The lower boundary is different for the lithosphere and hydrosphere. The soil (lithosphere) can be inhabited by representatives of wildlife to a depth of 7.5 km. Here are organisms such as bacteria, fungal spores, protozoa. The limiting factors are pressure, lack of oxygen and light, and water content limitation.
- The composition and structure of the biosphere also includes the hydrosphere, and to a depth of 11 km. All layers are important because they are densely populated with living creatures.
Types of dwellers
The hydrosphere is the structure of the biosphere, which includes absolutely all water sources: oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, swamps, and so on. Organisms at the place of distribution in the aquatic environment are divided into:
- planktonic - occupy surface waters, the movement is carried out without the expenditure of energy by the flow of water;
- nekton - the middle part of reservoirs;
- the benthic part - it consists of those creatures that live at the bottom and bury themselves in silt.
The structure of the biosphere, according to Vernadsky, in the lower part of the crust is limited to traces of the so-called past biospheres. These are fossils accumulated in bulk, and formed mountain and sedimentary rocks.
Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky isolated several types of substances that make up the total mass of the biosphere as a whole. First of all, it is a living substance. It consists of the whole biomass. That is, a representative of absolutely any kingdom of nature, including viruses, can be attributed to this group.
The elementary structure of the biosphere is a biocenosis, which is also included in the composition of living matter. Man and all his activities, which are aimed at the relationship with animals, plants, microorganisms, is also part of living matter.
The evolution and structure of the biosphere are formed in such a way that the distribution of biomass on the planet is uneven.The main overwhelming majority of living creatures are in the upper layer of the soil, the terrestrial environment of life and the near-surface ocean layer. The depths of the hydro and lithosphere remain sparsely populated places.
Living matter, the amount of which reflects the structure of the biosphere, can be briefly distributed by mass as follows:
- The overwhelming majority are in invertebrates, protozoa and microorganisms.
- The second most common are plants.
- Higher vertebrate animals are the smallest group.
- Man and all his activities occupy a special position in the composition of the living matter of the biosphere.
With such a distribution, biomass products are nevertheless produced by different groups in different quantities. So, the main part of the necessary substances give plants (about 92%). Invertebrates bring the least useful products, although in number they are in the first place.
Vernadsky noted that biocenoses are an important structural part of the biosphere, and all processes occurring inside them are decisive in nature and evolution. Looking at the quantitative distribution of biomass, it becomes obviousthat imperfect species prevail, those that are at a lower stage of evolution, are more simply organized and best adapted.
In general, the living substance of the biosphere plays a certain role, which can be expressed in several points.
Functions of living matter
The constant circulation of atoms, molecules, compounds between elements of animate and inanimate nature is one of the fundamental characteristics of the biosphere as a whole. The transformation of energy, maintaining the constancy of the composition, geological innovations and transformations - all this is done by biomass and as a result is a necessary condition for the existence and formation of the biosphere. Specifically, biomass also performs a number of other important functions.
- Gas exchange function. The structure of the biosphere affects a significant part of the atmosphere. And it, in turn, is formed under the influence of carbon dioxide and oxygen. It is known that the gas that supports life produces for all living beings, including for themselves, the green friends of our planet - plants. The remaining living organisms are only consumers and producers of carbon dioxide.Nevertheless, together biomass has a significant impact on the change in the composition of the atmospheric air, that is, it performs the gas function.
- The concentration role of biomass. It consists in the accumulation of certain compounds, atoms and molecules and their transfer in the form of waste products or after dying off to a non-living environment.
- Biochemical function. Modern science in the structure of the biosphere plays an important role in the noosphere. And it is closely associated with biochemical transformations occurring inside living organisms. Vernadsky himself defined it as the sphere of reason and human capabilities when acting on wildlife, its composition and functioning. The fact that a person has the ability to intervene in almost all biochemical transformations in living systems, can control them, adjust for themselves and benefit from it, is the highest achievement of the human mind. This includes the noosphere, as well as any mechanical, technical, genetic and mutagenetic effects that people can have on the living world. The scientist assigned a special place to the ability of people to protect and protect the living, to find ways out of difficult situations of extinction and environmental pollution.
Energy, or redox function
The main producers of energy are plants. After all, they in the process of photosynthesis are able to absorb solar energy and transfer it into another form that is digestible for other living organisms - chemical bonds in the compounds of the reserve nutrient.
Further, animals are connected to energy conversion, ecological food chains and pyramids begin to work. The result is the accumulation in geological rocks of such minerals, energy-rich chemical compounds such as oil, gas, coal, peat and others. Also, some of the energy is dissipated into the environment, creating a certain atmospheric background. The definition and structure of the biosphere boils down to the fact that this particular function is the most significant and important.
Another element that characterizes the biosphere, its structure and functions, is an inert substance. This includes all compounds, objects, materials, and so on, in the creation of which did not participate living organisms. A typical example is:
- volcanic eruptions (magma and its products);
- the movement of underground plates and the resulting substances;
- meteorites and other space discoveries on the surface of the Earth.
Together with living creatures, the inert affects how the structure of the biosphere is formed.
Such a product should include the joint harmonious result of the production of living and inert substances. For example, soil, topsoil, and deeper subsurface layers. The soil is a living environment for a huge number of living beings, but at the same time rocks and tectonic plate movements, meteoric remains, chemical compounds and other components are involved in its formation.
Also to such substances can be attributed, and water, the atmosphere, the crust of weathering. The term "bio-substance" was introduced by Vernadsky himself in 1926. Today, many models have been created that reflect the structure of the biosphere. Pictures on this subject are widely distributed.
By name it becomes clear that living organisms took part in the formation of this material, but later it became inanimate. These nutrients include:
- various ores;
- chalk and limestone and others.
Thus, the functional structure of the biosphere is represented not only by the shell of the planet, but also by the main types of substances within the Earth.
The evolution of the biosphere in Vernadsky
Of course, we reviewed the structure of the biosphere briefly. For example, Vernadsky took more than one year to describe the main key points. Therefore, we considered only common features.