The planetary ecosystem

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Aerial photography, Yukon Delta, Alaska, USA
Yukon Delta, Alaska, USA – photo: USGS

Basic forms of plant life

When basic forms of plant life developed the process of photosynthesis the sun’s energy could be harvested to create conditions which allowed for more complex life forms. Cells within colonies became increasingly specialized, resulting in true multicellular organisms. With the ozone layer absorbing harmful ultraviolet radiation, life colonized the surface of Earth.

The first form of life to develop on the Earth were microbes, and they remained the only form of life until about a billion years ago when multi-cellular organisms began to appear. Microorganisms are single-celled organisms that are generally microscopic, and smaller than the human eye can see. They include Bacteria, Fungi, Archaea, and Protista.

These life forms are found in almost every location on the Earth where there is liquid water, including in the Earth’s interior.

Their reproduction is both rapid and profuse. The combination of a high mutation rate and a horizontal gene transfer They form an essential part of the planetary ecosystem. However, some microorganisms are pathogenic and can post health risk to other organisms.

Classifying plants

Among the many ways of classifying plants are by regional floras, which, depending on the purpose of study, can also include fossil flora, remnants of plant life from a previous era. People in many regions and countries take great pride in their individual arrays of characteristic flora, which can vary widely across the globe due to differences in climate and terrain.

Regional floras commonly are divided into categories such as native flora and agricultural and garden flora, the lastly mentioned of which are intentionally grown and cultivated.

Some types of ‘native flora’ actually have been introduced centuries ago by people migrating from one region or continent to another, and become an integral part of the native, or natural flora of the place to which they were introduced. This is an example of how human interaction with nature can blur the boundary of what is considered nature.

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Jane Roe

Jane Roe

Jane is a 24-year-old researcher who enjoys charity work, cycling and cookery. She is allergic to artificial food colourings. She has a severe phobia of sharks, and is obsessed with milkshakes.