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Ecosystem Function, Structure and Change Essay

Lake Tahoe is a large lake that is almost split in half by the border of California and Nevada. Lake Tahoe’s surface area is about 191, 500 square miles with a depth of about 500 meters. Lake Tahoe is listed as the 26th largest lake by volume. The vegetation around the lake supports a variety of plant life and animal life, as well as a very diverse organism community. The vegetation around the lake consists of a mixture of Jeffry Pine, lodgepole Pine, and both white and red fir’s. Vegetation also includes both wet and dry meadows and brush fields. The brush field Ceanothus has the capability of fixing nitrogen that makes the soil of the surrounding lake more fertile. There are several processes that prevail inside and outside the lake. The lake is under threat from eutrophication that can severely affect the aquatic life living in it and the surrounding vegetation. It has been estimated that there has been changes in the populations of the various aquatic animals living in the lake’s waters.

Zooplankton population has faced the greatest changes. The lake experiences both winter and summer seasons, which in that area of the country can be extreme. Temperatures can go as high as 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and as low as sub-zero in the winter. The vegetation surrounding the lake experiences these temperature changes and responds to this stimulus by the change in leaf colors and leaf numbers. The seasonal changes also affect the different mammal activities and interactions in the surrounding environment. Human activity around the lake is considerably high. Historically, the area around the lake was inhabited by Native Americans. The lake, because of its natural beauty and vegetation is a great attraction spot for tourists who wish to ski and fish. Because of the surrounding human population, there have been attempts to dispose of the raw sewage away from the lake basin but this strategy has not proved to be that useful.

This is because the eutrophication levels of the lake water are rising at a considerably high rate. The nitrogen and phosphorus levels of lake are increasing because of the high amounts of these elements and their compounds in the sewage water. The phytoplankton population present in the lake’s water is a natural tool that is reducing the levels as we speak. However, the rate of this natural proves might not be able to cope with the nitrogen and phosphorus amounts in the future if per say the sewage problem is not dealt with effectively in time. [Strong, 1999] The need for effective ecological planning is essential in today’s world where industry and technology is growing at a remarkable rate. Ecological planers plan to protect the nature’s true works and work hard to promote awareness against ecological deterioration.

There are several things that planning requires. The lake is surrounded by vegetation and is home to hundreds of aquatic life forms. The vegetation and the mammalian life inside it is directly dependent on the lake for food and nourishment. This is because the primary protein source shall be the fish inside the lake for the land animals. Ecologists use these types of useful information to develop plans for management and restoration. In this case, the ecologists shall consider the water quality of the lake to be of the greatest importance. They shall ensure that there is little human interference in the natural habitats of the vegetation’s animals to allow the natural ecosystem to flourish because human interferences can cause migrations.

The ecologists shall calculate the area required by the lake and the surrounding vegetation and shall accordingly present the data for further use. If in the future, companies or industries aim to industrialize the area, the ecologists shall use the data to calculate the risk of opening an industry to the environment. Ecologists that use preservation techniques to help preserve natural ecosystems give often consider the importance of an ecosystem by looking for any endangered or rare species inhabiting the area. The conservation of these rare species keeps ecologists busy. Ecological interactions between species are numerous and some types of standards only occur rarely or in specific climates and/or seasons. Lake Tahoe is an example of the hundreds of natural ecosystems found on the planet. Each ecosystem has a unique setup and the organisms populating it are dependent on it in every way. The presentation of these ecosystems is a responsibility for humans.

Lake Tahoe. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Tahoe

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