Introducing the Biosphere (01:49)
The biosphere is the part of Earth where life occurs, including plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms. All forms of life depend on each other and on non-living Earth systems for survival, including the hydrosphere, atmosphere, and geosphere.
Components of the Biosphere (02:24)
The biosphere can be considered all living and past organisms. They are organized into kingdoms, including Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Protista, and Monera. They all have tissues that return to Earth as compounds. Fossils help scientists learn about the history of life.
Evolution of the Biosphere (02:37)
One theory says that conditions became favorable for amino acids to form between 4.4 billion and 2.7 billion years ago. Another theory says that meteorites brought organic molecules to Earth. A third theory holds that life formed in deep ocean vents. All agree that life started in the oceans. Learn about genetic mutations and natural selection.
Habitats in the Biosphere (02:27)
Natural selection facilitates organisms being adapted to their living environments for survival. Earth systems, including the hydrosphere, atmosphere, and geosphere, determine habitat conditions. Biomes include tundra, deserts, rain forests, temperate deciduous forests, grasslands, and taiga.
Interdependent Biosphere (02:03)
Hear how plants make their own food through photosynthesis. Food chains consist of producers, herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, and scavengers. During cellular respiration, living things burn glucose and release carbon dioxide and water to the biosphere.
Carbon in the Biosphere (02:03)
Carbon bonds easily with other elements in Earth systems. Learn about its role in photosynthesis. Fossil fuels are made from Devonian Era carbon deposits. Carbonates bind with calcium to form limestone and marble.
Changes in the Biosphere (03:36)
Between 4.4 billion and 2.7 billion years ago, single-celled organisms began producing food through photosynthesis— adding oxygen to the atmosphere and allowing more complex life to evolve. Moving to land increased habitat diversity. Learn about human contributions to species extinctions.
Biosphere and Geosphere (02:19)
The geosphere provides habitats for living organisms. Living things return elements to the geosphere when they decompose. Humans rely on the geosphere for building materials, agriculture, and energy sources, and live along coastlines. Hear how the geosphere impacts the biosphere.
Biosphere and Fluid Spheres (03:01)
The human body is comprised of 60% water, and water provides habitats for marine organisms. Plants use water and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. Plants and animals contribute to the nitrogen cycle. Hear how the water cycle affects living things through weather and climate.
Humans and the Earth System (03:01)
Humans first appeared on Earth about 200,000 years ago. Hunters and gatherers followed animal herds, eventually migrating north from Africa. Crop cultivation began 10,000 years ago. Humans use the geosphere for building materials, soil, mineral and energy resources; the hydrosphere for water; and the atmosphere for air. Today, greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.
Credits: Exploring the Biosphere: Visions of Earth (01:05)
Credits: Exploring the Biosphere: Visions of Earth
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