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By Todd H. Otis

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Countless textbooks and research papers have been written about ecological systems, what they are, how to study them and how to protect them. The discussion here provides merely a cursory treatment of this important subject. Consider first the matter of defining what is meant by an ecosystem. Here are three possible definitions among many. ’ (Arico 1998: p. 41) Schramm & Hubert (1996: pp. 6-7) state that ‘an ecosystem is a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment.

Second, a natural capital analysis shows precisely how large harvest levels, which look good in standard economic terms, lead to depreciation (reduction) of the natural capital. This is like spendingmore than we earn, so our savingsaccount declinesto zero, or not maintaining ourmachines, until eventuallythe factory falls apart. In this way, we can explain what underlies the all too common fishery collapses around the world. 3 The ecosystem The preceding discussion highlights the fact that the populations offished species on the long list presented above do not live in isolation from one another.

Second, they may generate flows that affect spawning and larvae dispersal. Third, ‘internalwaves’ can be generated, increasing nutrient levels in certain parts of the water column. Freshwaterhaltwater interactions occur within estuaries, where specific local water circulation patterns are found, in ‘plumes’where fresh water from rivers and estuaries is carried onto the continental shelf, and more generally due to tidal mixing in coastal areas of the ocean. e. winds, ocean currents, freshwater outflows and tidal waters.

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