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NAU BIO 435C - Simonovic_Kristina_Term_Paper

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Kristina SimonovicBIO435C05-13-2018Term PaperClimate ChangeClimate change has already had an observable effect on this planet with no signs of slowing down. One of the main indicators that climate change is in full effect is the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide exceeding 400 parts per million (US Global Change Research Program 2009). This is significantly higher than we’ve ever seen in the past. The effects of climate change have also been seen through an overall increase in global temperature by almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1980 (US Global Change Research Program 2009). Further evidence of climate change is indicated by the melting of ice sheets and the rising of sea levels (US GlobalChange Research Program 2009). Climate change is caused by an oversaturation of water vapor, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and methane gases in the atmosphere preventing heat from escaping, resulting in an overall increase in global temperatures. This in turn causes the ice sheets to melt, and sea levels to rise. The burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, increase theconcentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and human’s are daily contributors to the greenhouse effect (US Global Change Research Program 2009). Scientists believe that these conditions will continue to intensify, as humans increase their carbon footprint. The current status of our ecosystem causes us to question whether the global effects can be mitigated. Mitigation of the effects of climate change is the earth’s way of repairing itself by reversing the harmful effects overtime. The ecosystem in which humans inhabit has a way of adapting to climate change in response to the changing environment. The adaptation of theseeffects is the planet’s attempt to restore the compromised functionality of the ecosystem. Evolution has a way of mitigating these effects on its own through natural selection. The planet will continue to evolve in order to sustain the ever-changing life that nature selects for in accordance with the changing environment caused by climate change.Bioremediation demonstrates one way in which Earth is adapting to the environmental change. Bioremediation is the use of microbes in soil to detoxify pollutants that are contaminating and harming the environment. Climate change is responsible for exposing the environment to several pollutants. Soil microbes are ecologically beneficial due to their ability todecompose organic matter as well as transform nutrients (Wang et al. 2015). Furthermore, soil bacterial communities aid in nutrient cycling, allowing for the bacteria to secrete biopolymer degrading enzymes that will decompose plant matter and in turn release nutrients into the soil (Wang et al. 2015). Through enriching the soil with microbes, it is possible to completely breakdown pollutants within the soil (Fuentes et al. 2014). Bioremediation is centralized upon microbial activity within the environment. Through bioremediation, soil microbes are capable of restoring the ecosystem over time. This major advancement is highly cost effective as well as sustainable and has the potential to restore the compromised conditions of Earth’s ecosystem.Overtime, host-parasite coevolution has played an important role in the mitigation of the harmful effects caused by climate change. The microbe-soil interaction wasn’t always consideredmutualistic. The effects of climate change have been a catalyst for the coevolution between host and parasite, making it a beneficial interaction for both the microbe and its soil environment. By the process of bioremediation, bacteria use the contaminant as a source of energy while purifyingthe environment, resulting in mutualism (Fuentes et al. 2014). Microbes living in soil gradually gained the ability to decompose the contaminants and convert them into nutrients while in turngaining a source of energy. This interaction between soil and microbes became so strong that what started out as an antagonistic relationship became mutualistic. Soil bacteria serve to aid in ecological regulation. There are many benefits to having bacteria present in soil. For instance, soil microbes facilitate decomposition of organic matter resulting in enriched soil and exponential plant growth (Heijden et al. 2007). In addition, bacteriaare one of few organisms that are capable of nitrogen fixation. Soil bacteria enable the process ofconverting nitrogen to ammonium, which is then released back into the atmosphere at the completion of photosynthesis (Heijden et al. 2007). Regulation of nitrogen levels in the soil is necessary to create ideal soil conditions for plant productivity to be abundant and diverse (Heijden et al. 2007). Furthermore, specific microbes including cellulose-decomposing microbes are seen to increase the amount of nutrients in soil, which generates new species of plants that inhabit the Earth (Heijden et al. 2007). Abundant microbes within the soil contribute to an increase in species richness, and greater species diversity, in turn, creates a very stable ecosystem(Heijden et al. 2007). Natural selection favors a genetically diverse ecosystem. Maintaining a genetically diverse ecosystem is key because the quality of human life is directly dependent on the current ecological conditions of the planet. Anthropogenic impact on the environment has lead to critical conditions within the ecosystem that is best reversible through the support of microbes. The use of bioremediation offers a highly sustainable solution that can introduce restoration of damaging human impact within the ecosystem.Life on this planet directly relies on the ecosystem to sustain existence and reproduction. With the constant degradation of the ecosystem promoted by anthropogenic impact, the ecosystem is in dire need of repair. Human’s depend on the ecosystem in all aspects of survival whether it’s a source of food, medication, oxygen, etc. Nature’s response to the degradation ofthe ecosystem is already taking place, however, human impact is exceeding the rate at which the Earth cannot keep up with restoration. In order to combat the worsening conditions of the ecosystem, action must be taken in order to accelerate the reversal of these effects. Human’s are responsible for reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the application of renewable energy. By reducing the burning of fossil fuels, the effects of climate change can be reduced to a manageable rate. REFERENCESUS Global Change Research


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