Life on Earth

Life on Earth

Planet Earth is an amazing place.  Despite our futile attempts, humans have not been able to locate signs of life anywhere in the Universe, except that is, within what we know as the biosphere, that thin film that exists around the surface of the Earth.  The biosphere is a complex set of interactions between the Earth’s crust, the oceans, seas, lakes and rivers and that lower Earth hugging layer of the atmosphere, the troposphere.

All life we know exists in this precarious zone, sometimes at risk to the unpredictable vagaries of an ever-changing environment.  But life does exist, it exits in bounteous and magnificent diversity.  From north to south, from east to west, choose a location and head in any direction you will find life being expressed in all its wonder, everything from microscopic unicellular organisms to mighty Sequoia trees.  It matters little how extreme the conditions or how remote the location, you will find life.

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Throughout recent history, it became apparent that life forms around the world were distributed differently with regard to what lives where and in what kind of numbers.  Latitude and longitude, topography, marine, terrestrial and climatic factors interact to produced broadly divided areas of the globe that support a wide and not always distinct set of organisms.  These are known as biogeographical regions and traditionally divide the planet into 7 large regions; East Palearctic, West Palearctic, Nearctic, Neotropical, Afrotropical, Oriental and Australasian.

But these are huge expanses of the planet, so subdivision was needed to help identify why things live where they do and how they have evolved to do so.  Reducing the area involved and introducing an altitudinal element gave rise to biomes.  A biome compartmentalizes fauna, flora and fungi into a narrower range of shared environmental characteristics.  But they still encompass large ranges.  Over the years, biomes have been increased into a narrower range of more specific conditions.  Not all ecologists agree with the classification but essentially, we have 30 terrestrial, marine, inland aquatic and cave biomes, more commonly known as ecosystems.

But these ecosystems are still large.  Within an ecosystem is a more localized set of characters which provide all requirements for any particular species to thrive and reproduce.  These characters are known as a habitat and contain both biotic and abiotic elements.

At Veridion Adventures we will be visiting all the biogeographical regions, we will be exploring different ecosystems and looking closely at the rich biodiversity supported by many types of habitat.  The guides are earth and life scientists who will help untangle and explain the myriad of complex interactions that is the ecology of each habitat.

We hope you will come with us and delve into the task of unravelling some of the secrets of this wonderful planet.  It is all going to be fun and excitement.  There is going to be a lot to see.  I look forward to meeting you soon.

Philip Davison

Owner/operator Veridion Adventures

www.veridionadventures.co.uk

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