Example research essay topic: Disruption Of The Food Chain As A Result Of O-zone Depletion – 618 words

Ozone is a form of oxygen that is a human-made
pollutant in the troposphere but a naturally
produced, essential component in the stratosphere,
which encircles our planet some 6 to 28 miles
above the surface. The stratosphere contains a
layer of ozone that shields the surface from much
of the ultraviolet radiation coming from the sun.
If ozone was to disappear from the stratosphere
Earth would be uninhabitable for most organisms.
The primary cause for this substantial ozone loss
is a group of compounds called chlorofluorocarbons
(CFCs). CFCs have been used in aerosol cans as
propellants, as coolants in air conditioners, and
refrigerators, as foam blowing agents for
insulation as well as packaging like styrofoam.
Other compounds that may attack the ozone include:
halons, methyl bromide, methyl chloroform, and
carbon tetrachloride. As CFCs drift up into the
atmosphere the UV radiation breaks them down,
releasing chlorine. Bromine is released by the
breakdown of halons and methyl bromide in the
atmosphere. Under certain conditions in the
stratosphere, chlorine and bromide are capable of
attacking ozone and converting it to oxygen.

UV
radiation has the potential to penetrate tens of
feet into clear ocean water. As we know, the
entire marine food chain is based on
phytoplankton, which float on or near the top of
water bodies. Phytoplankton are the producers,
they are on the first trophic level in the aquatic
food chain. Phytoplankton is extremely sensitive
to UV levels; scientists have found that
phytoplankton decreases mobility, changes in
photosynthesis and enzymatic reactions under UV
radiation. Studies in Antarctica, directly under
the ozone hole, found the rates of phytoplankton
production to be depressed relative to similar
areas. With a decrease of Phytoplankton in the
water other fish will have to rely on other food
sources, or they too will begin to decline.

Higher
levels of ultraviolet radiation could also reduce
global plant coverage, thus enhancing climatic
change. Plants have shown direct effects of UV are
on photosynthesis and growth. More subtle changes
related to UV are a delay in flowering, shift in
distribution of leaves, changes in leaf structure,
or a change in plant metabolism. The effects of
this are wide spread; shifts in plant population
and bio-diversity could be dramatically changed.
Plants may start to loose ground to neighboring
plants. If plants flower later, pollination would
be forced to change. Plant leaves may not catch as
much carbon dioxide, causing even greater
problems.

Loblolly pine indicates retardation of
growth and photosynthesis resulting from enhanced
levels of ultraviolet rays. With trees and plants
becoming more vulnerable to UV rays, animals that
live in and around them may be chased out forced
to find other living space, therefore encroaching
onto land inhabited by other species. If the
number of plants and trees declines steadily, the
food chain that depends on them with have a steady
decline as well. Animals everywhere depend on
plant life directly or indirectly. If one trophic
level declines, the next level is forced also to
decline due to their biomass relations. A loss of
90% biomass occurs at each trophic level, if at
the first trophic level there is 10,000 lbs of
food energy, and at the second there is 1,000, if
plant life, the producer decreases by 20 percent
the effects on all the trophic levels are
devastating.

Extinction will be on an upward
slope, while oxygen levels are decreasing
Depletion of the ozone layer allows for more UV
rays to hit the earths surface, with no protection
from this, and no way for the heat to escape, the
result may be even more devastating. The result of
this is called global warming. The effects of
global warming are far reaching and could be
devastating to plant and animal life on earth..

Research essay sample on Disruption Of The Food Chain As A Result Of O zone Depletion