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what does the biosphere contain

what does the biosphere contain

what does the biosphere contain

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The biosphere is made up of the parts of Earth where life exists. and The biosphere extends from the deepest root systems of trees to the dark environment of ocean trenches, to lush rain forests and high mountaintops.

also The biosphere is made up of the parts of Earth where life exists. The biosphere extends from the deepest root systems of trees, to the dark environment of ocean trenches, to lush rain forests and high mountaintops.

what does the biosphere contain
what does the biosphere contain

Scientists describe the Earth in terms of spheres. The solid surface layer of the Earth is the lithosphere. The atmosphere is the layer of air that stretches above the lithosphere. The Earth’s water—on the surface, in the ground, and in the air—makes up the hydrosphere.

Since life exists on the ground, in the air, and in the water, the biosphere overlaps all these spheres. Although the biosphere measures about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from top to bottom, almost all life exists between about 500 meters (1,640 feet) below the ocean’s surface to about 6 kilometers (3.75 miles) above sea level.

Origin of the Biosphere

The biosphere has existed for about 3.5 billion years. The biosphere’s earliest life-forms, called prokaryotes, survived without oxygen. Ancient prokaryotes included single-celled organisms such as bacteria and archaea.

Some prokaryotes developed a unique chemical process. They were able to use sunlight to make simple sugars and oxygen out of water and carbon dioxide, a process called photosynthesis. These photosynthetic organisms were so plentiful that they changed the biosphere. Over a long period of time, the atmosphere developed a mix of oxygen and other gases that could sustain new forms of life.

The addition of oxygen to the biosphere allowed more complex life-forms to evolve. Millions of different plants and other photosynthetic species developed. Animals, which consume plants (and other animals) evolved. Bacteria and other organisms evolved to decompose, or break down, dead animals and plants.

The biosphere benefits from this food web. The remains of dead plants and animals release nutrients into the soil and ocean. These nutrients are re-absorbed by growing plants. This exchange of food and energy makes the biosphere a self-supporting and self-regulating system.

The biosphere is sometimes thought of as one large ecosystem—a complex community of living and nonliving things functioning as a single unit. More often, however, the biosphere is described as having many ecosystems.

what does the biosphere contain
what does the biosphere contain

Biosphere Reserves

People play an important part in maintaining the flow of energy in the biosphere. Sometimes, however, people disrupt the flow. For example, in the atmosphere, oxygen levels decrease and carbon dioxide levels increase when people clear forests or burn fossil fuels such as coal and oil. Oil spills and industrial wastes threaten life in the hydrosphere. The future of the biosphere will depend on how people interact with other living things within the zone of life.

In the early 1970s, the United Nations established a project called Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), which promotes sustainable development. A network of biosphere reserves exists to establish a working, balanced relationship between people and the natural world.

Currently, there are 563 biosphere reserves all over the world. The first biosphere reserve was established in Yangambi, Democratic Republic of Congo. Yangambi, in the fertile Congo River Basin, has 32,000 species of trees and such endemic species as forest elephants and red river hogs. The biosphere reserve at Yangambi supports activities such as sustainable agriculture, hunting, and mining.

One of the newest biosphere reserves is in Yayu, Ethiopia. The area is developed for agriculture. Crops such as honey, timber, and fruit are regularly cultivated. However, Yayu’s most profitable and valuable resource is an indigenous species of plant, Coffea arabica. This shrub is the source of coffee. Yayu has the largest source of wild Coffea arabica in the world.

The biosphere is simply the home of all known life that has ever existed in the entire universe.

what does the biosphere contain
what does the biosphere contain

What Are the 3 Parts of the Biosphere?

Generally defined, the portion of the universe where all life is found is called the biosphere. Since scientists have not found organisms beyond planet Earth, the biosphere is defined as the parts of Earth where life exists. The biosphere is made of three parts, called the lithosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere. Some portions of each may not support life, however; for example, the upper regions of the atmosphere do not support life, while the lower regions do.

This general definition of the biosphere is commonly accepted, although geologists sometimes define the biosphere more narrowly to include only the life itself – the bacteria, algae, plants and animals, including humans, that inhabit the earth, instead of their environments. Under these more narrow definitions, the biosphere forms a fourth part of the Earth system and interacts with the other three.

The biosphere is the portion of Earth where life occurs — the portions of the land, water and air that hold life. These parts are known, respectively, as the lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. The lithosphere is the land mass, excluding Earth’s mantle and core, which do not support life. The hydrosphere is the aquatic portion of the planet, all of which supports life. The atmosphere is the air that living organisms use for respiration, and which supports life up to 2,000 meters above the planet’s surface.

The Lithosphere

The lithosphere is the terrestrial part of the biosphere. It consists of the solid land masses, such as continents and islands. The deeper parts of the lithosphere, known as the lower mantle and the core, do not support life. The rest of the lithosphere supports a variety of life from bacteria to large mammals and trees hundreds of feet tall. The weathering of the lithosphere crust forms soil, which provides minerals and organic waste to support life. In addition, the land provides shelter and protection for animals from weather and predators, and an anchor for plants.

The Hydrosphere

The hydrosphere is the aquatic part of the biosphere. This includes oceans, rivers, lakes and other bodies of water. Unlike the lithosphere and the atmosphere, every portion of the hydrosphere supports life. Specially-adapted bacteria grow in hot springs, tube worms form the basis of sulfur-based communities around deep-sea, hydrothermal vents, and in more hospitable regions, life abounds. Water-dwelling individuals of virtually every taxonomic group of plants and animals have been identified as important parts of the biosphere. Water is essential to life, and the hydrosphere also plays an important part in atmosphere formation.

The Atmosphere

The atmosphere is the gaseous envelope surrounding a planet. On Earth, it is also called air. The lower regions of the atmosphere contain gases such as oxygen and carbon dioxide that are essential for plant and animal respiration. Birds, insects and other life can be found up to approximately 2,000 meters above the earth’s surface. The atmosphere also plays critical roles in shaping the biosphere by deflecting harmful radiation from the sun and determining weather patterns.

what does the biosphere contain
what does the biosphere contain


What Percent of the Earth is Covered by the Lithosphere?

You feel the earth unsteady beneath your feet, shifting and shaking. It is an earthquake! That is what happens when rocks in the lithosphere have been stressed too much and break. The lithosphere is the rocky layer that covers the entire earth, both continents and oceans. It has two parts: the crust and the upper mantle.

Top Layer

The crust varies in thickness. Under the oceans it is only 3 to 5 miles deep, but the continental crust extends about 25 miles. At the surface the crust is air temperature, but at its deepest parts it can reach 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit. The most common elements in the rocky layer are oxygen, silicon and aluminum.


Below the crust, the top layer of the upper mantle is also part of the lithosphere. With the crust and mantle section combined, the lithosphere is about 50 feet deep. In addition to oxygen and silicon, the upper mantle also contains significant amounts of iron and magnesium. This part of the lithosphere is denser than the crust.


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