Organism, Environment and Change

“An adult person made to remain naked in sun in a hot day in Sahara desert will die before the night expires.”

The above observation illustrates the intimate importance of the environment for a living organism.

Life manifests itself through a body. The body is sustained by its environment. It is as it should be, because a living cell is such a complex and delicate organism which needs a constant and uninterrupted expenditure of energy to maintain it. In addition the vital functions that characterize a life require energy.  Environment is the source of energy and matter for the organism. So the environment is vital to its survival. An healthy environment possesses all that the organism need in such forms as may be accessed by the organism. Additionally a healthy environment has the wherewithal for the processing and disposal of the metabolic waste.

The following example very well illustrates the interrelationships of organism and environment. Few drops of rain water or dew may get stuck in the crevices on the surface of a bare rock exposed to sun. These few drops may initiate a process which leads to the conversion of the rock to soil particles eventually. Water drops may be absorbed by the fungal component of crustose lichenes by virtue of its hygroscopic nature while the algal component manufactures organic matter by photosynthesis. With time colonies of crustose lichene are able to grow there. Crevices on the rock surface and organic content of the substratum increase as also its water retaining capacity. Now the surface is capable of holding foliose lichenes followed with fructose ones which have larger bodies and greater water requirement. The invaders cast shade over the previous occupants, which are now deprived of sunlight and are unable to compete for water. This results in their eventual disappearance. The process continues. Simultaneously decomposing bacteria appear. Transformation of the substratum is hastened.  Rock is replaced by soil. Lichenes are replaced by higher forms of plants and associated insects. Many animals too find it suitable to adopt it as their habitat.

Process of transformation of a bare rock into soil exemplifies the mutual relationships between organisms and environment. The metabolic activities of organisms bring about changes in the environment; the changed environment may become less favourable to the pre-existing communities and more favourable for pioneering the advent of fresh communities. Subsequently the pre-existing communities may be totally replaced by the newer communities. Side by side the surroundings undergo irreversible change.

Constant adaptation is required because the surroundings keep on changing. Organisms change structurally as well as physiologically by the process of adaptation so that its communication with the changed surroundings is not disrupted. Change is inevitable. Organism itself is the agent of change. Environment and the organism simultaneously pass through the phenomenon of evolution.
An healthy environment possesses all that the organisms need, in such forms as may be accessed by the organism. Additionally a healthy environment has the wherewithal for the processing and disposal of the metabolic wastes. Environment is said to be polluted when it is deficient in such capabilities and threatens the survival of the existing organisms. In the biosphere there must be compatibility between organisms and environment so that uninturrupted flow of energy and matter between the two continues unhindered.
It may appear incredible that the appearance of oxygen in the atmosphere was a life threatening pollution in the then biospere. But this is true. There was no oxygen in the primitive atmosphere. The organisms respired anaerobically. Oxygen appeared in the atmosphere as a cosequence of photosynthesis by some of these anaerobically respiring microbes. The event created a crisis for them. There was rapid and uncontrlled oxidation of the living matter resulting in mass burning of the organisms. Threat of being wiped out loomed large over the bioshere. But as we learn from the principle of distribution all the members of a population are not uniform in any trait. Traits of various members are distributed over a range of values. This was true for tolerance of free oxygen for the then microbes too. Limited number with higher tolerance level survived the disaster. Their presence in the population was very little before the appearance of oxygen in the atmosphere. But now all the resources of the system was available to them without competition. With time new populations evolved by reproduction. These populaions were well adapted to aerobic conditions. It was not possible for them to survive in absence of oxygen. So now the presence of oxygen became established as a compulsary condition for survival and its deficiency an indicator of pollution.
The above illustrates that mutual relationship between organism and environment gives rise to chains of changes. And that change is an inevitable and continuous phenomenon.   


More by :  Ganganand Jha

Top | Environment

Views: 3457      Comments: 3

Comment " When Darwin proposed in 1859 that we had evolved from apes, it's no wonder that most people initially regarded this theory as absurd and continued to believe that we had been separately created by god. Many people, including a quarter of all American college graduates still hold on to that belief today."

Jared Diamond

Ganganand Jha
19-Jun-2011 02:36 AM

Comment Your observations as a scientist of complex natural processes lead you to certain general conclusions that are considered illuminating to your fellow men. But what is to be remarked upon is that these very processes you intelligently describe (as there to be seen, given time and patience) you attribute to 'evolution' - by which term the whole edifice of natural process is sustained as meaningful. Yet 'evolution' for all its evidence in natural processes is only a virtual concept, and is actually the result of the breakdown of scientific rigour not its achievement.

Let me explain. Scientists pride themselves on observation of what is there, what is going on in natural processes, and in naming and categorising the participating elements in these processes, they exercise their own intelligence, conceptualising the processes and their components in detailed nomenclature that impresses their fellow men. They are so in awe of their achievements they feel they owe it to some virtual guiding principle, not God, of course, who is too abstract, but 'evolution'. The joke is that the very reality of their observations thus lends reality to this virtual principle of evolution. Thus the whole of science is deeply flawed with such a virtual principle, evolution, as its reality, and science utterly loses its intellectual rigour in living with this virtual concept of 'evolution'.

18-Jun-2011 19:06 PM

Comment An unique article giving the reader solace regarding the fear of death that includes extinction.
Really it is very interesting to learn from this article that it is the tolerance level that makes us a survivor and there is nothing pollute or pure thing as such. Both pollute and pure refers to a conditional and relative truth and not absolute.
Thanks Prof. Jha for this illuminating words.

Dr. V. K. Singh
16-Jun-2011 09:25 AM

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