Biology 2010 Student Edition

Published by Prentice Hall
ISBN 10: 9780133669510
ISBN 13: 978-0-13366-951-0

Chapter 3, The Biosphere - 3.4 - Cycles of Matter - 3.4 Assessment - Page 86: 4a

Answer

Since nutrients are needed to build life tissues and carry out essential life functions, a limiting nutrient (scarce nutrient) will limit organisms' growth in an ecosystem.

Work Step by Step

When there are only limited amounts of a certain nutrient in an ecosystem, then that nutrient is a limiting factor. For example, if there is only enough calcium to supply a maximum of 500 organisms in a certain ecosystem, then the carrying capacity of that ecosystem at maximum is 500 organisms because more organisms will die due to a lack of the nutrient.
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