Base-richness

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Base-richness in ecology is the level in water or soil of chemical bases, such as calcium or magnesium ions. Many organisms are restricted to base-rich environments. Chemical bases are alkalis, and so base-rich environments are neutral or alkaline. Because base-poor environments have few bases, they are dominated by environmental acids (usually organic acids) and so are acidic. However, the relationship between base-richness and acidity is not a rigid one – changes in the levels of acids (such as dissolved carbon dioxide) may significantly change acidity without affecting base-richness.

Base-rich terrestrial environments are characteristic of areas where the underlying rocks are limestone. Seawater is also base-rich, so maritime and marine environments are themselves base-rich.

Base-poor environments are characteristic of areas where the underlying rocks are sandstone or granite, or where the water is derived directly from rainfall (ombrotrophic).

Examples of base-rich environments[edit]

Examples of base-poor environments[edit]

See also[edit]