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Energy Flow in Ecosystems

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Topsana Elsfelder

on 29 May 2014

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Transcript of Energy Flow in Ecosystems

Global Climate Change
Climate changes and the impact of these changes can affect ecosystems in a variety of ways
warming could force species to migrate to higher latitudes or higher elevations where temperatures are more conducive to their survival
as sea level rises, saltwater intrusion into a freshwater system may force some species to relocate or die, resulting in the removal of predators or prey that were critical in the preexisting food chain
The energy flow in ecosystems is based on the primary productivity of autotrophs
A) Discuss the energy flow through an ecosystem and the relative efficiency with which it occurs

B) Discuss the impact of the following on energy flow on a global scale
Global climate change
Ecosystems maintain themselves by cycling energy and nutrients obtained by external sources

There are five trophic levels that obtain energy
On average about 10 percent of net energy production at one trophic level is passed on to the next level
Processes that reduce the energy transferred between trophic levels include: respiration, growth and reproduction, defacation, and nonpredatory death
This low rate of energy transfer between trophic levels makes decomposers generally more important than producers in terms of energy flow
Trophic Levels
Decomposers process large amounts of organic material and return nutrients to the ecosystem in inorganic form (such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur), which are then taken up again by primary producers.
One of the main effects of deforestation is the destruction of organisms' habitats. Organisms that are unable to compete or survive in these altered environments may die, in which organisms that depending on the vanishing species for food may also die, reducing the trophic levels in an ecosystem
Energy Flow in Ecosystems
By: Topsana Elsfelder
This level includes primary producers such as: plants, algae and some bacteria
They use solar energy to produce organic plant material through photosynthesis
Primary Producers
Herbivores, organisms that feed solely on plants, make up this level
Primary Consumers
Animals that consume herbivores are considered secondary consumers
Secondary Consumer
Animals that consumer secondary consumers are considered tertiary consumers
Tertiary Consumer
And, of course, quaternary consumers consume tertiary consumers
Quaternary Consumers
Food chains "end" with top predators, or animals that have little or no natural enemies.
Energy is NOT recycled during decomposition!
Instead, it is released (mostly as heat) into the environment
The heat released by the decomposers is the reason why compost piles are so warm.
How many trophic levels can an ecosystem support?
Depends on several factors:
the amount of energy entering the ecosystem
energy loss between trophic levels
the form, structure, and physiology of organisms at each level
Most terrestrial ecosystems do not have more than five trophic levels due to energy loss
Marine Ecosystems
Marine ecosystems have generally no more than seven trophic levels
Terrestrial Ecosystems
Animals are losing their habitats due to deforestation, contributing to their endangerment/extinction
For polar bears, the arctic sea ice is diminishing due to a warming Earth. This is creating reduced access to food, lower cub survival rates, an increase in drowning as well as cannibalism, and a loss of denning area- all leading to a decrease in population size.
Biology Questions
Name the 5 main trophic levels
True/False: Energy is very efficiently transferred through trophic levels.
Give an example of a quaternary consumer not shown in the power point.
When do food chains end?
Give an example of an animal affected by deforestation, not shown in the prezi.
Because of the _______ (low/high) rate of energy transfer between trophic levels, ___________ (decomposers/producers) are considered more important in terms of energy flow.
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