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The Carbon Cycle
Transcript of The Carbon Cycle
Temperate Grassland Ecosystem
Both lettuce and dairy cows can be found in an environment very similar to a temperate grassland ecosystem.
Carbon Sources and Sinks
How can humans reduce their carbon footprint?
Drive less, bike and walk more
Carbon is present all around us, even in the food we eat!
Take a taco for example. Both cheese and lettuce can be found in tacos.
But where does the cheese come from? Well, it comes from dairy cows of course!
Carbohydrates are made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen bonded together into one compound. This compound supplies energy for cell processes, forms plant structures, and acts as a short-term energy storage area. Cellulose, starch, and sugars are all examples of carbohydrates.
Lipids are composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus. Lipids are used to store large amounts of energy for a long period of time, and they also form boundaries around cells. Fats, oils, waxes, phospholipids, and cholesterol are considered lipids.
Our last compound is constructed of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Nucleic acids carry hereditary information and they are used to make proteins. DNA and RNA are both nucleic acids. Since DNA is found in every living thing, nucleic acids are also found in every living thing.
Carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulfur all come together to form a protein. These proteins help to regulate cell processes and build cell structures. Some examples of proteins are enzymes, skin, and hair.
An organic compound is any member of a large class of gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon. (Wikipedia)
These organic compounds are found in lettuce and cheese:
Temperate grassland ecosystems usually have moist summers followed by cool and dry winters. Sometimes, it even snows out in those Great Plains of the Unites States. There are two types of temperate grasslands; one with tall grass and one with short grass. In both of these grasslands, you can find plants like blue grama, galleta, and aster. The animals you will find bison, coyotes, hawks, and snakes. The conditions in temperate grasslands are ideal for lettuce and dairy cows as well. On the plains, people who live nearby often attempt to grow crops and then let their livestock graze on those crops which ends up destroying the natural grasses that grow on the temperate grasslands.
Movement of Carbon
Blue Grama Grass
During photosynthesis, plants use carbon dioxide, water, and light energy to produce sugars, like glucose, to feed themselves. The plants also produce oxygen that is then let off into the atmosphere for humans and animals to breathe in. When consumers, like dairy cows, eat the plants, like lettuce, they are also taking in the sugar that the plant produced for itself. Photosynthesis occurs in the chloroplasts of the plant where the enzymes are located.
Cellular respiration occurs in the mitochondrion of both plant and animal cells. During cellular respiration, a cell first uses the glucose obtained from plants to complete glycolosis which it gets some energy from. Next, The Kreb's Cycle finishes the break down of pyruvic acid molecules, which it got from glycolosis, to carbon dioxide, releasing more energy. Finally, we get to the Electron Transport Chain which pumps hydrogen ions back across the membrane. This causes ATP synthase turbine like objects to spin and generate ATP. Actually, during each step of this process, a little bit of ATP was being produced. Two ATPs were produced at glycolosis and then at The Kreb's Cycle, but 34 ATPs were produced during the Electron Transport Chain to create a total of 38 ATPs that were produced during cellular respiration. These ATPs will give the organism energy to function properly.
(Things that add carbon to the atmosphere)
(Things that remove carbon from the atmosphere)
Blue Grama Grass
Human Impact on The Carbon Cycle
Humans burn tons of fossil fuels everyday whether they are driving in their car, using coal, or operating a factory. But the fact is that burning these fossil fuels emmits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and we are burning so much of these fossil fuels that the cycle just can't keep up! We are putting more carbon into the air than the sinks can take out, which is imacting the entire carbon cycle. Also, we are cutting these sinks down, so even less carbon is getting out of the atmosphere. Not to mention that when we breathe out, even more carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere! These are the things that impact the carbon cycle and in turn are making Earth get warmer and warmer.
"The Carbon Cycle: Sources and Sinks." The Carbon Cycle: Sources and Sinks. Wheeling Jesuit University/Center for Educational Technologies, 2013. Web. 24 Oct. 2013. <http://ete.cet.edu/gcc/?/globaltemp_carbon_cycle/>.
"Organic Compound." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Oct. 2013. Web. 24 Oct. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_compound>.
Pryzborski, Paul. "The Carbon Cycle : Feature Articles." The Carbon Cycle : Feature Articles. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2013. <http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/CarbonCycle/page5.php>.
"Wild Tracks." Wild Tracks. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2013. <http://wildtracks.wordpress.com/world-ecosystems/grassland-ecosystems/temperate-grassland-ecosystem/>.
Sugar -> Proteins