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    Flow of energy and cycling of matter in ecosystems (article)

    Review your understanding of the movement of energy and matter in ecosystems with this free article aligned to NGSS standards.

    Flow of energy and cycling of matter in ecosystems

    Flow of energy and cycling of matter in ecosystems

    Review your understanding of the movement of energy and matter in ecosystems with this free article aligned to NGSS standards. Created by Khan Academy.

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    Key terms

    Term Meaning

    Photosynthesis The process by which plants, algae, and other photosynthetic organisms capture energy from sunlight to create organic molecules that can be used as foodCellular respiration The process by which organic molecules from food react chemically with other compounds, releasing energy that is used for essential life processesProducer An organism that produces its own organic food molecules from inorganic sources, typically using energy from the sunConsumer An organism that obtains organic molecules by consuming other organisms as food. Primary consumers eat producers, secondary consumers eat primary consumers, and tertiary consumers eat secondary consumers.Decomposer An organism that obtains energy by breaking down nonliving organic matter, such as discarded plant material, the remains of dead organisms, or animal wasteFood web A model that shows how matter and energy are transferred among producers, consumers, and decomposers in an ecosystemTrophic level An organism’s position relative to the primary energy source (such as the sun) in a food chainEcological pyramid A model that represents the relative amount of matter and energy contained within each trophic level of an ecosystem

    The movement of energy and matter in ecosystems

    Energy flows through an ecosystem, while matter cycles within it. To understand why this is the case let’s take a closer look at how different life processes drive the movement of energy and matter in ecosystems.

    Energy enters an ecosystem when producers carry out photosynthesis, capturing energy from the sun and storing it as chemical potential energy. During this process, matter from the environment (in the form of

    \ce{CO2} CO X 2 ​ and \ce{H2O} H X 2 ​ O

    ) is taken in and rearranged into organic molecules (sugars). These organic molecules can power the producers’ life processes via cellular respiration (which releases

    \ce{CO2} CO X 2 ​

    and heat), or they can be stored as biomass.

    Next, energy and matter move up the trophic levels of an ecosystem as producers are eaten by primary consumers, which are then eaten by secondary consumers, and so on. Some of the organic material eaten by consumers is used for cellular respiration (again, releasing

    \ce{CO2} CO X 2 ​

    and heat), some is stored as biomass, and the rest is excreted as waste.

    Dead producers and consumers and their waste products provide matter and energy to decomposers. Decomposers transform matter back into inorganic forms that can be recycled within the ecosystem.

    So, the energy that enters an ecosystem as sunlight eventually flows out of the ecosystem in the form of heat. In contrast, the matter in an ecosystem is continuously recycled as atoms are combined and recombined in different ways.

    Energy and matter are conserved during ecosystem processes

    As energy moves through an ecosystem, it changes form, but no new energy is created. Similarly, as matter cycles within an ecosystem, atoms are rearranged into various molecules, but no new matter is created. So, during all ecosystem processes, energy and matter are conserved.

    Food webs model matter and energy transfer

    A food web is a model of feeding relationships in an ecosystem. When an organism is eaten, the matter and energy stored in its tissues are transferred to the organism that eats it. The arrows in a food web represent this transfer.

    For example, the arrow pointing from the mouse to the coyote in the food web below shows that matter and energy are transferred to coyotes when they eat mice.

    Arrows connect different organisms in a diagram. Grasses are on the bottom of the diagram with arrows pointing to mouse and grasshopper. Grasshopper is slightly higher than the grasses and points to hawk. Hawk and snake are higher than the grasshopper. Hawk points to coyote and snake points to vulture. Coyote and vulture are the top, higher than all other organisms. Coyote points to vulture. Mouse, in the middle of the diagram, points to hawk, coyote, vulture, and snake.

    A food web showing the feeding relationships in a grassland ecosystem.

    Ecological pyramids model energy loss

    Ecological pyramids show the relative amounts of matter or energy in different trophic levels of an ecosystem.

    In most ecosystems, only about 10% of the total energy available at a given trophic level is transferred to the next level. The rest is used to power life processes, is discarded as waste, or is simply not consumed. An energy pyramid, such as the one below, illustrates this inefficiency by representing the energy available at each trophic level with a differently sized tier.

    An energy pyramid displays four levels. Below the energy pyramid, an arrow labeled light energy points to producers. Producers correspond to one hundred percent of available energy. Above this, primary consumers correspond to ten percent available energy. Secondary consumers are the next level up and correspond to one percent of available energy. At the top are tertiary consumers, which correspond to zero point one percent available energy.

    स्रोत : www.khanacademy.org

    Energy and Environment Management Questions and Answers for Freshers

    This set of Energy and Environment Management Questions and Answers for Freshers focuses on “Structure and Functions of an Ecosystem”. 1. Which one of the following is not a gaseous biogeochemical cycle in an ecosystem? a) Carbon cycle b) Phosphorous cycle c) Sulfur cycle d) Nitrogen cycle 2. Transfer of energy from source of plants ... Read more

    Energy and Environment Management Questions and Answers – Structure and Functions of an Ecosystem

    « Prev Next »

    This set of Energy and Environment Management Questions and Answers for Freshers focuses on “Structure and Functions of an Ecosystem”.

    1. Which one of the following is not a gaseous biogeochemical cycle in an ecosystem?

    a) Carbon cycle

    b) Phosphorous cycle

    c) Sulfur cycle d) Nitrogen cycle View Answer

    2. Transfer of energy from source of plants through a series of organism is known as ________________

    a) Food web b) Energy cycle c) Food chain

    d) Biological system

    View Answer

    3. The type of ecosystem with the highest mean plant productivity is _______________

    a) Tundra

    b) Temperate grassland

    c) Desert

    d) Tropical rain forest

    View Answer

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    4. An ecosystem which can be easily damaged but can recovered after some time if damaging effect stops will be having ____________________

    a) High stability and high resilience

    b) High stability and low resilience

    c) Low stability and low resilience

    d) Low stability and high resilience

    View Answer

    5. Pyramids of number in grassland ecosystem are inverted.

    a) True b) False View Answer

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    6. In ecosystem standing crop refers to________________

    a) All the green plants

    b) All the non living materials

    c) All living and dead animals

    d) All the living materials both animals and plants

    View Answer

    7. Which ecosystem produce the highest annual net primary productivity?

    a) Tropical evergreen forest

    b) Tropical rain forest

    c) Tropical deciduous forest

    d) Temperate evergreen forest

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    8. What flows through the ecosystem while matter cycles within them?

    a) Energy b) Force c) Pressure d) Wind View Answer

    9. Total primary production in an ecosystem is known as____________________

    a) Gross final production

    b) Gross primary production

    c) Gross middle production

    d) Net primary production

    View Answer advertisement

    10. Which type of ecosystem accounts for most of the net primary productivity on earth even though it has a low average net primary productivity?

    a) Tropical rain forest

    b) Desert

    c) Tropical evergreen forest

    d) Oceans View Answer

    11. Generally ecosystem consists of how many basic components?

    a) One b) Two c) Three d) Four View Answer

    12. The three functional components interact with each other to form__________________

    a) Environmental succession

    b) Environmental depression

    c) Environmental system

    d) Ecology View Answer

    13. The dominant second tropic level in a lake ecosystem is_____________________

    a) Phytoplankton b) Zooplankton c) Plankton d) Benthos View Answer

    14. Green plants are the most important organisms for an ecosystem.

    a) True b) False View Answer

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    Flow of Matter in Ecosystems

    How matter is circulated throughout an ecosystem.

    18.4

    Flow of Matter in Ecosystems

    Last Modified: Jul 04, 2019

    Lesson

    What happens when you don't get enough of a nutrient?

    Millions of sailors in the 15th through 18th centuries died mysteriously. They developed a disease called scurvy. The scurvy, it turns out, was due to the lack of vitamin C in their diets. It wasn't until 1932 that the link between scurvy and vitamin C was made. Without the right nutrients in the right amounts, you can't live. Other animals and plants also need the right nutrients to live.

    How Matter Moves Through Ecosystems

    Living things need nonliving matter as well as energy. What do you think matter is used for? It's used to build bodies. It's also needed to carry out the processes of life. Any nonliving matter that living things need is called a nutrient. Carbon and nitrogen are examples of nutrients. Unlike energy, matter is recycled in ecosystems. In the figure below, you can see how (Figure below).

    Decomposers release nutrients when they break down dead organisms.

    The nutrients are taken up by plants through their roots.

    The nutrients pass to primary consumers when they eat the plants.

    The nutrients pass to higher level consumers when they eat lower level consumers.

    When living things die, the cycle repeats.

    This diagram shows two cycles. One is the cycle of energy, the other is the cycle of matter. Compare the two cycles. Do you see how the Sun keeps adding energy? That’s because energy is lost at each step of the cycle. Matter doesn’t have to be added. Can you explain why?

    Summary

    Nutrients are crucial to the growth of organisms.

    Decomposers break down dead organisms into nutrients and gases so that they can be used by other organisms.

    Nutrients can enter or exit an ecosystem at any point and can cycle around the planet.

    Review

    How does the flow of matter differ from the flow of energy through an ecosystem?

    How do nutrients move through an ecosystem?

    What would happen to life on Earth if there were no decomposers? Why?

    Explore More

    Use the resource below to answer the questions that follow.

    What form does carbon take in the atmosphere?

    What do producers do with carbon?

    What happens to the carbon in stored in leaves?

    Once the carbon is on the ground, where can it be stored?

    Where is the carbon in a temperate, deciduous forest?

    Where is the carbon in a rainforest?

    Where is the carbon in the frigid Arctic? How much is in biomass?

    How does methane form in a peat bog?

    Asked by Students

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    स्रोत : flexbooks.ck12.org

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