2Questions for Today: How does energy flow in Ecosystems? What happens to usable Energy as it travels through a food chain or web?Why is it important to analyze the amount of plant matter in an ecosystem?What is the difference between Gross Primary Productivity and Net Primary Productivity?
3Review Life on Earth Depends on three interconnected factors: The one-way flow of high quality energy.The cycling of matter or nutrients.Gravity
4Food Chains and Food Webs Energy in the Ecosystem is transferred through the different trophic (feeding) levels.Food Chain – a sequence of organisms, each of which serves as a source of food or energy for the next.Food Webs – a series of interconnected Food Webs.Chemical energy and nutrients travel through trophic levels primarily through photosynthesis, feeding, and decomposition.
5Food Chains and Food Webs As chemical energy travels through trophic levels, some useful energy is lost to the environment as heat.This would result in the collapse of the ecosystem or biosphere if it weren’t for the Sun.
7Energy EfficiencyThe Chemical Energy in Ecosystems are stored in biomass.Biomass – the dry weight of all organic matter contained in its organisms.Energy transfer through food chains is not very efficient and a lot of the energy is lost as heat.The percentage of usable chemical energy transferred as biomass from one trophic level to the next is called Ecological Efficiency.10% is usually the normal Ecological Efficiency
8Energy Efficiency Question Assuming 10% ecological efficiency, if green plants capture 10,000 units of energy, how much chemical energy will be available to support herbivores and carnivores?
10Energy Efficiency Energy pyramids help explain how: The earth can sustain populations better if they eat at lower trophic levels.Ecosystems usually only have 4 or 5 Trophic levels.
11The Importance of Producers Producers are the source of all nutrients or chemical energy in an ecosystem.In order to quantify the energy captured through producers in ecosystems, Scientists analyze the Gross Primary Productivity (GPP) and Net Primary Productivity (NPP).
12The Importance of Producers Gross Primary Productivity is defined as the rate at which an ecosystem’s producers convert solar energy into chemical energy as biomass found in their tissues.Their unit is kcal/m2/yr
13The Importance of Producers Remember, that plants can create their own food, but they also must eat that food.When calculating NPP, we have to subtract the energy loss due to the consumption of that food.NPP = GPP – RR is the energy used in respiration
14The Importance of Producers Different areas in the planet both terrestrial and aquatic have variable NPPs due to the amount of sun and nutrients available.The further you are away from the equator, the less NPP in that ecosystem.In aquatic zones, the further you are away from the surface or a nutrients source, the less NPP in that life zone.
16Importance of producers As consumers, the NPP in an ecosystem is important for us to know because only the biomass represented in the NPP is available to us as nutrients.Therefore, the planet’s NPP ultimately limits the number of consumers that can survive on the earth.