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Energy and the ecosystem

Overview of the topic


1.Energy flow Producers/Consumers
2.Food chains and web Food chains
Energy transfers
Food web
3. Ecological pyramids Pyramid of numbers
Pyramid of bio mass
4.Nutrient cycle Carbon cycle
Ecology : Study of how organism interact with each other
& with their environment
Environment organism live
Environment divided into abiotic & biotic factor
Abiotic factor-nonliving factor
E.g. edaphic factor, climatic factor & topographical factor
Biotic factor- living organism
E g producer consumer decomposer
Habitat physical location in which an organism lives
Level of ecological organization
Earth lump of rock with a thin outer layer of soil, water & air.
Organism occur near boundaries either between soil & air or water &
air
Organism studied at six different levels
individual,population,community ecosystem, biome & biosphere
Each species is made up of individual
Guases competitive exclusion principle states- two species cannot
coexist unless there are significant difference in their ecologies. If 2
species attempt to occupy the same niche, they will compete with
each other until one is eliminated
Niche position of species occupied within its habitat.
Niche includes physical space its interaction with other organism & its
effect on environment
Individual same species occupying a constitute a population
Different population in an area interact with each other. These collectively form a
community
Community named after an obvious feature of the environment
Pine forest community
Woodland community
Grassland community
Different species of a community together with their non living
environment, constitute a ecosystem
Ecosystem consists of 4 basic element
Abiotic component
Biotic component
Energy & nutrient (support life in ecosystem)
Ecosystem are open unit & part of a biome
All the life are restricted to a rather narrow zone called the
biosphere
Energy flow
The main energy source on the earth is sun.
Solar energy can be tapped by the plants to
make food.
Recently we are also able to tap this energy
source using solar panels.
Producers / consumers
Green plants store solar energy in
carbohydrates during photosynthesis.
They change solar energy into chemical energy
to achieve this
They are producers (autotrophs): capable of
producing their own food.
Consumers (heterotrophs) feed on producers
as a source of food.
Some terms associated with energy flow
Terms Definition

Producer Autotrophs
Produces its own food e.g. green plants

Consumer Heterotrophs
Feeds on producers e.g. animals and man
Feeds on plants e.g. cattle
Herbivore
Carnivore Feeds on animals e.g. lions

Omnivore
Feeds on plants and animals e.g. crows
Trophiclevel:Alltheorganismsthat
arethesamenumberoffoodchainsteps
fromtheprimarysourceofenergy

Modifiedfrom:GeneralEcology,byDavidT.Krome
Foods chains and webs
Food chains
Producers and consumers play different roles in the
community.
These roles are termed as niches.
The different niches can be classified in various ways
in the community.
When a herbivore eats a plant, and is then eaten by a
carnivore, a chain of events from: based on feeding
habits
The forms the food chain.
Classification of niches in the food chain

Food chain Named Consumer level Tropic level

Phytoplankton Producer Producer 1st trophic level

Mussels Herbivore 1st order 2nd trophic level


consumer

Crab Small carnivore 2nd order 3rd trophic level


consumer

Man Larger carnivore 3rd order 4th trophic level


consumer

Bacteria Decomposer 4th order 5th trophic level


consumer
Energy transfers

Energy flows in one direction along food chain.


Energy is transferred along the food chain.
At the next level, energy is lost..therefore energy supplied from
level to level decreases.
The more levels in the food chain, the lesser the energy at the end
of the chain.
Green plants capture only 1% of solar energy.
10% of energy at every trophic level is converted into biomass.
Example of a Food Chain
Food Webs
All the food chains in an area make up the food web of the area.
Food web of a hot spring

2003 John Wiley and Sons Publishers


Food web

In reality, predators feed on more than one type of prey.


When several different food chains can be strung together, it
forms a food web.
A food web interconnects several food chains within an
ecosystem.

Ecological pyramids
A graphical representation of the energy, biomass or numbers of
organisms at each trophic level.
Each trophic level forms a tier in the pyramid
They are called pyramids because of the shape of these graphs.
Pyramid of numbers and biomass

Pyramid of numbers Pyramid of biomass

The base has the largest number of Represents the dry mass of all the
organisms organisms at that tropic level

The number of organisms reduce as you The lengths of the bars estimates the
reach the higher tiers of the pyramid relative biomass

May be upright of inverted May be upright or inverted

An example of a pyramid of numbers

Owl

Snakes

Mice

grass
Pyramid of numbers
Pyramid of Energy:
Shows the energy available at each trophic level.
The size of the blocks represents the proportion of
productivity
Measured in Joules or Calories
Pyramid of Energy:
Most of the energy available to the community is in
the 1st trophic level.
Only 10-20% of the energy is available to the next
trophic level ( 90% lost)
Nutrient cycle
Nutrients in the environment exist in various forms.
Energy cannot be recycled, but the nutrients can
Carbon is repeatedly recycled within the environment

Carbon cycle
Carbon dioxide occupies about 0.03% by volume of air.
This amount is sufficient for all plants that photosynthesis
CO2 is removed from the air by green plants.
It is replaced through respiration and by the combustion of fossil fuels.
CO2

CO2
Nitrogen cycle
Passage of nitrogen within an ecosystem
Nitrogen cycle is more complex biogeochemical cycle
Atmosphere contain 79% nitrogen gas but only few
micro organism can tap this reservoir.
Nitrogen fixation nitrogen fixing bacteria
Bacteria free-living or living in root nodules of
leguminous plants
Bacteria converts atmospheric nitrogen to nitrates
Atmospheric nitrogen can also fixed by lightning
Denitrifying bacteria converts nitrates to nitrogen gas
Bacteria are anaerobic
Process is known as denitrification

Photosynthetic organisms make use of nitrates to form amino acids & protein,
which are in turn eaten by animals

Protein are broken down to amino acids in animals

Nitrogen in amino acids is excreted in the form of ammonia or urea

Decomposers breakdown protein molecules in dead animals and plants

Release nitrogen as ammonia or ammonium compounds- ammonification

E.g. putrefying bacteria

Ammonia or ammonium compounds to nitrites & nitrites to nitrates


Process is known as nitrification
N2
in Atmosphere

N03- &

N02-
NH3