Energy flow in ecosystems
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Energy Flow in Ecosystems PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Energy Flow in Ecosystems. Components of an Ecosystem. living and non-living things interact with each other in an ecosystem biomass – total mass of all living matter in an area abiotic factors – non-living things biotic factors – living things. Abiotic Factors.

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Energy Flow in Ecosystems

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Energy Flow in Ecosystems

Components of an Ecosystem

  • living and non-living things interact with each other in an ecosystem

    • biomass – total mass of all living matter in an area

    • abiotic factors – non-living things

    • biotic factors – living things

Abiotic Factors

The four major abiotic components are: a. climate b. soil, dead material, and rock c. topography d. natural disturbances

Biotic Factors

Biotic factors are anything that is living: a. plants b. animals c. microscopic organisms

Abiotic FactorsFind the abiotic and biotic factors

Biotic FactorsFind the abiotic and biotic factors

Energy Roles

  • Energy enters an ecosystem as sunlight

  • Energy flows through an ecosystem in a cycle

  • Each organism has a role to play in this energy flow

    • Producer

    • Consumer

    • Decomposer


  • Producers make their own food and are the source of all the energy in an ecosystem

  • Autotrophs

    • Plants, algae, grass, trees, flowers, bacteria, plankton



  • Cannot make their own food

  • Get their energy from consuming other organisms

  • Heterotrophs

    • herbivores

    • carnivores

    • omnivores

Consumer - Herbivore

Consumer - Carnivore

Consumer - Omnivore

Decomposers and Scavengers

  • Decomposers break down waste and return the raw materials into the soil

  • Waste and dead organisms must be removed from the environment

    • Bacteria

    • Fungi

    • Carrion eaters like vultures, coyotes, maggots

Decomposers and Scavengers

Food Chains

  • A series of events in which one organism eats another and obtains energy.

    • first organism in a food chain is always a producer

    • Next organisms are consumers

Food Chains

  • Decomposers can be at any level

Food Chain

Food Web

  • A food chain just shows one track of energy flow

  • A food web consists of many overlapping food chains

  • Organisms can play more than one role in a food web

Food Web

Food Web

Trophic Level

  • Organisms can be divided into trophic levels

  • producers are at the bottom

  • Next are primary consumers

  • (herbivores)

  • Secondary consumers (omnivores

  • or carnivores)

  • Tertiary consumers (omnivores or

  • carnivores)

Trophic Level

Energy Pyramids

  • An energy pyramid shows the amount of energy that moves from one feeding level to another in a food web

  • At each level upward, the amount of energy decreases due to use

Energy Pyramids

  • When an organism eats food, it obtains energy

  • The organism uses some of this energy for living (about 90%)

  • Not all of this energy is available to the next consumer in line (only 10% moves to the next level)

Energy Pyramids

  • The most energy is available at the producer level

  • The amount of energy at the producer level determines how many organisms an ecosystem can support

  • The least amount of energy is available at the third level or tertiary consumer

Energy Pyramids

Energy Pyramids

Cycling of Energy

Once an organism dies, decomposers take over and break down the material it was made of

These nutrients are put back into the soil

Plants then use those nutrients along with sunlight to recycle that energy back into the food chain

  • Energy flows through an ecosystem in a cycle

Cycling of Energy

Composting – helping the natural decomposition process break down waste

Using a compost bin, we can recycle food scraps and return those nutrients to the soil

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