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Energy and Matter Exchange in the Biosphere - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Unit A. Energy and Matter Exchange in the Biosphere. Systems. Objects or groups of objects that has a relationship to something else Open Energy and matter cross the systems boundaries humans, trees Closed Allows energy but not matter to cross boundary Earth, Biosphere Isolated

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  • Objects or groups of objects that has a relationship to something else
    • Open
      • Energy and matter cross the systems boundaries
      • humans, trees
    • Closed
      • Allows energy but not matter to cross boundary
      • Earth, Biosphere
    • Isolated
      • Allows neither energy or matter to flow across boundary
      • Universe
  • Radiant energy from sun interacts with a thin layer of air, land and water on or near the earth’s surface
  • All life on earth exists here
  • Living (biotic) and non living (abiotic) components
  • Closed system

No real boundaries, everything on Earth is connected.

  • Do not see countless interactions or the impacts of human activity
  • 3 zones
      • Lithosphere (land)
      • Hydrosphere (water)
      • Atmosphere (air)
    • continuously interact and these interactions change daily

Part A: Make a chart that compares and contrasts the three components of the biosphere

Part B: Briefly explain how each part of the biosphere supports life

levels of biosphere
Levels of Biosphere

Made up of

Made up of

Made up of

Made up of

matter cycling in the biosphere
Matter Cycling in the Biosphere
  • organisms depends on matter already available on earth (closed system)
    • It is possible that a carbon atom that helped make up a T Rex 70 million years ago can be somewhere in your body
  • New matter is not introduced so nutrients are cycled and recycled between the environment and organisms
    • These cycles are called the BIOGEOCHEMICAL CYCLES
  • Matter is mostly made up of the following elements and there is a specific cycle for each:
    • Carbon
    • Hydrogen
    • Oxygen
    • Nitrogen
  • These four elements make up all basic compounds used by living organisms
    • Carbohydrates (energy for cells)
    • Lipids (storage in cells)
    • Proteins (structure in cells)
    • Nucleic Acids (genetic material in cells)
biogeochemical cycles
Biogeochemical Cycles
  • Cycling of matter through biotic and abiotic parts of ecosystems allows organisms to obtain essential nutrients
  • O, C, N, travel easily in both water &air
  • P does NOT travel in air but in soil and water
  • Similar and interrelated
    • Disruptions in one can affect another
nutrient reservoirs
Nutrient Reservoirs
  • At each step in every cycle, substances are temporarily stored in nutrient reservoirs (organisms, soil, air, water)or move from reservoir to reservoir
    • E.g. Carbon cycles from producer to consumer to decomposers and back to atmosphere rapidly
      • Fossil fuels is stored carbon that is unavailable to organisms for millions of years
hydrological cycle
Hydrological Cycle
  • Water
    • absorbs and release thermal energy and moderates temperature fluctuations
    • Medium in which metabolic reactions take place
    • Is an excellent solvent
    • Makes up over 60% of the cell’s mass
    • Product and reactant of photosynthesis and cellular respiration
    • Abiotic (air, water, land) and biotic organisms
carbon oxygen cycle
Carbon/Oxygen Cycle
  • Carbon
    • Key element for living things
    • Cellular respiration/photosynthesis
    • Biotic and abiotic (air, land, water)
  • Rapid Cycling
    • Plants animals and decomposers play important role
    • Forest fires
  • Slow Cycling
    • 3 main reservoirs of carbon in the atmosphere, oceans, earth’s crust
    • Weathering
phosphorus cycle
Phosphorus Cycle
  • Phosphates
    • Key elements in making ATP and calcium in bones
    • Animals obtain phosphorus by consuming foods such as milk, grain and meat
    • Producers such as plants and algae can only use it in forms of phosphates which dissolve in water
    • NOT IN AIR
  • Short Term Cycle
    • living organisms
  • Long Term Cycle
    • Rocks in Earth’s crust
nitrogen cycle
Nitrogen Cycle
  • Nitrogen
    • Makes up 78.1% of atmosphere
    • Essential part of proteins and DNA
    • Abiotic (Air, water, land) and biotic
  • Nitrogen Fixation
    • Process to convert atmospheric nitrogen into useable ammonium by bacteria or lightning
  • Ammonification
    • Process of converting ammonium into nitrite then useable nitrate by bacteria so plant can use it
  • Denitrification
    • Process of converting nitrite and nitrate back into nitrogen gas
human impact on cycles
Human Impact on Cycles
  • Carbon-deforestation, burning fossil fuels add carbon to reservoir
  • Nitrogen and Phosphorus- Fertilizer add phosphates and nitrates to the soil
  • Water-burning fossil fuels adds sulfuric acid and nitric acid to the water cycle (acid rain)



the need for energy
The need for energy
  • All organisms need energy to stay alive
  • Use energy to grow, maintain body processes, reproduce and some to move
  • Energy obtained from carbs and other energy rich organic molecules
the fate of energy
The fate of energy
  • Energy does not and cannot cycle as matter does it follows a one way path through the biosphere
    • 1st law of thermodynamics
      • Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be converted from one form to another or transferred from one object to another
    • 2nd law of thermodynamics
      • No process of energy conversion is 100% efficient, with each conversion there is less energy available to do useful work
  • Therefore a constant supply of energy is necessary to sustain life
energy flow in the biosphere
Energy Flow in the Biosphere
  • Energy that enters ecosystem is passed from organism to organism and is used up or exits the system via heat
  • Energy drives the biogeochemical cycles
  • Source of earth’s energy is the sun
  • 3 outcomes for radiant energy from the sun
radiant energy from sun

1% generates wind

30% reflected by clouds or surface of earth

40% heats atmosphere and earth’s surface

>0.02 % is used by plants to create useable energy

25% heats and evaporates water

Radiant Energy from Sun

30% is reflected back into space


  • Describes the amount of reflected energy
    • Greater the ability of area to reflect sun the higher albedotherefore the lower the energy absorption (light coloured, thick cloud cover, dusty or “bald” -80%)
    • Lower the ability of area to reflect sun the lower the albedo therefore the higher the energy absorption (forest canopies and water -25%)
    • Average is 30 %

19% absorbed by atmosphere

  • Gases such as H2O vapor & CO2 in atmosphere
  • Will heat the atmosphere or radiate back into space

51% reaches surface of Earth

  • Absorbed by land and ocean, warms surface
  • Heat radiates upward and back into space
  • Of the energy that reaches ground only small fraction reaches organisms for photosynthesis
    • Amount varies depending on type of organisms and intensity of light
    • Fraction of light that reaches is small but about 150 billion tonnes to 200 billion tonnes of organic (carbon) matter is produced each year and this is the matter that supports most life on earth.

0.023% of suns energy is used by living organisms


  • Two chemical processes that occur in nature to help animals and plants turn solar energy into useable energy
  • Plants use PHOTOSYNTHESIS to convert energy

6CO2 + 6H2O + energy -->  6O2 + C6H12O6

  • Animals use CELLULAR RESPIRATION to release energy

6O2 + C6H12O6 -->  6H2O + 6CO2 + energy

  • Complementary processes
  • Balance of those O2 and CO2in the environment
0 023 of suns energy is used by living organisms
0.023% of suns energy is used by living organisms

Tracing the path energy takes from the sun to organisms living on earth

  • FOOD WEBS/CHAINS visually show us the step by step or interlocking “feeding” relationships between organisms
  • Putting organisms into classifications helps to organize the way they gain energy from the sun
    • Three main levels in basic food chains/webs
      • 1stTrophic Level = Producers = Autotrophs
      • 2ndTrophic Level = Primary Consumers = Heterotrophs
      • 3rdTrophic Level = Secondary Consumers = Heterotrophs
energy and the food chain
Energy and the food chain
  • Energy is neither created nor destroyed therefore once it enters a system it stays and is either used up or lost as heat into the system
  • As you move up the trophic levels the amount of energy available goes down
  • Only 10% of energy from each level is passed on
  • The number of organisms at each level is directly controlled by the amount of energy available to each level
ecological pyramids pg 28 32
  • Visuals that help represent the energy flow in a system
  • Three types of pyramids
    • Pyramid of Biomass

A measure of total dry mass of all living things in the ecosystem

    • Pyramid of Energy

A measure of energy at each level

    • Pyramid of Numbers

A count of the number or organisms at each level

human impact on energy
Human impact on Energy
  • Hunting and fishing
  • Monocultures
flow of matter and transfer of energy are linked
Flow of Matter and Transfer of Energy are linked
  • Six cycles involve biotic and abiotic environment
  • When living organisms take on nutrients those nutrients become part of the biotic environment
  • Transfer of energy from organism to organism affect biogeochemical cycles
balance of matter and energy
Balance of Matter and Energy
  • Earth is similar to organisms must maintain conditions within certain limits to ensure a state of balance (Dynamic EQUILIBRIUM)
  • Gaia hypothesis-James Lovelock-
    • Biosphere regulates itself, needs constant input of energy and cycling of nutrients
ecosystem productivity
Ecosystem Productivity
  • Rate at which an ecosystem’s producers capture and store energy within organic compounds over a certain length of time
  • Rate of productivity depends on a number of variables
    • Biotic factors
      • Number of organisms at each level especially producers and decomposers
    • Abiotic factors
      • Temperature, amount of light and heat, rainfall, nutrient availability
ecosystem productivity1
Ecosystem Productivity

This is measured in energy/area/year (J/m2/a)

We look at how much BIOMASS is created by the organisms

Look at the diagram!

replicating earth s biosphere
Replicating Earth’s Biosphere
  • Scientist have tried to replicate the self regulating conditions of the biosphere in artificial environments
biosphere 2
Biosphere 2
  • Large scale biosphere experiment constructed closed systems
  • Several months until the oxygen levels dropped and carbon dioxide levels rose
  • Proved that energy and matter exchange is extremely complex
  • Research facility showed that delicate balance


nasa advanced life support als
NASA: Advanced Life Support (ALS)
  • Research plants grown in space for oxygen and food
  • Conversion of waste into usable energy
  • Self sustaining colonies for humans
  • Devon Island (Canada) hypothetical colony on Mars