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BIOL 103 April 1

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Queen's University
BIOL 103

April 1t Ecosystems  Consist of communities of organisms that live in an area and their physical and chemical (abiotic) environment Ecosystem Ecology  Includes study of how energy flows among ecosystem components  How carbon and nitrogen and other key elements cycle through organisms, sediments, the oceans, the atmosphere, how humans affect the environment Energy Flow and Trophic Structure  An ecosystem can be thought of as an economy in which energy is currency  Links four components: o Primary Producers (autotroph) – organism which synthesizes its own food from inorganic material and energy (sun); an autotroph supports an ecosystem by transforming sunlight to chemical energy stored in sugars, used for maintenance, respiration, growth and production o Consumers (these become secondary producers) o Decomposers o Abiotic Environment NPP, Consumers and Decomposers  Gross primary productivity (GPP) is the rate at which photosynthesis captures energy  After plants and other producers carry out cellular respiration, the energy invested in new tissue is net primary productivity (NPP)  NPP is the energy available to consumers – organisms that eat other organisms; herbivores eat plants, carnivores eat animals – both lead to net secondary production after metabolism and waste accounted for  Decomposers or detritivores feed on waste products or the dead remains of other organisms Energy flow through an ecosystem – only 10% moves to next level Net Primary Productivity of Ecosystem What limits the productivity of terrestrial or marine ecosystems?  Terrestrial NPP is the lowest in deserts and arctic regions; their overall productivity is limited by a combination of temperature and the availability of water and sunlight  Overall productivity of freshwater and marine ecosystems limited by specific nutrients  Eutrophication is caused by an excess of macronutrients like nitrogen or phosphorus in lakes, while adding micronutrients such as iron to oceans could increase production and help sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide  Suggestion to add iron to open ocean, which would  Problem: there was a super bloom of a particular microbe, that produced tremendous amounts of
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