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University of Toronto Scarborough
Biological Sciences

Chapter 56 Ecosystem and Global Ecology562 How Does Energy Flow Through the Global EcosystemSolar energy drives ecosystem processesSolar energy enters ecosystems by way of plants and other photosynthetic organismsOnly about 5 percent of the solar energy that arrives on Earth is captured by photosynthesis remaining energy is either radiated back into the atmosphere as heat or taken up by the evaporation of waterGross primary productivity GDP is the rate at which energy is incorporated into the bodies of photosynthetic organismsThe accumulated energy is called gross primary productionPrimary producer use some of this accumulated energy for their own metabolism the rest is stored in their bodies or used for their growth and reproductionThe energy available to organisms that eat primary producer called net primary production NPP is gross primary production minus the energy expended by the primary producers during their metabolismOnly the energy of an organisms net production is available to other organisms that consume itThe geographic distribution of the energy assimilated by primary producers reflects the distribution of land masses temperature and moisture on EarthProduction in aquatic ecosystems in limited by light which decreases rapidly with depth by nutrients which sink and must be replaced by upwelling of water and by tempera
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