ENERGY TRANSFORMATION IN THE ECOSYSTEM, Energy exists in various forms
. These forms of energy are inter-convertible. They can be transformed from one form to another form.
TERMS associated with energy transfer in the ecosystem
Biomass— Total weight, volume, or energy equivalent of all living organisms within a given area in energy transformation
Ecological efficiency— Energy changes from one trophic level to the next.
First law of thermodynamics— Energy can be transformed but it cannot be created nor can it be destroyed.
Primary consumer— An organism that eats primary producers during energy transformation
Primary producer— An organism that photosynthesizes.
energy transfer or transformation in the ecosystem
The vast majority of energy that exists in food webs originates from the sun and is converted (transformed) into chemical energy by the process of photosynthesis in plants. … At each stage of a food chain, most of the chemical energy is converted to other forms such as heat, and does not remain within the ecosystem.
Energy transformation is governed by the laws of thermodynamics
The sun is the ultimate and eternal source of energy for ecosystem on earth.
ENERGY FLOW IN AN ECOSYSTEM
Energy flow in the ecosystem is unidirectional/non-cyclic: which is, it is either stored or utilized. The light energy of the sun is absorbed by chlorophyll in green plants which is then used to produce carbohydrates. The chemical energy in the carbohydrate in then passed on to the food chain. When the primary consumer feeds on the plants and grasses/producers, the chemical energy is then passed along the food chain to the secondary consumer and then to the tertiary consumer/decomposer
What is energy loss in the ecosystem?
Energy is lost at each tropic level. For example, when herbivores, which are primary consumers feeds on a plant/producer, not all part of the plant is eaten. As a result not all energy in the plant-producer is consumed.
Plants lose energy during respiration and they do not utilize all the energy in preceding members.
- Effects of wind
Depending on the type of vegetation and climatic factors, only 1-10% of the solar energy may be available to photosynthetic producers in most ecosystems.
WHAT IS THE LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS?
Thermodynamics ordinarily means heat changes. Heat is a form of energy and it can be changed or converted from one form to another form is governed by two laws.
These laws are called the first and second laws of thermodynamics
FIRST LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS IN ENERGY TRANSFORMATION
The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed.
What this laws simply means is that you cannot create or destroy energy but you can convert it to another form of energy
SECOND LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS IN ENERGY TRANSFORMATION
The second law of thermodynamics states that in any conversion of energy from one form to another form, there is always a decrease in the amount of useful energy. It simply means that there is no 100% complete transformation of energy from one form to another as energy transformation
The application of the laws of thermodynamics to ecological phenomena or events
Every ecological event or phenomena can explained using the laws of thermodynamics.
EXPLAIN FOOD CHAIN USING THE LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS
Energy conversion or transfer in the food chain can be explain in the following ways
Using the first law of thermodynamics to explain food chain in energy transformation :
In this portal, energy is generated through the sun and is transferred from the producer to the final consumer. The green plant transfers the energy to the primary consumers, which again transfers the energy to the secondary consumers. In all of the energy transfer, the energy from the sun remains constant
Using the second law of thermodynamics to explain food chain:
While the energy is transferred to the next tropic level, part of it is lost as heat or energy transformation
In other words, as the energy is transferred from the producer to the primary consumers, to secondary consumers, and then to the tertiary consumers, energy is lost as heat in each tropic level
It is then evident that there is no 100% energy transfer from one form or the other that there will not be energy loss
USING THE LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS TO EXPLAIN PYRAMID OF ENERGY
- Using the first law of thermodynamics to explain pyramid of energy:
In this, it is discovered that energy is transferred from one tropic level to another. The energy of the producer at the base of the pyramid is always higher and is transformed gradually from one stage of the tropic level to another. Even though the energy is transformed from one tropic level to the next successive level, the sum of the energy is still constant
Using the second law of thermodynamics to explain pyramid of energy:
Here as the energy is transformed from tropic level to another, part of it is converted into heat which is lost, causing a progressive drop in successive tropic level of energy transformation
USING THE THERMODYNAMICS LAWS TO EXPLAIN THE FLOW OF ENERGY
- Using the first law in energy transformation
This states that as the producers converts the solar energy to useful energy, this energy is progressively transformed from one tropic level to the next. energy transformation
It is important to note that the energy flow in a food chain is in one direction only
Using the second law of thermodynamics to explain energy flow in an ecosystem:
Here the transfer of energy from one tropic level to another is not 100%. This means that energy is or cannot be completely transferred. This is to say that energy available for use by the next level or organism in the food chain starting from the producers is always on the reducing end till it gets to the tertiary consumers
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