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Ecology

Explore the relationships among organisms and their interactions


with the environment.
Lesson 3

In this unit
you will:
! Explore the interdependent
relationships among
organisms and their
environments.
! Describe the cycling of
matter and flow of energy
within an ecosystem.
! Learn that physical and
biological changes to an
ecosystem affect
populations.
! Evaluate design solutions
for protecting an
ecosystem.

The Flow of Energy


Through Ecosystems
Energy in an
ecosystem is passed
from one organism to
another through a
series of interactions
called a food chain.
Food chains usually
have three or four
links.
Energy decreases at
each link.

Food Chain

A food chain is a model used to show how energy


from food passes from one organism to another.
The Food Chain of an Owl
Producers are organisms
that make their own foods.

Consumers are organisms


that cannot make their own
foods. Consumers eat
producers and other
consumers. An insect is an
herbivore/consumer.

A mouse is an omnivore/
consumer.

An owl is a carnivore/
consumer.

A food chain shows the path of energy transferred from one living organism to the next in the
chain. Food chains are usually only three to four links long.
Decomposers like bacteria, fungi, and parasites are necessary for all food chains.

Food Web

A food web is a model used to describe a series of


overlapping food chains.

Ecological Pyramid

is a model used to describe the transfer of energy through a community.

! The energy pyramid, which is a


type of ecological pyramid,
models the decrease in transferred
energy.
! Most energy available in the
biosphere comes from the sun.
! Producers, like plants, capture and
transform a small part of the suns
energy.
! When herbivores eat plants some
of the energy is transferred to the
herbivore, but most is released
into the atmosphere as heat.
! Energy is transferred at each link
in the food chain, but decreases at
each level.

Heat

H e a t

Heat

t
a
e
H

The Cycles of Matter


! Energy that is
scattered into the
atmosphere at each
level of the energy
pyramid is renewed
by the sun.
! Physical organisms
are made of matter.
! Matter is never lost
or gained; it is
recycled!
! Examples of
materials that make
up our bodies and
cycle through
ecosystems are:
water, carbon and
nitrogen.

The Water Cycle


Condensation

Evaporation Transpiration

Precipitation

Run off
Seepage
Root uptake

The Nitrogen Cycle

is the transfer of nitrogen from the atmosphere to plants,


and back to the atmosphere or directly into plants again.
! Nitrogen is important element needed by organisms to make
proteins.
! Nitrogen gas makes up 78% of atmosphere but organisms
cannot use it in this form.
! Nitrogen fixation is the process of combining nitrogen in the air
with other elements like ammonia or fertilizer, into a state
plants can use for growth.

Simplified
Nitrogen
Cycle
1.Organic wastes(from plants and animals) add nitrogen to the soil.
2.Bacteria in the soil convert the nitrogen into forms plants can use.
3.Plants use nitrogen in the soil to grow, develop, and produce seeds.
4.Plants are eaten by animals and people. The organic waste (which contains
nitrogen) is returned to the soil again.

The Nitrogen Cycle


N2 in atmosphere

NO3- & NO2NH3


ammonia

Nitrate & nitrite

Lesson 3 Review
Vocabulary
food chain a model used to show
how energy from food passes from
one organism to another.
food web a model used to describe
a series of overlapping food chains.
ecological pyramid a model used to
describe the transfer of energy
through a community.
water cycle the continuous
movement of water in the biosphere
through evaporation, condensation,
and precipitation.

nitrogen cycle the


continuous movement of
nitrogen from the atmosphere
to plants, and back to the
atmosphere (or directly into
plants) again.

Links to important info!


Food Chain game:
http://www.ecokids.ca/pub/eco_info/topics/frogs/
chain_reaction/index.cfm
Energy Pyramid video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CReZd9OHEfs