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Ecosystems and Energy

Ernst Haeckel

19th-century scientist
Developed the concept of ecology and named it


Eco (house) logy (study)
Study of biotic (living) and abiotic (nonliving) environment
Biotic: includes all organisms
Abiotic: Surroundings (living space, temperature, sunlight, soil, wind, and precipitation)


A group of similar organisms whose members freely interbreed w/ one another in the wild to produce fertile offspring; members of one species generally do not interbreed with other species of organisms


A group of organisms of the same species that live in the same area at the same time


A natural association that consists of all the populations of different species that live and interact within an area at the same time


A community and its physical environment

Earths 4 Realms

Atmosphere (air), Hydrosphere (water), Lithosphere (land), Biosphere (all combined)


A region that includes several interacting ecosystems


The parts of Earth's atmosphere, ocean, land surface, and soil that contain all living organisms

First law of Thermodynamics

an organism may absorb energy from its surroundings, or it may give up some energy into its surroundings, but the total energy content of the organism and its surroundings is always the same

Closed system

energy is not exchanged between the system and its surroundings
Thermos bottle
Rare in nature

Open system

energy is exchanged between the system and its surroundings

Second law of Thermodynamics

when energy is converted from one form to another, some of it is degraded into heat, a less usable form of energy that disperses into the environment


measure of disorder or randomness of energy
Usable energy: low entropy
Disorganized energy (heat): high entropy
increasing in the universe in all natural processes (less usable energy)

Trophic level

an organism's position in a food chain, which is determined by its feeding relationships


quantitative estimate of the total mass, or amount, of living materials; it indicated the amount of fixed energy at a particular time


gross primary productivity
the total amount of photosynthetic energy that plants capture and assimilate in a given period


net primary productivity
productivity after respiration losses are subtracted
what consumers can obtain


the parts of Earth's atmosphere, ocean, land surface, and soil that contain all living organisms


photosynthetic organisms (plants, algae, and some bacteria) that are potential food resources for other organisms


feed on other organisms
almost exclusively animals


feed on the components of dead organisms and organic wastes, degrading them into simple inorganic materials that producers can then use to manufacture more organic material

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