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Level 22

Energy transfer and decay


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Energy from the sun
This is the source of energy for nearly all life on earth
Green plants and algae
They use a small percentage of the light energy through photosynthesis to create food that then moves up the food chain
Respiration
This supplies energy to all living processes including movement
Energy loss
This eventually happens to all the energy through heat loss into the surroundings. This is especial true for mammals that have to keep a constant body heat which is normally above the temperature of the surroundings
Material and energy
These are both lost as you go up the food chain
Cycle of elements
Elements are cycled back to the start of the food chain by decay as the plants take up the nutrients from the soil. This happens by the organism dying or through its waste products
Micro-organisms
Most of these work best in warm, moist conditions with plenty of oxygen. Compost bins try and recreate these ideal conditions
Stable community
In this the amount of energy and materials taken out of the soil should equal the amount of energy being given in - in a constant cycle