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lecture_notes_10_3_07 - Lecture Notes ECOSYSTEM The...

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Lecture Notes 10-3-07 ECOSYSTEM The biota (living and dead organisms), atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and their interconnections The interconnections (links) involve: Flows (one-way transfers) Cycles (reciprocal transfers) Emphasis is not on species per se, but on the roles they perform Both flows and cycles are mediated by the feeding relationships (TROPHIC STRUCTURE) of the biota of the community TROPHIC LEVELS Producers Primary Consumers (Herbivores) Secondary Consumers (Carnivores Tertiary Consumers (Carnivores of Carnivores) Detritivores (Feed on dead organisms or their waste products) Producers are AUTOTROPHS; organisms in all other levels are HETEROTROPHS
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ENERGY FLOW: Energy enters an ecosystem primarily through the sun’s radiation, leaves in the form of heat. Living systems are intermediaries in the flow – through various chemical processes; they delay the ultimate conversion to heat. PRIMARY PRODUCTION The conversion of light energy (or inorganic chemical energy) to the chemical energy of organic compounds by the producers (autotrophs) of a system
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