Sun fuels plants
Light, a form of energy, provides one of the basic components needed by green plants to produce food in the form of sugar. This action occurs through photosynthesis by the chlorophyll of the plant. These plants, also referred to as producers, release a small amount of the energy they capture in the form of heat.
Animals consume plants or other animals
Herbivores, known as consumers, consume plants. These animals use the plants to generate their own form of energy. When the plants eaten enter the digestive system of these consumers, the body breaks the food down into usable components, including sugar. The mitochondria in the cells of the animal converts the sugars into ATP, the form of energy necessary for life. Animals which eat other animals, carnivores, digest the meat into its basic parts, and use the sugar from it to produce their own ATP. The energy produced by animals also helps to regulate body temperature, and this energy is dissipated from the body in the form of heat.
Decomposers finish the movement of energy
Once a plant or animal dies, its body does not remain whole forever. Over time, bacteria and other decomposers break the body down into their own form of energy. The decomposers are the final stop for energy in the ecosystem. They use this last bit of energy to produce heat. Energy can only begin to flow again with the sun's light.
Energy Flow & Chemical Cycle Through Ecosystem
Energy and nutrients, or chemicals, flow through an ecosystem. While energy flows through the ecosystem and cannot be recycled, nutrients cycle within...
How Does Energy Flow through a Food Chain?
Food chains describe the flow of energy through an ecosystem. Primary producers pump energy into an ecosystem from an environmental source, and...
Why Can't the Ecosystem's Energy Be Recycled?
Plants convert the sun's energy into their leaves, roots, stems, flowers and fruit through photosynthesis. Organisms eat the plants, and through the...
Summary of an Ecosystem
Every ecosystem, from the Sahara Desert to the Galapagos Islands, is unique. In spite of this diversity, all ecosystems can be described...
Energy Transformations in Ecosystems
Plants receive the sun's energy and use it to convert inorganic compounds into rich organic compounds. Therefore, biological activities in an ecosystem...
Three Energy Roles in an Ecosystem
An ecosystem consists of a web of life forms within a particular biome, or area, that rely upon one another for sustenance....
The complexity of the natural world is self-regulated by ecosystem "laws" that maintain an equilibrium by which life is sustained. In this...