Energy in Biomass

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  • Energy in Biomass
    • Where does all energy (source of biomass) come from?
      • Radiation from the sun
    • What is biomass?
      • The dry mass of material in living organisms.
    • Why is a pyramid of biomass more useful than a pyramid of numbers?
      • It shows us the amount of biological material involved at each level of the food chain more effectively than a pyramid of numbers.
    • Why are biomass pyramids pyramid shaped? Why is each level less than the one below?
      • Because biomass and energy is lost between stages.
    • Explain how energy is lost in waste:
      • Herbivores cannot digest all plant matter that they eat, so some is lost in faeces. Carnivores dont eat all of their prey, and dont digest it all e.g. hooves. excess protein is lost in urine, and undigested parts are lost in faeces.
    • Explain why energy is lost due to movement:
      • Part of the biomass eaten is used for respiration, to make energy to move, which uses a lot of energy.
    • Why is so much energy lost by mammals keeping a constant body temperature?
      • Animals respired, some of the energy is used to keep them warm, some as their muscles move, and it is lost to heating the surroundings.
    • What happens to waste and dead animals? Explain the decay process:
      • Detritus feeders start the process of decay, eat dead animals and produce waste. Bacteria and fungi then digest everything, and produce water, carbon dioxide and nutrients that plants can use again.
    • What do decomposers do?
      • Decomposers break down the waste of dead animals and plants to return them to usable nutrients.
    • What are the conditions for decay? Why is each necessary?
      • Warmth- chemical reactions in microorganisms work faster.
      • Oxygen - So microorganisms can respire.
      • Moist conditions - microorganisms grow better and moisture makes it easier for them to dissolve their food.
    • Why is decay important in sewage treatment and compost heaps?
      • In sewage treatment plants microorganisms break down bodily waste so it is safe to release, and decomposes break down waste to make compost.
    • Draw out the carbon cycle:
    • How is photosynthesis involved in the carbon cycle?
      • Green plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen during photosynthesis, adding to their biomass.
    • How is respiration linked to the carbon cycle?
      • Living organisms release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere during respiration.
    • How is combustion linked to the carbon cycle?
      • When fossil fuels are burn, carbon trapped for millions of years is released into the atmosphere a carbon dioxide.
    • What has happened to the carbon cycle in recent years?
      • It used to balance itself for millions of years, but now we burn fossil fuels faster than they are being made.


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