- Materials are CONSTANTLY CYCLED through the environment. One of the most important of these is CARBON.
- The main MOLECULES that make up our bodies (carbohydrates, fats and DNA) are based on CARBON ATOMS (combined with other elements).
- There is a FIXED AMOUNT of CARBON in the earth.
- Some CARBON is locked up in FOSSIL FUELS (coal, oil & gas). This is only released when we BURN it.
- Large amounts of CARBON are combined with other elements in CARBONATE ROCKS (limestone and chalk).
- CARBON is in the air in the form of CARBON DIOXIDE
- CARBON is also found DISSOLVED in WATER in rivers, lakes and oceans.
- Small amounts of CARBON are cycled between LIVING ORGANISMS and the ENVIRONMENT
- GREEN PLANTS and ALGAE remove CARBON DIOXIDE from the atmosphere through PHOTOSYNTHESIS.
- Plants use CARBON from CARBON DIOXIDE to make CARBOHYDRATES, PROTEINS and FATS.
- This makes up the plant's BIOMASS
- The CARBON is passed on to ANIMALS who EAT the plant who use the CARBON to make CARBOHYDRATES, PROTEINS and FATS for their bodies.
- CARBON DIOXIDE + WATER (+light energy) ----> GLUCOSE + OXYGEN
- All living organisms RESPIRE
- OXYGEN is used to break down GLUCOSE to provide ENERGY for cells.
- CARBON DIOXIDE is produced as a WASTE PRODUCT in animals. This is how CARBON is returned to the atmosphere.
- When plants and animals DIE, their bodies are BROKEN DOWN by DECOMPOSERS.
- DECOMPOSERS are organisms such as BACTERIA, FUNGI and MAGGOTS
- Animals which feed on decaying organic material are called DETRITUS FEEDERS.
- DETRITUS FEEDERS are organisms such as WOODLICE and WORMS.
- CARBON is released into the atmosphere as CARBON DIOXIDE when these organisms RESPIRE. This CARBON is then available to be taken in by plants.
- When we BURN Fossil Fuels, CARBON DIOXIDE is produced, so we release some of that CARBON back into the atmosphere.
- FOSSIL FUEL or WOOD + OXYGEN -----> CARBON DIOXIDE + WATER