Biology: Food Chains and Cycles

These cards contain quick revision notes on the AQA Additional Biology topic 'Food Chains and Cycles'.

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  • Producers: Green plants- they make food through photosynthesis
  • Primary Consumers: Usually eat plant material- they are herbivores
  • Secondary consumers: Usually eat animal material- they are carnivores
  • Predators: Kill for food- either secondary or tertiary consumers
  • Prey: The animals predators feed on
  • Scavengers: Feed on dead animals
  • Decomposers: Feed on dead and decaying organisms, and on the undigested parts of plant and animal matter in faeces
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  • Photosynthesis: Chemical change that occurs in leaves of green plants- light energy converts carbon dioxide and water to glucose
  • Pyramid of Biomass: Diagram to illustrate amount of biological material within food chain or web
  • Respiration: Chemical change that takes place in living cells- glucose and oxygen to energy
  • Food Chain: A sequence of feeding relationships between organisms, showing who eats what and the movement of energy
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Energy Transfer

  • Energy transferred along food chain one stage to next
  • Not all energy available at one stage can be absorbed at next one
  • Some of available energy goes into growth and offspring- available to next stage
  • Energy is lost in waste materials, such as faeces
  • Energy released by respiration is used for movement and other life processes, and is eventually lost as heat to the surroundings
  • Food chains are usually short because energy is lost at each stage
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Efficiency of Food Production

  • To improve efficiency you should reduce energy lost to surroundings
    • prevent animals from moving too much
    • keeping surroundings warm
  • Balance must be reached between needs of farmers and consumers and welfare of animals
  • Food production is more efficient if the food chain is short because a higher percentage of energy is available to us
  • To calculate energy efficiency you make the amount of energy available over the amount of original energy into a percentage
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