Ecology terminology and facts

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Producer
Photosynthetic organisms that manufacture organic substances using light energy, water, carbon dioxide etc.
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Consumer
Organisms that obtain energy by feeding on other organisms.
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Primary consumers
Consumers that eat producers.
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Secondary consumers
Consumers that eat primary consumers.
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Tertiary consumers
Consumers that eat secondary consumers.
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Decomposers
Group of organisms that break down complex molecules from dead producers and consumers into simple components to harvest the energy stored. (e.g. bacteria)
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Food Chain
A feeding chain/relationship.
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Trophic Level
Each stage in a food chain.
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Food Web
Within a single habitat, many food chains will be linked together to form a web. (As most animals don't have a single food source)
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Why do plants only absorb 1-3% of available energy from the Sun?
1) 90% of the Sun's energy is reflected back into space by clouds + dust or is absorbed. 2) Not all wavelengths are absorbed. 3) Limiting factors. 4) Light may not fall on chlorophyll.
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Net Production equation
Net production = gross production - respiratory losses.
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How much food is used per organism?
Only 10% of food stored in plants is used for growth by primary consumers. Secondary and tertiary use about 20%
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Why is energy transfer naturally inefficient?
1) Some of the organism isn't always eaten. 2) Some parts aren't digested. 3) Some energy lost in excretory materials or in respiration.
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What does this mean? (1)
Most food chains will have a max of 3-4 trophic levels because there will be insufficient energy to support large enough breeding populations at higher levels.
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What does this mean? (2)
Total mass of organisms in a particular place are less at higher trophic levels.
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What does this mean? (3)
Total Total amount of energy stored is less at each level as you go up the chain
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Card 2

Front

Organisms that obtain energy by feeding on other organisms.

Back

Consumer

Card 3

Front

Consumers that eat producers.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

Consumers that eat primary consumers.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Consumers that eat secondary consumers.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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