Ecosystem p2.doc

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An ecosystem is generally an area within the  in which physical () factors of the environment, such as rocks and soil, function together along with interdependent () , such as plants and animals, within the same habitat. Ecosystems can be permanent or temporary. Ecosystems usually form a number of .

At the base of an ecosystem, primary producers are actively converting solar energy into stored chemical energy. Photosynthesis is the process of converting solar energy, water, and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen. The process occurs in two steps: first light energy is absorbed by chlorophyll to split a molecule of water releasing hydrogen and oxygen. The second step uses the energy to convert carbon dioxide to carbohydrates.

Processes of Ecosystems

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This figure with the plants, zebra, lion, and so forth illustrates the two main ideas about how ecosystems function: ecosystems have energy flows and ecosystems cycle materials. These two processes are linked, but they are not quite the same  

Energy flows and material cycles.

Energy enters the biological system as light energy, or photons, is transformed into chemical energy in organic molecules by cellular processes including photosynthesis and respiration, and ultimately is converted to heat energy. This energy is dissipated, meaning it is lost to the system as heat; once it is lost it cannot be recycled.  Without the ...

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