Energy and Matter Cycles Basics
This standard focuses on how energy and matter cycles are collected and exploited by various levels of an ecosystem – from primary producers to apex predators – as well as how energy moves through an ecosystem as matter is constantly regenerated.
Energy and Matter Cycles
Cycling of Matter
Many types of chemicals make up matter, and many of them cycle through the biosphere. Carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, oxygen, and a variety of other elements are all utilised by organisms as they grow, reproduce, and die. This results in a variety of natural cycles throughout the biosphere. Here’s an illustration of the carbon cycle:
We have a lot of evidence that the carbon movement in nature is well-documented. We know that photosynthesis works by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and converting it to sugar. After energy is extracted from sugar bonds, the process of respiration, which occurs in most eukaryotic organisms, releases carbon dioxide. However, we know that people are affecting this cycle by burning fossil fuels, which releases vast quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, changing how heat is stored and how plants grow all around the planet.
Students may, however, investigate a variety of alternative cycles. The nitrogen cycle, the water cycle, and the build up of poisons in top-level predators are all fascinating cycles.
Energy and Matter Cycles
Flow of Energy:
The fact that energy does not circulate within an ecosystem is a significant distinction. Instead, it enters the system after being collected by primary producers and departs after being consumed by a broad range of species. Throughout the process, the energy is changed into various bonds until it is basically released as heat and chemical energy.
The opposing processes of photosynthesis and respiration are the most significant processes in nature for the flow of energy. Chloroplasts gather energy from the sun and store it in sugar via a light-powered proton pump (glucose molecules). These plants are eaten by little creatures and bigger animals, who use the energy to grow their bodies. The food web transports this energy throughout the environment. Decomposers in the soil eventually consume all the energy not used up by organisms before they die.
Carbon molecules, which are used to store energy, are released as carbon dioxide by both plants and mammals during respiration. This allows carbon dioxide to be reused in photosynthesis, resulting in a carbon dioxide closed system within the biosphere.
Energy may also be found in anaerobic environments, such as at hydrothermal vents. The principal energy source here is heat energy emitted by hydrothermal vents rather than the sun. Heat energy is stored in sulphur bonds, which specific anaerobic bacteria can access.
A little clarification
This clarification statement is in the standard:
The focus is on developing a conceptual grasp of the roles of aerobic and anaerobic respiration in various situations.
Let’s take a deeper look at this clarification:
Energy Flow in Ecosystems
The premise is that ecosystems may be developed on any source of energy, whether there is oxygen. The energy base of an ecosystem is formed by the energy obtained via photosynthesis or any other biochemical activity that absorbs energy from the environment.
The general structure of the ecosystem is determined by the amount of energy available. Photosynthesis may produce large quantities of energy, but other variables such as temperature, height, and latitude can reduce this energy. Not only can hydrothermal vents sustain microscopic bacterial creatures, but they also support a complete ecosystem of worms, crabs, and fish that have evolved to take advantage of the energy they supply. While other bacteria have evolved to extract energy from a variety of inorganic sources, only a few of these bacteria create huge quantities of energy, restricting these habitats to just a few species of specialised bacteria (such as those found deep within the Earth that extract energy from mineral sources).
What to Avoid
The following Assessment Boundary is also included in this NGSS standard:
The chemical processes of aerobic and anaerobic respiration are not included in the evaluation.
Here’s a more detailed explanation of what it means:
Specific Chemical Processes:
It is not essential to go into detail on the biological events that make aerobic or anaerobic respiration possible for this standard. From basic producers to apex predators, this standard focuses on the overall picture of how matter and energy move through an organism.