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Ecosystem- abiotic factors and biotic factors that make up the

environment
What does an ecosystem contain in it?
1. Living organisms
a. Food webs- a simple model of how energy and matter move
through the ecosystem
(http://www.mhhe.com/biosci/genbio/virtual_labs/BL_02/BL_02.
html)
i. Producers
ii. First order heterotrophs
iii. Second order heterotrophs
iv. Third order heterotrophs
b. Relationships
i. Symbiotic
ii. Communalistic
iii. Parasitic
c. Heterotrophs
i. Herbivores- eats plants only (1st order heterotrophs)
ii. Omnivores- eats plants and animals (2nd order
heterotrophs)
iii. Carnivores- eats animals only (3rd order heterotrophs)
iv. Decomposers
d. Autotrophs (producers)
i. Photosynthetic- energy from light
2. A source of energy (Sun for most)
3. Possible abiotic factors
a. Rocks
b. Sand
c. Wind
d. Water
e. Light
f. pH
g. Salinity
h. Gasses
i. Temperature
j. Pressure
k. Soil
l. Feces/urine

Within a food web each level higher on the web losses energy due to
decomposers. The energy only moves in one direction. Energy
conservation efficiency is that amount of energy lost on each level up
which is around 10%. All the energy lost within a food chain is lost as heat.
Biomass- a pyramid of this shows the weight of living things at each level
in the food web. The biomass is the average weight of every species
within a level of the food web then by multiplying that number by the
amount of individuals within a species. In terrestrial ecosystems, biomass
and trophic level are inversely proportionally. In fresh water/marine
ecosystems biomass and trophic level are proportional, this is because
algae have a shorter life span and are more edible which makes their
biomass smaller and not gather.

1. Suggest reasons why the information represented in the pyramid of


numbers of animals of one of the ecosystems you studied may not
truly represent that ecosystem.
These food webs may not truly represent the ecosystem being looked at
because evolution is always occurring which means that the numbers
fluctuate over time and new species come into the ecosystem while
others go extinct.
2. According to your data, what is the ratio of third-order consumers to
producers? Explain your answer.
About 2,000,000,000:1. I arrived at this answer by evaluating the ratio for
each ecosystem then found the average.
3. Compare and contrast two of the ecosystems you studied. How is
the energy conversion efficiency similar or different?
Grassland ecosystem and the hot desert ecosystem have the same thirdorder consumers although the biggest variety of species in the grassland
ecosystem is the first-order consumers and for the hot desert ecosystem it
is the producers with the biggest variety of species.
4. Does the population size increase or decrease at higher trophic
levels in the pyramid of numbers of an ecosystem consisting of a
tree, insects (that are herbivores) and birds feeding on the insects?
Explain your answer.
The population size decreases as it gets to higher trophic levels. This is
because one organism needs to eat many organisms in order to survive.
5. What might happen to an ecological pyramid of numbers in a forest
ecosystem if most of the deer were killed due to hunting by people
and disease?

If most of the deer were killed in an ecosystem, then the third-order


consumers would starve and the first-order consumers numbers will
reach an unsustainable peak leading to a decline in producers and
possibly extinction of producers if the numbers of first-order consumers is
great enough.
6. What would happen to an ecosystem if the decomposers
disappeared?
If the decomposers disappeared then the nutrients held within a dead
organism will no longer be obtained by other organisms and it will
negatively affect the food web.
7. Could there be a food chain without herbivores and carnivores?
There could not be a food web without herbivores and carnivores because
the energy would not be able to pass along a chain.