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DBQ Energy Transfers and Transformations

Part I
Use the diagram below of energy flow through an ecosystem to answer the
following questions:




P = Production


Identify the following transfers and transformations from the diagram.

Write the letter (a, b, c, d, e) in the appropriate location on diagram and
label it as a transfer (T1) or transformation (T2).
a) The radiation (energy) reflected from the surface of plants

b) The radiation (energy) that evaporates of water from the plants

(transpiration get to know this word).

c) Conversion of light to chemical energy (photosynthesis).

d) Loss of chemical energy to heat from one trophic level to another


e) Loss of ordered energy (increase in entropy) from one trophic level to

another. (Entropy is defined as an increase in disorder).

Part II
Energy Transfers in Ecosystems
The diagram below shows in simplified form the transfers of energy (solid
lines) and transformations of energy (dotted lines) in a generalized
ecosystem. Each box represents a category of organisms, grouped
together by their feeding position in the ecosystem.

Scan Food Chain diagram page 37 of DBQ materials


Primary consumers

Secondary consumers

1. State the form in which energy enters producers.

2. State the form in which energy enters primary consumers and

secondary consumers.

3. Explain what is represented by the dotted arrows leaving each box.

4. Write a statement that relates the dotted lines to the second law of
thermodynamics. Define the law in your statement.

5. Examine the diagram and think about the second law of

thermodynamics. Using the second law explain in your statement why the
system is not an isolated system.

6. Define the first law of thermodynamics.

7. In considering the first law of thermodynamics, write an equation that

relates X to A, B, C and D.

Part II
Use the diagram of the ecosystem pyramid below to answer the questions
that follow.

1) The diagram above shows storages (standing stocks in Joules). The

diagram does not display flows. Explain this statement.

2) Briefly explain why there is a progressive decline in the amount of

energy stored at each level. Relate your response to one of the laws of

3) Briefly explain why the system displayed here is not an isolated system.

Part III

Carbon Cycle (Stocks 1015 mol; Flows 1015 mol/yr)

Atmospheric CO2: 56

Living Organic Matter: 70



Dead Organic Matter: 160


Carbon in Sediments:
1 x106



Fossil Fuels: 800

1) Examine the carbon cycle carefully. Is the storage of atmospheric

carbon dioxide in equilibrium?

2) Identify three flows that are transformations. Identify one flow that is a

3) Specifically identify the following flows: photosynthesis, respiration,