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# Energy transfer

between
trophic levels

OBJECTIVES
• Carry out calculations of
net primary productivity
and explain the
relationship between gross
primary productivity, net
primary productivity and
plant respiration.

How much of the Sun’s energy is actually converted to organic matter? Why? .

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• 1-3% • 90+% reflected back into space by dust and clouds • Some wavelengths of light cannot be absorbed by plants • Light might not fall on a chlorophyll molecule. • Other limiting factors restrict the rate of photosynthesis such as CO2 concentration and temperature. .

DEFINITIONS OF GPP AND NPP .

• Net Production = Gross Production – Respiratory Losses • NPP=GPP – R .• GPP OR Gross Primary Productivity is the total amount of light energy fixed through photosynthesis in a given period of time. • Net primary productivity or NPP is the energy remaining after respiration. Unit: kjm- 2year-1 • 20-50% used in respiration.

FACTORS WHICH AFFECT GPP .

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Why is the percentage of energy transfer between trophic levels so low? .

• Not all the organism is consumed. • Some energy is lost in excretory substances. • Considerable heat is lost by respiration. • Not all parts are digestible so they are excreted. .

What can be explained by the inefficiency of energy transfer between trophic levels? .

• Less energy is stored at each trophic level. as there is insufficient energy to support a breeding population at this stage. . • Biomass decreases at higher trophic levels.• The number of trophic levels being limited to 4 or 5.

Calculating efficiency of (Energy available after transfer ÷ Energy energy available before transfer) x 100 transfers (kJ/m²/year) .

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. • Energy efficiency – the percentage of energy used after the transfer for growth and other processes rather than wasted.Glossary • Trophic level – the position of an organism in a food chain • Gross Production – total amount of the Sun’s energy converted to organic matter • Net Production – organic matter available after respiratory/excretory losses • Biomass – total mass of living material in a specific area at a given time.