(5.9B) Energy Flow
The student is expected to describe how the flow of energy derived from the Sun, used by producers to create their own food, is transferred through a food chain and food web to consumers and decomposers.
Producers are able to convert energy from light or heat into the chemical bonds of food molecules through photosynthesis. Consumers must obtain energy by feeding on producers or other consumers. These energy transfer relationships are the basis of food chains and webs in ecosystems.
Predation is the consumption of one organism by another. Understanding the relationships among predators and their prey is an important part of learning about food chains.
Decomposers, which break down the organic matter accumulated in the bodies of other organisms, are essential to the functioning of ecosystems. Help your students learn more about this important trophic level in food chains and food webs.
Once energy enters an ecosystem through photosynthesis, it is passed from organism to organism in the form of chemical bond energy, also known as food! Explore how energy is transferred through food chains and food webs here.
During photosynthesis, energy from the sun is stored as chemical energy in sugar molecules (which contain carbon atoms from carbon dioxide). Thus, the flow of energy from the sun to producers and consumers is paralleled closely by the carbon cycle in ecosystems. Use these resources to review the carbon cycle with students.