Energy Flow through Ecological Systems

Cycling of Matter in Ecological
The balance of life…
Or Biogeochemical Cycles
Each element has its own story
All nutrients flow from nonliving
(abiotic) to living (biotic) and
back to nonliving (abiotic) in
what is called a biogeochemical
Biogeochemical Cycles
Gaseous: atmo/hydro sphere
Sedimentary: lithosphere
Basic structure
 Input
 Internal cycling
 Output
What elements are essential
to life?
Let’s get down to biochemistry!!! Wooo hooo….
CHOPKINS CaFe Mighty good
The 12 most important elements for life….
Which one of these is the backbone of all
organic molecules…?
And the answer is….
It is used as the building block in every
organic molecule and therefore is the
backbone of life.
So…What does this mean in ecology? …let’s
look at how carbon flows through an
ecological system.
Take it away Cathy….!!
Carbon Cycle
Carbon Cycle
Carbon budget closely linked to
Atmosphere, lithosphere and hydrosphere
Mass movement of air around planet
OCEANS contain majority of active
carbon pool 38,000 Gt, mostly as
bicarbonate and carbonate ions.
Where did your carbon go?
Let’s see the cycle in action…,11183,2584893-,00.html
Okay your all experts at this right??
Let’s look at our list of elements again
CHOPKINS CaFe Mighty good
The 12 most important elements for
Do you know what other elements are
essential to ecosystem function???
Nitrogen and Phosphorus…These
elements are essential to function and
productivity of ecological systems.
Importance of Nitrogen (N)
Nitrogen is a part of all living cells
and is a necessary part of all
proteins, enzymes and metabolic
processes involved in the synthesis
and transfer of energy.
Nitrogen is a part of chlorophyll, the
green pigment of the plant that is
responsible for photosynthesis.
Importance of Nitrogen (N)
Helps plants with rapid growth,
increasing seed and fruit production
and improving the quality of leaf and
forage crops.
 Nitrogen often comes from the air
(legumes get their N from the
atmosphere, water or rainfall
contributes very little nitrogen)
Importance of Phosphorus (P)
Like nitrogen, phosphorus (P) is an
essential part of the process of
Involved in the formation of all oils,
sugars, starches, etc.
Helps with the transformation of solar
energy into chemical energy; proper
plant maturation; withstanding stress.
Importance of Phosphorus (P)
Effects rapid growth.
Encourages blooming and
root growth.
Phosphorus originates from
Nitrogen Cycle (N)
Phosphorus Cycle (P)
We observe the dynamic balance
of matter cycles at all levels of
scale from the ecological system to
the individual organism.
For Ecologists..Aldo Leopold’s
dictum that an action is right when
it maintains the stability and
integrity of the biotic community
holds true.