Investigating Energy Flow in an Ecosystem
Energy flows from one organism to another as food. Energy enters into a food web either as solar energy captured as part of photosynthesis or as chemical energy captured by chemosynthetic bacteria in specialized ecosystems. No matter the source, this energy is used to create complex energy rich macromolecules which are either used immediately to maintain homeostasis or are stored for later use. Consumers feed on organisms in order to acquire complex energy rich macromolecules for their own needs. This investigation demonstrates how ecologists determine the flow of energy along a simple food chain.