Energy transfer in ecosystems

Most of the sugars synthesised by plants through photosynthesis are used by the plant as respiratory substrates. The rest are used to make other groups of biological molecules. These biological molecules form the biomass of the plants.

In any ecosystem the biomass transfers between trophic levels can be measured and the efficiency of biomass transfers between trophic levels can be measured.

Biomass can be measured in terms of mass of carbon or dry mass of tissue per given area per given time. The chemical energy store in dry biomass can be estimated using calorimetry.

Human activities, such as agriculture, can manipulate the transfer of biomass through ecosystems.

Whilst this list provides a source of information and ideas for experimental work, it is important to note that recommendations can date very quickly. Do NOT follow suggestions which conflict with current advice from CLEAPSS, SSERC or other recent safety guides. eLibrary users are responsible for ensuring that any activity, including practical work, which they carry out is consistent with current regulations related to Health and Safety and that they carry an appropriate risk assessment. Further information is provided in our Health and Safety guidance.