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(a) With the help of a flow diagram, describe how energy from the sun flows through various trophic levels. (b) Explain why, the flow of energy in the ecosystem is said to be unidirectional.

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(a) With the help of a flow diagram, describe how energy from the sun flows through various trophic levels.

(b) Explain why, the flow of energy in the ecosystem is said to be unidirectional.

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(a) The energy from sun flows through various trophic levels. The food and energy are transferred from producer organisms to herbivores and from herbivores to carnivores, through the food chain.

First Step: The green plants trap solar energy with the help of green pigment called chlorophyll which converts the sunlight energy into chemical energy. This gets stored as carbohydrates in the plants. About 1% of the sun’s energy falling on the leaves is used by the plants in the process of photosynthesis and stored as chemical energy of food. The plants utilize the stored energy for their metabolic activities like respiration and growth. Some of the energy is not utilised and it is released as unusable heat into the environment.

Second Step: The plants are eaten up by herbivores and the chemical energy of plants is transferred to them. The herbivores utilize this energy for various metabolic activities and release unused energy as heat energy to the environment.

Third Step: The herbivores are eaten up by carnivores. The chemical energy stored in the flesh of herbivores is transferred to the carnivores and they utilise this energy for their metabolic activities like respiration and growth and some of the energy which remains unutilised, is released into the environment. This process of transfer of energy is repeated with large carnivores and so on.

(b) The flow of energy in the ecosystem is said to be unidirectional because the energy lost as heat from the living organisms of a food chain cannot be reused by plants in photosynthesis.
This post was modified 3 years ago by Mayank1444
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