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Biology: The Dynamic Science (Mind...

4th Edition
Peter J. Russell + 2 others
ISBN: 9781305389892

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BuyFindarrow_forward

Biology: The Dynamic Science (Mind...

4th Edition
Peter J. Russell + 2 others
ISBN: 9781305389892
Textbook Problem

The amount of energy available at the highest trophic level in an ecosystem is determined by:

a. only the gross primary productivity of the ecosystem.

b. only the net primary productivity of the ecosystem.

c. the gross primary productivity and the standing crop biomass.

d. the net primary productivity and the ecological efficiencies of herbivores.

e. the net primary productivity and the ecological efficiencies at all lower trophic levels.

Summary Introduction

Introduction:

In an ecosystem, the transfer of energy decreases from the first trophic to the next trophic level. Ecological efficiency is the efficiency with which energy is transferred. Thus, as one proceeds along the trophic levels, the energy efficiency decreases.

Explanation

Justification/explanation for the correct answer:

Option (e) states that “the amount of energy available at the highest trophic level in an ecosystem is determined by the net primary productivity and the ecological efficiencies at all the lower trophic levels.” This is correct because net primary productivity is the net chemical energy produced by plants and it is based on the ecological efficiency of the trophic level. Certain part of the energy is lost when it is transferred to the next trophic level. Thus, the amount of energy at the highest level depends on the net primary productivity and the ecological efficiencies at all the lower trophic levels. Hence, option (e) is correct.

Explanation for the incorrect answers:

Option (a) states that “the amount of energy available at the highest trophic level in an ecosystem is determined by only the gross primary productivity (GPP) of the ecosystem.” This is not correct because GPP is the energy produced by plants in the form of biomass. Since some part of this energy is lost by the producers for respiration, less amount of energy is available for the transfer to different trophic levels, which is the NPP. As energy is transferred at each level, some energy is lost depending on the ecological efficiency of the trophic level. So, it is an incorrect option.

Option (b) states that “the amount of energy available at the highest trophic level in an ecosystem is determined by only the net primary productivity of the ecosystem...

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