chapter  4
34 Pages

Organisation at the Ecosystem Level

Energy flow represents a fundamental ecological concept with a unifying role among the partial plant, animal, and microorganism studies. It is based on trophic relations between various organisms and constitutes the “ driving force” for the function of the ecosystem. Energy flow is not circular but linear (Figure 4.1), with a direction from the lower to the higher trophic levels and with conversion from light to chemical energy and, finally, from chemical energy to heat, i.e. to a downgraded energy form. Energy flow interruption in an ecosystem entails the collapse of its organization; the ecosystem is gradually decomposed into inorganic matter.