For many ecosystems, the sun provides the primary source of energy. The sun provides light and fuel necessary for the growth of many living organisms, ranging from tiny microbes and bacteria to plants and animals. Some species, primarily photosynthetic plants, use sunlight for creating energy of their own, which in turn helps them grow and reproduce.Continue Reading
In sunlight-dependent ecosystems, the sun delivers energy to all organisms, which use that energy in different ways. Base-level organisms, called producers, absorb sunlight directly. They grow and reproduce using photosynthesis, which involves the absorption of sunlight and conversion of that light into sugar and energy.
Producers live in terrestrial and aquatic environments. Most take the form of photosynthetic producers, such as algae and plants. Others exist in the form of bacteria, and reside in oceans. These producers, also called autotrophs, serve as food for organisms slightly higher on the food chain, called primary consumers. These animals obtain energy from consuming plants, seaweed and fungi. They classify as vegetarians, and eat a variety of leafy green matter.
Secondary and tertiary consumers rank higher on the food chain. These species include larger animals that consume primary producers. Some classify as omnivores too, eating plants along with other animals. Food and nutrients pass through ecosystems, eventually decomposing in a long recycling process. Energy from the sun, however, does not recycle, and requires a constant injection into ecosystems to sustain life.Learn more about Biology
Phytoplankton, which convert energy from the sun, are the primary producers of energy in the aquatic food web. Many marine animals directly eat phytoplankton, including larger zooplankton, krill and even massive baleen whales, which filter plankton out of the water.Full Answer >
Bacteria obtain energy by breaking down complex organic and inorganic compounds or by fixing carbon dioxide using the energy from the sun. Bacteria are categorized into phototrophs, lithotrophs or organotrophs depending upon their energy source.Full Answer >
The energy required for photosynthesis comes from the sun as light energy; plants transform this light energy into chemical energy, or sugars. Plants perform this energy conversion using light, water, carbon dioxide and a green substance called chlorophyll. Photosynthesis takes place in a plant's leaves.Full Answer >
Various protist species are important to humans because they are the primary producers at the base of the food pyramid, turning the energy from the sun into a form that can be passed from organism to organism up the food pyramid. Protists also stabilize the ion levels of water, which allows seaweed and fish, both of which are important food sources for humans, to thrive.Full Answer >