1.1. 6: Transfers and Transformations

December 15th, 2009

Both Material and Energy move or flow through ecosystems. A transfer is when the flow does not involve a change of form and a transformation is a flow involving a change of form. Both types of flow use energy, transfers being simpler use less energy and are therefore more efficient than transformations.

The animation shows transfers and transformations in food chains. Get the Flash Player to see this player. transfers

Transfers can involve:
The movement of material through living organisms (carnivores eating other animals)
The movement of material in a non-living process (water being carried by a stream)
The movement of energy (ocean currents transferring heat)

Transformations can involve:
Matter (glucose converted to starch in plants)
Energy (Light converted to heat by radiating surfaces)
Matter to energy (burning fossil fuels)
Energy to matter (photosynthesis)

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