The slide show was designed and produced for the NMA by STEP, the Science Training & Education Partnership www.step-up-to-science.com Science Training & Education Partnership
The material in this slide show is provided free for educational use only. All other forms of storage or reproduction are subject to copyright- please contact the National Marine Aquarium www.national-aquarium.co.uk Ecosystems & Food Webs: Biomass and production Introduction and terms
Relating production to biomass Summary Introduction and terms Relating production to biomass Summary
Plants are the producers in ecosystems The amount of food for plant-eating consumers - herbivores - is determined by ... The amount of plants growing in a habitat - the biomass The addition of new plant growth - the production
The amount of production at the top of a food web is determined by: biomass the amount of producer the rate at which it is being produced the efficiency of
transfer through the For an ecosystem to be stable over time sustainable - the removal of biomass must be balanced by new growth - production Introduction and terms Relating production to biomass
Summary In most land ecosystems, plants are large and slowgrowing, so that it takes a large biomass of plants to produce enough to sustain the population of herbivores Similarly, it takes a large
biomass of large, slowgrowing herbivores to support the population of carnivores Secondary consumer - predator Primary consumer - herbivore
Producer In the African savannah, plant growth doubles its biomass in a few months to a year In the open ocean, growth of plankton algae doubles its biomass in a few days to a
week There is high production of plant material, and efficient conversion to herbivore biomass Small herbivores also grow fast, so that in turn a small herbivore biomass is enough to sustain the predator
population Blue whale eats about 3 tonnes of krill per day It takes about 120 tonnes of krill growing at
their maximum rate to support one whale This means that the whale needs to hunt over an area of between 5 and 40 square kilometres Algae produce about 20% growth per day, so it takes about 125 tonnes of
algae to support the krill needed to support one whale The krill need to eat 25 tonnes of algae per day For a given area of the Southern Ocean, the biomass at each level in the food
chain is very similar This is not what you would expect in a land ecosystem 125 tonnes 120 tonnes BIOMASS
100 tonnes However, the production of new material by each level is very different The algae produce about 20% new material per day, whilst the whale produces 0.02% growth per day
25 tonnes per day 3 tonnes per day PRODUCTION 120 kilogrammes per day
25 tonnes per day 3 tonnes per day PRODUCTION 120 kilogrammes
per day Introduction and terms Relating production to biomass Summary These two examples show two very different
ecosystems The ratio between producerbiomass and -production underpins these differences These differences can be seen in a global comparison between land and ocean . LAND
OCEAN Very big plants Very small plants 30% of the planets surface 70% of the
planets surface 99% of all living material Less than 1% of all living material 54% of the annual
growth of new living material 46% of the annual growth of new living material LAND OCEAN
Very big plants Very small plants Large amount per unit area Very small amount per unit area
Grow slowly double biomass in months to years Grow very fast double biomass in days to weeks Classical pyramid
of biomass Often small biomass of producers and herbivores You have seen that Biomasses of plants in land and ocean ecosystems differ
Production by plants determines the food available for other levels in the food web You have seen that Production at high levels in the food web is always lower than production at low levels Biomass of producers is
not always larger than that of consumers www.justaddh2o.tv www.nationalaquarium.co.uk NOTES for USERS The material in this slide show is designed to support the teaching of science at Key Stage 1 A full description of the slide show, and linked activities for students, can be found on the National Marine Aquarium (NMA) web-site:
Teachers are free to amend the slide show in whatever way they feel fit, or to use slides in other contexts. However, please note that neither the NMA nor the designers will accept responsibility for modifications, and original material remains copyright of the NMA Individual images used in the slides are copyright of NMA or STEP, except where acknowledged separately The slides have been set up to display as A4 landscape format. If they are incorporated into other slide sequences with different display settings, change in aspect ratio and text location will occur The slide sequence contains the minimum of effects and transitions. However, there are some automated animations, and teachers will wish to make sure that they are familiar with
the sequence before use in class Use the PowerPoint notes viewer to obtain additional information for some slides
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