To conserve and manage our biological resources wisely, we must understand the basic concepts of energy, energy flow in ecosystems, and biological production. After reading this chapter, you should understand:
- How energy flow determines the upper limit on the production of biological resources, including forests, fisheries, wildlife, and endangered species.
- Where energy comes from and how it is transferred from one living thing to another.
- How the first and second laws of thermodynamics affect energy and production.
- That energy flows is one way through the ecosystem.
- That a basic quality of life is its ability to create order from energy on a local scale.
- Why little of the energy available to an organism is fixed in new organic matter and how little of the energy available moves on to the next trophic level.