movement of carbon through a plant or animal cell, an animal,
2. Where does reduce carbon come from in the ecosystem?
in your teaching
Carbon moves through and between ecosystems as CO2 (low energy)
and reduced (high energy) organic (carbon-containing) molecules.
2. One class of organisms, known as primary producers or autotrophs, transforms
CO2 into reduced organic molecules; this process requires energy.
enters ecosystems primarily as sunlight (electromagnetic energy). The
process by which autotrophs use light is used to generate
reduced CO2 is known as photosynthesis.
most common form of photosynthesis, the form used by most photosynthetic
bacteria and plants, involves the light-driven extraction of
electrons from water; these electrons are used to generate
reduced CO2. A by-product of this reaction is O2.
5. Organisms that
cannot use energy to generate reduced CO2 are known as heterotrophs. Heterotrophs require a source
of reduced CO2 to survive and grow. They obtain this reduced
CO2 by eating other organisms or the by-products of other organisms.
During aerobic respiration energy is extracted from reduced
CO2 by the removal of elections; these electrons are delivered
to O2 to form H2O.
heterotrophs (animals, fungi, non-photosynthetic, non-autotrophic
bacteria and archaea) take in organic molecules and O2 and
Methanogenic heterotrophs (archaea) take in organic molecules
and release CH4; Methanotrophic heterotrophs oxidize CH4 to
9. Aerobic autotrophs perform both photosynthesis
in the light and respiration (all the time).
10. Reduced organic molecules. ATP and related
molecules carry energy around within the cell.
Carbon moves between organisms and between the cells within
an organism (via the circulatory system if an organism has
one) as CO2 or organic molecules (food and to a lesser extent,
The total amount of reduced organic molecules present within
organisms is know as biomass.
13. Autotrophs move carbon in and out of the biomass
(with generally a net increase), while heterotrophs move it out
(with a net decrease).
14. The atmosphere and oceans contain pools of
CO2, pools of reduced carbon are found in buried sediments, in
rocks, dissolved in the ocean, and as methane hydrates.
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