How are trophic structure and energy flow linked?

2.5 The Function of Ecosystems – Energy Flows

Who is Howard T. Odum and what has he contributed to Energy Flows in Ecosystems? (There is no need to learn Odum’s complex diagram.)






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Student Personal note-taking during lesson: ESS-Notes

TASK: Brainstorm the meaning of the word ‘productivity

  • e.g. pyramids of ‘productivity’ Productivity signpost–> the graphical, quantitative representation of the energy flow

What do you think the term ‘primary’ productivity means? [think trophic level 1…]

Check your understanding:


TASK: Brainstorm the meaning of the concept “efficiency.” What does ecological efficiency mean?

  • efficiency“Is this a waste of time and energy?” What does it mean to be inefficient – perhaps this is an easier concept to grasp…
  • An energy flow (i.e. transfer) is inefficient if high amounts of energy is “wasted” or “lost.”


TASK: List any inaccuracies in the video and suggest any improvements (content-wise).

1.1.4 Describe how the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics are relevant to natural/environmental systems. 


Class presentation and notes 1.1.4 Thermodynamics

TASK: The hourglass analogy – Thermodyn Hourglass




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