Energetic Factors

Authored by: Luca Palmeri , Alberto Barauesse , Sven Erik Jørgensen

Ecological Processes Handbook

Print publication date:  August  2013
Online publication date:  August  2013

Print ISBN: 9781466558472
eBook ISBN: 9781466558489
Adobe ISBN:

10.1201/b15380-11

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Abstract

Energy has a great influence on most ecological processes. Biotic activity on the earth ultimately originates from the energy provided by solar radiation, which is used by primary producers to produce biomass that fuels all other organisms through predator–prey interactions. Solar radiation is also linked to changes in environmental temperature, a key parameter that is correlated with the rates of most processes in ecosystems. The concept of “dissipative structure” itself (Chapter 3) underlines the close relationship that exists between energy flows and the surprising order that characterizes living systems. In this chapter, we will examine the link between energy and key processes, mostly physical, in ecosystems. The focus will be both on the transport of energy performed by such processes and on its ecological consequences.

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