Ecology, Energy Flow - Research Article from Macmillan Science Library: Plant Sciences

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Laws of Thermodynamics

The laws of thermodynamics set stringent constraints on the use of energy by every organism. It is important to know what these constraints are and their ecological implications. The first law of thermodynamics states that energy is conserved and can neither be created nor destroyed. During photosynthesis, the energy in light is used to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen. Part of the light energy is harvested by the plant and stored in glucose with the rest of the energy dissipated. The amount of energy involved in photosynthesis remains the same before and after the process. The amount of energy that can be conserved by the process, the chemical energy stored in glucose, however, is constrained by the second law of thermodynamics.

Any natural process that involves the use, transformation, and conservation of energy is constrained by the second law of...

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This section contains 1,035 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Ecology, Energy Flow Encyclopedia Article
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Macmillan Science Library: Plant Sciences
Ecology, Energy Flow from Macmillan Science Library: Plant Sciences. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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