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Ecosystems: Investigation 1 - Energy in an Ecosystem

In Investigation One, you will study how energy is transferred between the different organisms found in an ecosystem. During this Investigation, you will:

1. Determine the energy in the levels of the ecosystem by measuring the absorbance for the following samples:

  • Sun
  • Plants
  • Herbivores
  • Carnivores
  • Detritivores

2. Determine the quantity of biomass in each level of a land ecosystem using a model.

Ecosystems: Investigation 2 - Inefficient Energy Flow

In Investigation Two, you will study how energy flow between levels of an ecosystem is inefficient because the organisms at each level require energy to live. During this Investigation, you will:


  • Determine the amount of energy available in the plant biomass by measuring dissolved oxygen levels in a sugar solution.
  • Add a “live herbivore” to the sugar solution and measure the amount of energy it consumes by observing levels of dissolved oxygen. 

Ecosystems: Investigation 3 - Biomass

In Investigation Three, you will investigate the variation in the amount of biomass in an ecosystem and how an ecosystem can support the organisms within it. During this Investigation, you will:

  • Determine the average plant biomass in two model ecosystems by using a sampling technique. 
  • Calculate the area of each ecosystem model and a collection frame.

Ecosystems: Investigation 4 - Performance Assessment

This Performance Assessment is designed to allow you to solve a problem using the:

  • concepts with which you have become familiar during the previous three Investigations, and
  • procedures used during the previous three Investigations.


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