Energy Budget - Ecosystem
All living things must take in and use energy to maintain their bodies, to grow, to obtain more energy and to reproduce. Each individual has an 'energy income' of all the energy that it acquires during a specified period. It also has an 'energy budget', its allotment of different amounts of energy for various activities. Similarly energy budget for ecosystem as a whole can be prepared. One such example is given below. From such studies one can know as to how much energy input there is in an ecosystem and its subsequent transformation from one trophic level to another. The energy values are generally expressed in terms of calorie. Figure that you have just seen.
Figure: Energy flow diagram for Silver springs, Florida.
It shows that most of the energy input is in the form of solar radiation while the output of energy is represented by the waste heat dissipated from the system. It may be observed that the total energy input amounts to 410486 kcal/m2/yr (410,000 kcal/m2 solar energy and 486 kcal/m2/yr in the form of organic matter imported into the system) matches with the output of energy (407986 kcal/m2/yr) lost as waste heat and (2500 kcal/m2/yr exported from the system in the form of organic matter).