Skip to main content

AMI Day 13

Welch – Science

AMI Day 13 (students that receive modifications should not answer question 6)

INSTRUCTIONS:  Read the passage and examine the graph.  Answer questions 1-6 on notebook paper and have them ready to turn in on the first day classes at Alpena School District resume.

Ecosystem Productivity

Primary productivity is a term used to describe the rate at which plants and other photosynthetic organisms produce organic compounds in an ecosystem.  An organic compound is virtually any chemical compound that contains carbon.  However, the traditional definition used by most chemists is limited to compounds containing a carbon-hydrogen bond. Organic compounds are of central importance because all known life is based on organic compounds.  Some examples a major organic compounds are carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids.

An aquatic ecosystem is an ecosystem in a body of water. Communities of organisms that are dependent on each other and on their environment live in aquatic ecosystems. The two main types of aquatic ecosystems are marine ecosystems and freshwater ecosystems.  Some examples of aquatic ecosystems are coral reefs (communities found around coral in shallow warm oceans), estuaries (areas where major freshwater rivers flow into the ocean creating a mix of silt, fresh and salt water), lakes (large bodies of still fresh or salt water), and open ocean (vast areas of deep marine water).

A land (terrestrial) ecosystem is a type of ecosystem found only on biomes also known as beds. Six primary terrestrial ecosystems exist: tundra, taiga, temperate deciduous forest, tropical rain forest, grassland and desert.  Tropical Rain Forest (normally warm and moist area found near the equator), Temperature Forest (normally has four seasons with moderate moisture found further from the equator), Tropical Savanna (drier grasslands found near the equator), and Tundra (very cold area with permanently frozen subsoil and low amounts of precipitation) are all examples of land ecosystems.

Productivity of Aquatic and Land Ecosystems


Average Primary Productivity (g/m2)

Aquatic Ecosystems:


Coral Reef






Open Ocean


Land Ecosystems:


Tropical Rain Forest


Temperate Forest


Tropical Savanna





1. Create a graph that represents the various aquatic ecosystem average primary productivity regions.



2.  What aquatic ecosystem and land ecosystem compare most favorably?  Why might these be similar in average primary productivity?  Justify your answer.



3. Create a graph that represents the percentage of each region of the land ecosystem average primary productivity.



4. Identify the land ecosystem with the lowest average primary productivity.  Why would this region have such low output? 



5. Human impact has been the greatest on coral reefs and tropical rain forests.  Explain giving one reason how human activity negatively impacts each of these two ecosystems.  What would happen if these two regions were destroyed? 



6. Global average primary productivity is greatly affected by these critical regions.  Using the data from the table, create a graph that represents the percentage of aquatic ecosystem and land ecosystem contribution to overall global average primary productivity.