General Interview Questions - Ecology Basics
1. Describe movement of carbon through a plant or animal cell, an animal, an ecosystem. 
2. Where does reduce carbon come from in the ecosystem?
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1. Carbon moves through and between ecosystems as CO2 (low energy) and reduced (high energy) organic (carbon-containing) molecules.

2. One class of organisms, known as primary producers or autotrophs, transforms CO2 into reduced organic molecules; this process requires energy. 

3. Energy enters ecosystems primarily as sunlight (electromagnetic energy).  The process by which autotrophs use light  is used to generate reduced CO2 is known as photosynthesis.
4. The most common form of photosynthesis, the form used by most photosynthetic bacteria and plants, involves the light-driven extraction of electrons from water; these electrons are used to generate reduced CO2.  A by-product of this reaction is O2.
5. Organisms that cannot use energy to generate reduced CO2 are known as heterotrophs.  Heterotrophs require a source of reduced CO2 to survive and grow.  They obtain this reduced CO2 by eating other organisms or the by-products of other organisms. 
6. During aerobic respiration energy is extracted from reduced CO2 by the removal of elections; these electrons are delivered to O2 to form H2O.  
7. Aerobic heterotrophs (animals, fungi, non-photosynthetic, non-autotrophic bacteria and archaea) take in organic molecules and O2 and release CO2. 
8. Methanogenic heterotrophs (archaea) take in organic molecules and release CH4; Methanotrophic heterotrophs oxidize CH4 to form CO2.  
9. Aerobic autotrophs perform both photosynthesis in the light and respiration (all the time).
10. Reduced organic molecules. ATP and related molecules carry energy around within the cell.
11. Carbon moves between organisms and between the cells within an organism (via the circulatory system if an organism has one) as CO2 or organic molecules (food and to a lesser extent, waste).  
12. The total amount of reduced organic molecules present within organisms is know as biomass. 
13. Autotrophs move carbon in and out of the biomass (with generally a net increase), while heterotrophs move it out (with a net decrease).
14. The atmosphere and oceans contain pools of CO2, pools of reduced carbon are found in buried sediments, in rocks, dissolved in the ocean, and as methane hydrates.

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