Earth's Energy Comes from the Sun

The sun is the ultimate source of energy for all life on Earth. Photo courtesy of Bas Van Uyen/Flickr.

Where do plants and animals, including humans, get their energy from? Ultimately, it comes from the sun. The chlorophyll found in chloroplasts of producers allows plants to obtain energy from the sun's radiation. Through the process of photosynthesis, plants convert light energy from the sun, carbon dioxide and water into sugars, and release oxygen as a byproduct. Some of that energy is used to produce the structures necessary for life and growth of the plant. When consumers eat the plant, some of the energy stored in the tissues of the vegetation is passed on to the consumer. For example, when a deer eats the leaves from a tree, the energy stored in the leaves is transferred to the deer. The energy stored in the deer can be transferred to other consumers when the deer is eaten or when it dies and decomposes.

How do YOU use energy from the sun? What happens to the energy stored in organisms if they die, but are buried in such a way that they do not decompose? Read the next few pages to find out!
Last modified: Wednesday, 23 February 2011, 6:31 PM