Trophic vs. Detrital Energetics: Is Detritus Productive?
Conventional definitions of productivity describe work done by organisms in an inert environment. In contrast, modern ecosystem theory defines work done on an environment co-evolving with organisms. Respiration is oxidative phosphorylation driven by assimilation. The intrinsic bio-energetic potential of phosphorylation co-evolved with prokaryotes in the Proterozoic Eon. Trophic-dynamic data indicate that predation, interpreted as assimilation driven by ingestion, is a second bio-energetic mechanism which co-evolved with eukaryotes. The observation that detritus occurs in the absence of predators does not mean that predation denotes the absence of detritus. Thermodynamically, predation may require detritus.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1984-11-01
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