Photosynthesis

40 Introduction

This world map shows Earth’s distribution of photosynthetic activity determined by chlorophyll a concentrations. On land, chlorophyll is evident from terrestrial plants, and within oceanic zones, from chlorophyll from phytoplankton. (credit: modification of work by SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and ORBIMAGE)


The image shows a map of the world, colored by the levels of chlorophyll a on land and in the ocean.

The metabolic processes in all organisms—from bacteria to humans—require energy. To get this energy, many organisms access stored energy by eating, that is, by ingesting other organisms. But where does the stored energy in food originate? All of this energy can be traced back to photosynthesis.

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Introduction by OpenStax Biology 2nd Edition is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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