Trophic - Biomass Transfer Efficiency

Biomass Transfer Efficiency

Generally, each trophic level relates to the one below it by absorbing some of the energy it consumes and in this way can be regarded as resting on, or supported by, the next lower trophic level. Food chains can be diagrammed to illustrate the amount of energy that moves from one feeding level to the next in a food chain. This is called an energy pyramid. The energy transferred between levels can also be thought of as approximating to a transfer in biomass, so energy pyramids can also be viewed as biomass pyramids, picturing the amount of biomass that results at higher levels from biomass consumed at lower levels.

The efficiency with which energy or biomass is transferred from one trophic level to the next is called the ecological efficiency. Consumers at each level convert on average only about 10% of the chemical energy in their food to their own organic tissue. For this reason, food chains rarely extend for more than 5 or 6 levels. At the lowest trophic level (the bottom of the food chain), plants convert about 1% of the sunlight they receive into chemical energy. It follows from this that the total energy originally present in the incident sunlight that is finally embodied in a tertiary consumer is about 0.001%

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Trophic Level - Biomass Transfer Efficiency
... levels can also be thought of as approximating to a transfer in biomass, so energy pyramids can also be viewed as biomass pyramids, picturing the amount of biomass that results at higher ... The efficiency with which energy or biomass is transferred from one trophic level to the next is called the ecological efficiency ...

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