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CHAPTER 54 ECOSYSTEMS Copyright © 2002 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings Section C: Secondary Production in Ecosystems 1.The efficiency of energy transfer between trophic levels is usually less than 20% 2. Herbivores consume a small percentage of vegetation: the green world hypothesis
The amount of chemical energy in consumers’ food that is converted to their own new biomass during a given time period is called secondary production. Introduction Copyright © 2002 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings
Production Efficiency. One way to understand secondary production is to examine the process in individual organisms. 1. The efficiency of energy transfer between trophic levels is usually less than 20% Copyright © 2002 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings Fig. 54.10
If we view animals as energy transformers, we can ask questions about their relative efficiencies. Production efficiency = Net secondary production/assimilation of primary production Net secondary production is the energy stored in biomass represented by growth and reproduction. Assimilation consists of the total energy taken in and used for growth, reproduction, and respiration. In other words production efficiency is the fraction of food energy that is not used for respiration. This differs between organisms. Copyright © 2002 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings
Trophic Efficiency and Ecological Pyramids. Trophic efficiency is the percentage of production transferred from one trophic level to the next. Pyramids of production represent the multiplicative loss of energy from a food chain. Copyright © 2002 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings
Pyramids of biomass represent the ecological consequence of low trophic efficiencies. Most biomass pyramids narrow sharply from primary producers to top-level carnivores because energy transfers are inefficient. Copyright © 2002 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings Fig. 54.12a
In some aquatic ecosystems, the pyramid is inverted. In this example, phytoplankton grow, reproduce, and are consumed rapidly. They have a short turnover time, which is a comparison of standing crop mass compared to production. Copyright © 2002 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings Fig. 54.12b
Pyramids of numbers show how the levels in the pyramids of biomass are proportional to the number of individuals present in each trophic level. Copyright © 2002 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings Fig. 54.13
The dynamics of energy through ecosystems have important implications for the human population. Copyright © 2002 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings Fig. 54.14
According to the green work hypothesis, herbivores consume relatively little plant biomass because they are held in check by a variety of factors including: Plants have defenses against herbivores Nutrients, not energy supply, usually limit herbivores Abiotic factors limit herbivores Intraspecific competition can limit herbivore numbers Interspecific interactions check herbivore densities 2. Herbivores consume a small percentage of vegetation: the green world hypothesis Copyright © 2002 Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings
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