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Energy Flow Through an Ecosystem The Sun The sun is the main energy source for all life on earth. Less than 1% of the sun that reaches the earth’s surface is used by living things. This energy is used by… Producers – Plants, some algae and certain bacteria that use the sun’s energy to produce food and make living tissue. Also called autotrophs b/c they make their own food. Producers Using the Sun’s energy Photosynthesis- Process in which producers use light energy to convert CO2 and H20 into carbohydrates and Oxygen. Consumers – Organisms that rely on other organisms for their energy and food supply. Also known as heterotrophs. There are different types of consumers. Consumers Consumers Herbivores – Obtain energy by eating only plants. 1) Consumers Carnivores – Obtain energy by eating other animals. 2) Consumers Omnivores – Obtain energy by eating both plants and animals. 3) Consumers (bacteria and fungi) & Detrivores (earthworms and snails) – Obtain energy by eating dead organic matter. Return nutrients to the earth. 4) Decomposers Feeding Relationships Energy flows through the ecosystem in a one-way direction. Sun to producer to herbivore to carnivore Feeding Relationships Chain – Steps in which organisms transfer energy by eating other organisms and being eaten. Food Feeding Relationships Trophic levels: Each Step in the food chain. Plant to grasshopper to bird to bobcat = 4 trophic levels. Feeding Relationships Web – Network of interactions that link all the food chains in an ecosystem together. Food Ecological Pyramid Diagram that represents the amount of energy or matter in an ecosystem. 3 types: Energy pyramid, Biomass pyramid, Pyramid of numbers. Ecological Pyramid Energy pyramid: Only 10% of energy in one trophic level is transferred to organisms in the next. The other 90% is used for life processes or lost as heat. Ecological Pyramid 2) Biomass pyramid: Represents amt of potential food available for each trophic level in an ecosystem. Biomass: total amt of living tissue within a given trophic level.