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Name: Christopher
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Question:
I am working on a lesson plan for Middle School on the topic of Energy flow in life systems. I am trying to get my head around trophic efficiency. From what I can find, it is estimated that, on average producers capture about 1-2% of solar energy into chemical energy. With regard to consumers, the number of 10% is often thrown around as an average. I have also found the "true" range for consumers being somewhere between 2% to 40% depending on the specific consumer. Do we know anything about the trophic efficiency of decomposers? Is it also 10% on average?


Replies:
Christopher

I found the following article about Trophic Efficiency in Wikipedia at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trophic_dynamics

Unfortunately I can't pick any efficiency numbers out of this article, but I believe that would be very difficult because of the variability of the different ecosystems and trophic scenarios.

Here is another good article from Ohio State University:

http://www.mansfield.ohio-state.edu/~sabedon/campbl54.htm

It has many other links but again, efficiency level numbers don't appear to be available.

I hope these references help.

Sincere regards,
Mike Stewart


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