What is Energy Flow?
Energy flow is the movement of energy around an ecosystem by biotic and abiotic means. Ecological pyramids (food chains) are where a large percentage of energy is held, where organisms in the chain supply an energy source to other organisms and so forth, to the top of the chain which decomposes after death. The picture below ilustrates a food chain in a rainforest found in Australia.
The food chain above tells us that a small bat eats the fruit on a tree. Then a kookaburra eats the small bat. Next, the eagle eats the kookaburra. Energy is transferred through all these animals in a single path, which is why this is known as a food chain.
A food web is like a food chain but in a food web, there is many different arrows pointing different ways. It includes many different food chains in one picture. In the food web above, there are six different food chains. The trees are the primary producers because they produce their own energy. Next we have the primary consumers. They are the ones who eat the fruit on the trees. As you can see, the ant, sloth, bat, and monkey are the primary consumers. They are the ones who eat the resources on the trees. Next are the secondary consumers. They eat the primary consumers. On here, the mosquito, clouded lepord, and the poison dart frog are the secondary consumers. Next is the decomposer. It decomposes the dead animals and leaves.
The rainforest energy pyramid is made up of four sections. Level one is generally made up of flowers, fruits, and leaves. Level two is made up of birds, frogs, squirrels, voles and bats. Level three is made up of small animals such as dunnarts, kookaburras, snakes, platypus, monkeys, lemurs, bats and parrots. Level four is made up of large carnivores such as tiders, feral dogs and cats, jaguars, cougars, leopars, crocodiles, alligators, dingoes, boa constrictors, green anacondas, pythons and eagles. As one can see from looking at these different levels, there is no straight forward line between levels.