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Fate of primary producers is either herbivores or detri6vores (~96% this route)

The fate of ALL LIVING MATTER is the detritus cycle.eventually but very much

Trophic Level how many steps removed from the primary producers which are
Level 1

Eciency of transfer from one trophic level to the next is ~ 10%. Largely because of
two reasons: i) the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (no transfer of energy can be 100%
ecient) and ii) because there are numerous internal transfers within the trophic
level (i.e. the individual) where waste is separated from diges6ble (useable)
materials. Three such internal transfers are listed here with each is associated with
loss of useable material (and therefore energy)

Produc6on of frog biomass is appropriated by a predator (sh in this case) when the
frog is eaten. Remember however that no maYer how far up the food web, all energy
was originally xed by plant

The eciency of transfer of frog biomass to sh biomass is trophic eciency. How
ecient the sh is at turning frog biomass into sh biomass is called the Lindeman
Eciency and is ~10%


Varia6on reects food quality and consumer physiology / specializa6ons

This graphic makes two points
i) on average only 10% of herbivore produc6on gets turned into predator biomass
ii) there is varia6on around this gure here trophic eciencies in specic cases
studied were found to be as low as 2% and as high as 24%


What is this gure telling us?

Why use O2 consump6on to measure metabolic rate?
What is oxygen used for? It is necessary to burn fuel in the body (aka respira6on).
Therefore it is a proxy of energy consump6on. An elephant uses much more energy
(and thus oxygen) than a mouse just to remain alive (basal metabolism). Likewise
will consume far more energy travelling 100 meters than the mouse.


Explain equa6on (plug in grams of animal)

x axis runs from 10g to 100 Kg



Lizards have much lower draw per gram of body weight

Are limited in overall size


Only the most ecient survive or else there would be much more varia6on in the
lines. Thus another line of evidence that energy is THE fundamental currency of life,
ecology and evolu6on (if it werent and there were other more important criteria, the
body mass metabolism regression would not be so 6ght)


Why are most mammals small?

Energy required to maintain a large animal is signicant, and a mammal is even more
expensive why?
Think in terms of business analogy safer to be small or go big?
n refers to sample number this gure is based on data from 465 species of North
American land mammals


Rate of increase is oien abbreviated to r we will discuss this rate in detail later.


Two fascina6ng books Colinvaux set the standard and SherraY and Wilkinson did a
great update.


Red fox consumes mice but will also eat plant materials

Mice consume plant materials (grains etc) but also lots of insects and other


Plant detritus represents substan6ally less (order of magnitude) embedded energy

than animal detritus. Animal detritus can be from numerous trophic levels..

Further, there is an en6re food web within the detritus cycle some exceedingly
complex, some quite simple all diering in eciencies and diversity.


Time and space variability across mul6ple scales in addi6on to what taxonomic
diversity to include etc. make measuring secondary produc6on logis6cally very

In response we tend to focus on smaller, more tractable scales like species or
func6onal groups rather than the whole community. One instance where there is
liYle alterna6ve than to engage in reduc6onism.

Her suit has red how do we see this when she is so deep? (used a ash on camera)


4, rarely 3 or 5 . why not 10 or 15?

2nd Law of Thermodynamics (will dene this shortly) -


10 Trillion kg of phytoplankton to support global tuna shery

Were there another trophic level above tuna, given the [rela6ve] rarity of tuna, there
would be very, very few. Indeed so few that the species would be prone to chance
ex6nc6on events.

Image not accurate as there are two levels in the pelagic level so conserva6ve


Rather than mass (as in previous slide) we can express the same rela6onship instead
in joules (energy); remembering that mass is energy (E=MC2)


However, expressing the rela6onship using numbers of individuals will lead to



Similar to plants eciency equals Net gain / Total assimilated. Reinforce terms


Trophic eciency explains what propor6on of baboon becomes lion

Trophic eciency will always be greater or less than one? (Less 2nd Law plus
overhead and indiges6bles)

What is the fate of energy that is not transferred? Respira6on or detritus cycle.


This demonstrates the importance of the decomposers in terrestrial ecosystems.

96% of primary produc6on goes directly to decomposers.What about aqua6c


Think of the rela6ve produc6on intensity of aqua6c vs. terrestrial systems

Think of the degree of defences employed by terrestrial vs aqua6c primary producers


Aqua6c / marine systems tend to be food limited therefore the majority of primary
produc6on is consumed by herbivores. In the case of easily handled algae and
plankton, the gure can be very high and on average, ~80% is consumed in lake
(aqua6c) systems.


Why lower than algae / plankton? macrophytes more dicult to handle and employ
an6-herbivore defenses. The higher costs of being big have to render advantages in
terms of reduced consump6on by herbivores otherwise the investment in large size is
wastedEVERYTHING is a trade-o (as we will see going forward through the course).

What kind of lake (nutrient prole) do you most oien nd water lilies? Eutrophic.
Why? Because the resources (nutrients, carbon etc) required are not available in less
produc6ve systems.


Defences cost. Therefore much more common in terrestrial systems than aqua6c/


Average trophic transfer eciencies for aqua6c systems is 10.1%


Terrestrial systems: Not nutrient limited, far more produc6ve than aqua6c/marine
systems (on average). Recall that ~96% of primary produc6on goes directly to
Here, note the tremendous impact of caYle grazing. Fence is to protect a natural
This is top-down control. Major system aYributes dened by higher trophic levels
on lower.


Basking sharks do not control plankton abundance, but instead basking shark
abundance is 6ed to plankton abundance which in turn is 6ed to nutrient
availability..boYom-up control.



Biomass increases ~ 1:1 ra6o however would a temperate forest community tend to
fall above or below the line? (below)

Grassland community? (on or slightly above greater propor6on assimilatable)

Marine Upwelling? (well above larger propor6on consumed and highly




lines indicate range of values.

Temperature and water are the primary limita6ons but drought frequency and
intensity is the real driver (how variable is water and temp over 6me)



Just as dierent combina6ons of water and heat give rise to dierent communi6es,
so too dierent combina6ons of nutrients.


Energy cycle below ground is larger (look at the Y axis) than above this is where
recycling happens.
Nothing is possible without this recycling phase