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Energy Pyramids
Next Generation: MS.LS1.6 HS.LS2.4 NGSS NGSS

Energy Pyramids

Author: Nathan Lampson

This lesson will introduce energy pyramids, and show how energy moves from one trophic level to the next.

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Energy pyramids are visual ways to represent the flow of energy through a food web.  With the energy pyramid, energy is produced at the base of the energy pyramid by producer organisms.  The different energy levels within the energy pyramid are known as trophic levels.


Producers (1st trophic level): 

Producers are organisms that are able to utilize sunlight in order to produce energy.  Producers produce all of the worlds biomass.  Biomass is organic material that contains energy from the sun.

Example: Grass


Primary Consumers(2nd trophic level):

Primary consumers are organisms that consume producers for energy.  Primary consumers are typically herbivores.

Example: Grasshopper (consumes grass)


Secondary Consumers(3rd trophic level):

Secondary consumers are organisms that consume primary consumers for energy.  Secondary consumers can be either carnivores or omnivores.

Example: Bird (consumes grasshoppers)


Tertiary Consumers(4th trophic level):

Tertiary consumers are organisms that consume secondary consumers for energy.  Tertiary consumers can be either carnivores or omnivores.

Example: Fox (consumes birds)