Energy Flow in an Ecosystem

Comb Jellies spread out to eat. Photo courtesy of lynq883/Flickr. Licensed

There are many kinds of relationships within ecosystems. As mentioned in the photosynthesis review, energy moves from plants to animals through consumption. Energy might also move from animal to animal as they are consumed.

Autotrophs (plants) create their own energy and heterotrophs (consumers) obtain their energy from eating autotrophs and other heterotrophs.

The process by which energy moves from one organism to another is called a food chain. An example of a food chain might be algae being consumed by shrimp, and the shrimp being consumed by fish.

Organisms often have complex relationships between each other. These collections of food chains are called a food web.
Last modified: Monday, 31 October 2011, 5:22 PM