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Energy Conversion Efficiency for Ecosystem Trophic Levels

Name__________________ Period______ Date____________________

Model Ecosystems

Procedure: Read the information on the left panel of the Virtual Lab to understand the components of the lab. Then, follow the procedure to assist you in completing the chart and questions below.

Energy Conversion Efficiency for Ecosystem Trophic Levels


1. Suggest reasons why the information represented in the pyramid of numbers of animals of one of the ecosystems you studied may not truly represent that ecosystem.

2. According to your data, what is the ratio of third-order consumers to producers? Explain your answer.

Ecosystem Producers 1 st Order

Heterotrophs 2nd Order

Heterotrophs 3rd Order


Deciduous Forest

Hot Desert


Antarctic Ocean Shore

Freshwater Lake

3. Compare and contrast two of the ecosystems that you studied. How is the energy

conversion efficiency similar or different?

4. Does the population size increase or decrease at higher trophic levels in the pyramid of numbers of an ecosystem consisting of a tree, insects (that are herbivores) and birds feeding on the insects? Explain your answer.

5. What might happen to an ecological pyramid of numbers in a forest ecosystem if most of the deer were killed due to hunting by people and disease?

6. What would happen to an ecosystem if the decomposers disappeared?

7. Could there be a food chain without herbivores and carnivores?

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