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Why do energy and biomass decrease at successive stages of the foodchain?

Energy is transferred throughout the food chain as animals at lower trophic levels are consumed by those at higher trophic levels. In every living organism, energy is taken in as food. But when one organism eats another, only around 10% of this energy is transferred to the higher organism. So…where does this surplus energy go?

There are three main ways in which energy is output in every organism. These are:

RESPIRATION to generate energy for movement and organ functioning

EXCRETION as faeces, urine or gas

TISSUE (biomass) generation

When organisms are consumed in the foodchain, only energy stored as TISSUE is transferred. Therefore, at each stage of the food chain, less energy and biomass is transferred between organisms than at the previous trophic level.   

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