How does the sun provide energy for consumers?

lynn30kEducator since 2008873 answers | Certified EducatorShare Link Share Page Citation CiteWhen the sun's energy strikes the earth, plants can capture some through the process of

How does the sun provide energy for consumers?
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

lynn30k

Educator since 2008


873 answers | Certified EducatorShare Link Share Page Citation Cite

When the sun's energy strikes the earth, plants can capture some through the process of photosynthesis. Plants are then eaten by first level consumers (herbivores). By definition, a second level consumer is a carnivore--an animal that consumes these herbivores. In this way, the sun's energy is accessed by the second...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.Get 48 Hours Free Access

Already a member? Log in here.

When the sun's energy strikes the earth, plants can capture some through the process of photosynthesis. Plants are then eaten by first level consumers (herbivores). By definition, a second level consumer is a carnivore--an animal that consumes these herbivores. In this way, the sun's energy is accessed by the second level consumers.

Autotrophs (plants, producers) have the ability to capture the energy of the sun--virtually all life on earth is dependent on the ability of plants to photosynthesize. This is the process performed in plants that takes carbon dioxide and water, and with the energy of the sun transforms them into sugar and oxygen. The sugar that is a product of photosynthesis contains chemical energy. The plant itself uses some of this energy. Some is transferred to the animal that consumes the plant. The transfer is only about 10% efficient; that is, the animal can only obtain about 10% of the energy available in the plant. The rest is lost as heat. This 10% efficiency continues up the successive levels of the energy "pyramid"--10% of that available at each level is utilized by the next consumer.

Further Reading

  • https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/food-web/ Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Video liên quan