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20. Food chains
Food chains show the flow of energy from plant to herbivore to carnivore. The more energy from the sun converted into chemical energy by photosynthesis in plants, the more animals that can be supported in food chains.
In the Kosciuszko area, plants grow for only four months of the year because of the low temperatures, hence plant biomass is very low. This is the weight of plant material or the amount of food available to support the food chain. Rainforests (world average) have a plant biomass of
The use of biomass or energy units displayed as a pyramid showing different trophic levels, producer (plant), consumers (herbivores and carnivores) allows us to compare the productivity (how many plants and animals it can support) of different ecosystems. The two pyramids on the right show the comparative sizes of tropical and alpine food pyramids.
Food chains show the flow of:
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