I am working on a lesson plan for
Middle School on the topic of Energy flow in
life systems. I am trying to get my head around
trophic efficiency. From what I can find, it is
estimated that, on average producers capture
about 1-2% of solar energy into chemical energy.
With regard to consumers, the number of 10% is
often thrown around as an average. I have also
found the "true" range for consumers being
somewhere between 2% to 40% depending on the
specific consumer. Do we know anything about the
trophic efficiency of decomposers? Is it also
10% on average?
I found the following article about Trophic Efficiency in Wikipedia at:
Unfortunately I can't pick any efficiency numbers out of this article, but I
believe that would be very difficult because of the variability of the
different ecosystems and trophic scenarios.
Here is another good article from Ohio State University:
It has many other links but again, efficiency level numbers don't appear to
I hope these references help.
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Update: June 2012