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Science_Lab_Yellow / Lesson 12: Energy Moves in a Community-Ocean

Energy Moves in a Community-Ocean
What will we be learning today?


  • In this lesson, we are going to learn all about how energy moves in a ocean community.



  • In an ocean community in the Antarctic, algae form the base. Algae are producers that store energy from the Sun. Small fish that live in the icy waters eat some of these algae. The algae that are not eaten are lost to the community. Their energy is not passed up to the next level of the pyramid. Only some of the energy the fish get is passed up to the next level. The fish use some of the energy in swimming and other activities.


  • The penguins dive for the small fish and eat as many as they can catch. Many fish get away. Nevertheless, the penguins have snared some energy-rich fish as food.

  • Some of the energy from the fish is stored in the penguins' tissues. Some of the energy is used to heat their bodies. A dip in the frigid water removes some of this heat from the penguins' bodies. Now they have less energy than they took in from the fish.


  • Rising from below, a leopard seal clamps its sharp teeth around a helpless penguin and eats it. Does this predator get all the energy that was originally in the algae the fish ate? No. Energy has been lost at each level in the pyramid.


    • Kilogram for kilogram there are fewer fish than algae. There are fewer penguins than fish. There are fewer leopard seals than penguins.

    • That's because there is less food and energy available at each higher level in the energy pyramid. The less food and energy there are, the fewer living things that can be supported.


  • How much energy is lost from one level of an energy pyramid to the next? Scientists have actually measured it. The startling figure is 90 percent! Of all the Sun's energy captured by the algae, the leopard seal gets only one-tenth of one percent.


  • Let's Review What We Learned Today!


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