The energy pyramid shows the flow of energy through the organisms in an environment. It is also called a food pyramid because food is a way to measure energy transference in an ecosystem. A desert is defined as any region that experiences low precipitation and temperature extremes. The arid environment of the desert limits the number of organisms that can thrive there, but energy still flows through the desert. Illustrate this by making an energy pyramid.
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Draw a triangle shape on the paper with a marker for the outline of the desert energy pyramid.
Divide the pyramid into three levels by drawing parallel, horizontal lines up the triangle.
Label the bottom level "primary producers" and draw pictures of desert plants in the level as plants use the sun's energy to make their own food. Cactus and other succulent plants are examples of primary producers. The energy density refers to the amount of energy available for organisms to use based on the area. Regions with dense plant and animal populations have high energy densities since the large number of plants converts a lot of the sun's light into energy (food). Deserts do not have as many plants and animals in a given area compared to a forest and have lower energy densities. An energy density of 100 grams per square meter exists at this level, according to Napa Valley College.
Write "primary consumers" on the second level and draw pictures of desert herbivores that eat plants. Insects and small, plant-eating animals are primary consumers of the desert. Energy density drops to 10 grams per square meter at this level, according to Napa Valley College.
Label "secondary consumers" on the top level of the energy pyramid. Draw pictures of desert carnivores on this level. Eagles, owls and coyotes are all examples of secondary consumers in the energy pyramid. This has a very low energy density of 1 gram per square meter, according to Napa Valley College.
Draw tiny bacteria and microbes outside of the energy pyramid with arrows from all three levels pointing to them to indicate the role of decomposers in the biome. Label the bacteria as decomposers.
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- Estrella Mountain; Community and Ecosystem Dynamics; M.J. Farabee; 2007
- Global Change University of Michigan; The Flow of Energy Primary Production; Oct. 31, 2008
- California State University Long Beach; Introduction to the Biosphere; Rodrigue; June 26, 2007
- United States Geological Survey; Types of Deserts; Oct. 29, 2007
- Napa Valley College: Ecosystems and Energy