Energy Available For Detrital Food Chains And Webs

If one considers the variance (i.e., range around the mean values,), of the assimilation and production efficiencies of the biota (Table 6.1), the amount of energy that will move from primary decomposers all the way

TABLE 6.1. Physiological Data on Major Biotic Groups in Soil

Trophic Group

Fraction of food assimilated

X min

Production-assimilation ratio x X m


Saprophytic Fungi Arbuscular Mycorrhiza (AM) Amoebae Flagellates

Nematodes Phytophagous

Nematodes Fungivorous

Nematodes Bacterivorous

Nematodes Omnivorous/ Predaceous

Mites Fungivorous (r)

Mites Fungivorous (k)

Mites Nematophagous

Mites Predaceous





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