The fate of energy in ecosystems

Secondary productivity is defined as the rate of production of new biomass by heterotrophic organisms. Unlike plants, hetero-trophic bacteria, fungi and animals cannot manufacture from simple molecules the complex, energy-rich compounds they need. They derive their matter and energy either directly by consuming plant material or indirectly from plants by eating other heterotrophs. Plants, the primary producers, comprise the first trophic level in a community; primary consumers occur at the second trophic level; secondary consumers (carnivores) at the third, and so on.

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