A Food Pyramid in the
Hot Desert Biome
Here we see a food pyramid that
shows how the Kilocalories pass up the food chain.
trophic level is
occupied by the primary producers, which are the
plants. Plants make food through photosynthesis. The limiting
factor for these plants is the shortage of water, so they produce
fewer than 200 Kilocalories of food for the animals for each
square meter each year.
consumers, who eat the plants, occupy the second trophic level.
These animals have very little
to eat, and are small. Many are insects, or reptiles, who are
cold blooded and who use less energy to maintain their bodies
than mammals and birds do. As food for predators, they provide
about 20 Kilocalories per square meter per year for predators.
are the secondary consumers. They occupy the third trophic level.
Again we see cold-blooded animals, such as snakes, insect-eating
lizards, and tarantualas. Only about 2 Kilocalories per square
meter per year are stored in their bodies. In the harsher desert
environments, they are the top predators.
In areas where
deserts get more rain, more plant material is produced and a
few tertiary consumers may be able to survive.
They form a fourth trophic level.
This diagram shows the energy available at each
trophic level in the hot desert biome.
These numbers tell about the
numbers of Kilocalories per square meter per year.
© Elizabeth Anne
Viau, 1999. This material may be used freely for instructional
purposes but not sold for a price beyond the cost of reproduction.
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