# Thread: Coral reef energy flow

1. How much energy is lost at each trophic level of a coral reef ecosystem food chain?

2.

3. That would require research, I doubt anyone here knows this off the top of their head.

4. 3.34 kilojoules.

5. Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
3.34 kilojoules.
I really did lol at that.

6. Go for the simple approximation known as the Rule of 10% - which says that some 90 per cent of the energy in one trophic level is lost and unavailable to the consmers in the level above. I imagine this would apply to coral reef systems as any other.

Every reef is different and so all you can really do is approximate and say that around 90% is lost. For any particular reef you'd have to go out and attempt to measure it.

7. Originally Posted by Zwirko
Go for the simple approximation known as the Rule of 10% - which says that some 90 per cent of the energy in one trophic level is lost and unavailable to the consmers in the level above. I imagine this would apply to coral reef systems as any other.

Every reef is different and so all you can really do is approximate and say that around 90% is lost. For any particular reef you'd have to go out and attempt to measure it.
Yeah I just took a Trophic Ecology class last semester and pretty much just used the percent rule

8. For open ocean it actually violates the 10% rule, since plankton reproduce and are eaten so fast the secondary level actually has more energy than the primary.

9. Originally Posted by Golkarian
For open ocean it actually violates the 10% rule, since plankton reproduce and are eaten so fast the secondary level actually has more energy than the primary.
I'd think that such a situation would violate some fundamental laws of thermodynamics and is thus not possible.

I think that perhaps you are thinking of biomass rather than energy. You can construct a "pyramid of biomass" for the ocean and see an unusual inverted pyramid. However, when you look at the total energy flow between trophic levels, the clasical pyramidal shape is seen. Energy pyramids, on the otherhand, can't have lower levels with less energy unless something goes wrong with the laws of the universe. As you point out, the biomass situation is brought about by the differential rates of new biomass production at different trophic levels.

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