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Report2024Open access

Understanding the Efficiency of Energy Flow Through Aquatic Food Webs

Mooney, Benjamin


The efficiency of energy flow through aquatic food webs is crucial for ecosystem functioning. The energy available to higher trophic levels varies across ecosystems and is influenced by factors such as nutrient availability and species composition. Recent research indicates that temperature also plays a significant role in determining energy transfer efficiency. This essay addresses the factors contributing to variability in energy flow efficiency between aquatic ecosystems, with a focus on the impacts of global climate change. It explores how food web characteristics influence energy transfer between trophic levels and examines the challenges in understanding and estimating energy flow due to complex trophic relationships, spatial subsidies, and processes across multiple biological levels. The essay highlights the dynamic response of energy flow efficiency to climate changerelated environmental changes, such as rising temperatures, altered precipitation patterns, and nutrient inputs. Additionally, it identifies gaps in our current understanding and suggests important avenues for further research to improve predictions of energy flow changes, essential for informing sustainable management strategies in the face of environmental change.


food web; energy; transfer efficiency; FWE

Published in

Aqua introductory research essay
2024, number: 2024:1eISBN: 978-91-8046-748-3
Publisher: Department of Aquatic Resources, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences

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