Energy essentially moves through an ecosystem through the consumption of other organisms for food. It starts with plants who gain their energy directly from the sun and convert it into food. Herbivores eat those plants to gain their energy, and carnivores eat various herbivores (and sometimes each other) to gain energy. Each time, some of the net energy is lost.
Energy enters an ecosystem when sun is absorbed by plants and turned into energy through photosynthesis. These plants are eaten by small animals, who are eaten by larger and larger animals. When animals die, the parts that are not consumed by other anmials are consumed by decomposers (bacteria and earthworms), and when these small decomposers break down the dead animal into organic material, it is absorbed into the soil and then absorbed through the roots of plants and used as nutrients.
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