How does the second law of thermodynamics relate to the energy pyramid?
The second law states that useable energy always decreases. In the energy pyramid 90% of useable energy is lost in each level
When a first level consumer eats a plant not all of the energy stored in the plant is converted to ATP in the herbivore. This is because in any energy transfer the usable energy always goes down due to entropy. (This is the second law of thermodynamics )
Then the organism must use a lot of energy just to maintain its own life functions. This energy is "lost" to heat and is no longer useable by that organism or other organism.
When the first level consumer is eaten by the second level consumer only 10% of the energy that was contained by the plant producers, is left to be used by the predator. (carnivore) .
The second law of thermodynamics is a universal property The amount of disorder in the universe always increases.