Ecosystem | Feeding, Trophic Levels, Food Chain And Food Web

Feeding Relationships Living organisms rely on obtaining energy and nutrients from their environment to survive, categorizing them into feeding relationships. This categorization results in three major groups within a biotic community: producers (autotrophs), consumers (heterotrophs), and decomposers.   Autotrophs, such as grasses, trees, and seaweeds, serve as a food source for organisms within terrestrial and […]

Feeding Relationships

Living organisms rely on obtaining energy and nutrients from their environment to survive, categorizing them into feeding relationships. This categorization results in three major groups within a biotic community: producers (autotrophs), consumers (heterotrophs), and decomposers.

 

Autotrophs, such as grasses, trees, and seaweeds, serve as a food source for organisms within terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Heterotrophs, including herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores, consume these autotrophs, with examples like cows, lions, and water fleas. Decomposers, such as termites and bacteria, break down dead organic matter, releasing simple compounds for reuse.

Among these biotic groups, consumers generally have a higher chance of survival in an ecosystem.

 

Trophic Levels

In ecosystems, energy and nutrients move through organisms in a step-by-step manner along feeding pathways. These pathways share a common pattern:

  1. Producers (e.g., green plants) are consumed by
  2. Primary consumers (e.g., zebras, goats), who are then consumed by
  3. Secondary consumers (e.g., lions), and decomposers break down remains, returning substances to the non-living environment.

Trophic levels, representing each step in a feeding pathway, are numbered in ascending order, indicating the flow of energy.

 

Food Chain And Food Web

Food chains depict the linear transfer of energy from producers to consumers. Examples include terrestrial and aquatic chains involving grass, zebra, lion, spirogyra, tadpoles, and kingfish.

 

Food webs are complex relationships formed by interconnecting two or more food chains, involving numerous organisms. Consumers in food webs have a better chance of survival due to their ability to feed on various plants or animals.

 

Energy Flow And Ecological Pyramid

Pyramids (number, energy, biomass) represent ecological concepts.

  1. Pyramid of Number: Shows the number of organisms at each trophic level, with the drawback of not accounting for size differences.
  2. Pyramid of Energy: Illustrates the decreasing energy at each trophic level.
  3. Pyramid of Biomass: Represents the total mass of organisms, offering a more accurate depiction than the pyramid of numbers.

 

Energy Loss In Ecosystem

Energy is lost in ecosystems due to respiration and heat transfer along the food chain. Only a small percentage of solar energy is available to photosynthetic producers.

 

Laws Of Thermodynamics

  1. First Law: Energy cannot be created or destroyed but can change forms.
  2. Second Law: Energy transformations are not 100% efficient; there’s always a decrease in useful energy.

 

Food Chain And Laws Of Thermodynamics

  1. First Law: Energy in a food chain remains constant.
  2. Second Law: Energy is lost as heat with each trophic level, resulting in a progressive drop in energy.

 

Pyramid Of Energy & Laws Of Thermodynamics

  1. First Law: Energy is gradually transformed from producers to other trophic levels.
  2. Second Law: Part of the energy is converted to heat as it moves between trophic levels.

 

Energy Flow And Laws Of Thermodynamics

  1. First Law: Energy flows in one direction from producers to consumers in a food chain.
  2. Second Law: Energy transfer is not 100%, resulting in less useful energy at successive trophic levels, supporting fewer organisms.

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