Energy Flow in Ecosystems (cont.) Producers are photosynthetic organisms (like plants) that produce carbohydrates (sugar). Consumers get their energy by feeding on producers or other consumers. Decomposers break-down wastes & dead organisms, through the process of biodegradation. Includes fungi, bacteria, some insects &
worms Methods to represent energy moving through ecosystems. 1. Food chains: show the flow of energy in an ecosystem. Each step is a trophic (or feeding) level Producers = 1st trophic level Primary consumers = 2nd trophic level Secondary consumers = 3rd trophic level Tertiary consumers = 4th trophic level
Consumers in a food chain can be classified as: Detrivores (decomposers) - obtain energy & nutrients from dead organisms & waste matter. they feed on every trophic level. Herbivores = primary consumers eat plants (producers) only This dung
beetle is a detrivore. Carnivores (or Omnivores) = secondary, tertiary, or quaternary consumers Secondary consumers eat primary producers Eg. Frog eating a grasshopper
Tertiary consumers eat secondary consumers also called top predators, top carnivores or top consumers Eg. Lions eating gazelle NOTE: Omnivores = consumers that eat both plants & animals Eg. include humans and bears Most organisms are part
of many food chains. 2. Food webs represent interconnected food chains. model the feeding relationships in an ecosystem Arrows in a food web represent the flow of energy & nutrients. Arrows go UP to the top
carnivore(s). This food web represents a terrestrial ecosystem that could be found in British Columbia. 3. Food pyramids (a.k.a. ecological pyramids): show the changes in available energy, biomass, or population size from one
trophic level to another The amount of life an ecosystem can contain is based on the bottom level of the pyramid. Only about 10% of energy is leftover and transferred to next level
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