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Food Chain and Food Web in Forest Ecosystem

In this food chain and food web in forest ecosystem post we have briefly explained about food chain, trophic levels in a food chain, food web, and function of food chain and food web in ecosystem.

Food Chain and Food Web in Ecosystem

Ecosystem functions are natural processes or energy exchanges that occur in various plant and animal groups throughout the world’s biomes. For example; green leaves prepare food and roots absorb nutrients from the soil; herbivores eat the leaves and roots, and predators eat the leaves and roots.

Decomposers perform the task of breaking down complex organic material into simple inorganic compounds that producers can utilize. Ecosystem functions are essentially the flow of energy and nutrients in the food chain. These exchanges keep plant and animal life on the earth alive, as well as organic matter decomposition and biomass creation. All of the ecosystem’s operations are carried out through processes that are precisely balanced and managed.

Food Chain Cycle

Food chain cycle is the arrangement of living organisms in a community in which one organism consumes another and is then consumed by another to transmit energy. A food chain cycle is also defined as “a chain of creatures that exists in any ecological community and transfers energy.”

From the tiniest phytoplankton to enormous blue whales, all living things, regardless of size or location, require food to thrive. For different species in different environments, the food chain is constructed differently. Each food chain cycle serves as a key conduit for the flow of energy and nutrients throughout the ecosystem.

Function of Ecosystem

Food Chain and Food Web in Forest Ecosystem

Food chain cycle were first introduced in the 9th century by the African-Arab scientist and philosopher Al-Jahiz, and were later popularised in a book published in 1927 by Charles Elton.

Plants, for example, are the first link in the food chain. Producers are the foundation of food Chain Cycle. Then there are consumers of many orders. Consumers are organisms that consume the bodies of other organisms. Except for the first organism, all organisms in a food chain are consumers.

Plants are referred to as producers because they produce their own food via photosynthesis. Animals are referred to as consumers because they rely on plants or other animals for food in order to obtain the energy they require.

Each organism in a particular food chain cycle obtains energy from the organism at the level below it. There is consistent energy transfer through each stage of a food chain cycle. The organism does not absorb all of the energy at one stage of the food chain cycle.

Trophic Levels in a Food Chain

Trophic levels are different feeding positions in a food chain, such as primary producers and various types of consumers. Organisms in a food chain cycle are classified into different groups known as trophic levels. They are listed below.

Producers: Producers, also known as autotrophs, prepare their own food. They are the foundation of every food chain cycle. Autotrophs include plants and one-celled organisms, as well as some types of bacteria and algae. Almost all autotrophs prepare food through a process known as photosynthesis.

Consumers: At the second trophic level, there are consumers who depend upon others for food.

Primary Consumers: The producers are eaten by the primary consumers. They are known as herbivores. Herbivores include deer, turtles, and many types of birds.

Secondary Consumers: Plants and herbivores are eaten by secondary consumers at the third trophic level. They are carnivores (meat eaters) as well as omnivores (animals that eat both animals and plants). A snake that eats a mouse may be a secondary consumer in a desert ecosystem. Secondary consumers may consume animals that are larger than they are. Some lions, for example, hunt and consume buffalo. The buffalo is twice the size of the lion.

Tertiary Consumers: Tertiary consumers are carnivores that consume other carnivores. The African secretary bird and the King Cobra specialise in killing and eating snakes, but all snakes are carnivores. The leopard seal primarily feeds on other carnivores, such as other seals, squids, and penguins.

Decomposers: Decomposers, which do not always appear in the pictorial representation of the food chain, play an important role in the food chain cycle completion. These organisms decompose dead organic matter and waste. In many ecosystems, fungi and bacteria are the primary decomposers; they use the chemical energy in dead matter and waste to fuel their metabolic processes.

Food Web of Animals

The term “web” refers to a network. A food web of animals is defined as “a network of interconnected food chains that form a number of feeding relationships among various organisms in a biotic community.”

In an ecosystem, a food chain cannot exist in isolation. The same food resource may be found in more than one food chain. When the resource is at the lower tropic level, this is possible.

Food web of animals is the collection of all the food chains in a single ecosystem. It is critical to understand that every living thing in an ecosystem is a component of multiple food chains.

Function of Ecosystem

Food Chain of Forest Ecosystem. Image Source: www.azolifesciences.com

A single food chain is the single possible path that energy and nutrients can take while traversing the ecosystem. A food web of animals is made up of all the interconnected and overlapping food chains in an ecosystem.

Food web of animals are important tools for understanding that plants are the foundation of all ecosystems and food chains, providing nourishment and oxygen required for survival and reproduction. Food web of animals keeps the ecosystem stable.

The tertiary consumers are eaten by quaternary consumers. For example, a hawk that eats owls. Each food chain ends with a top predator and animal with no natural enemies (such as an alligator, hawk, or polar bear).

Function of Ecosystem

1. Reception of radiant energy of sun,

2. Manufacture of organic materials from inorganic ones by producers,

3. Consumption of producers by consumers and further elaboration of consumed materials; and.

4. After the death of producers and consumers, complex organic compounds are degraded and finally converted by decomposers and converters into such forms as are suitable for reutilization by producers.

The primary steps in the function of ecosystem involve not only the production, growth, and death of living components, but also have an impact on the abiotic aspects of habitat. It is now clear that energy and nutrients are being transferred from producers to consumers, and then to decomposers and transformers. The energy component of this transfer decreases gradually, but the nutrient component does not, and it demonstrates cycling from abiotic to biotic and vice versa.

The flow of energy is unidirectional. The two ecological processes energy flow and mineral cycling which involve interaction between biotic and abiotic components lie at the heart of ecosystem dynamics. The principal steps and components of ecosystem are illustrated in Figure.

Principal steps in the function of ecosystem.

Further Readings