The Food Chain

The food chain is one of the most important aspects to our society, world, and it plays a big role in ecosystems and the energy distribution in our world.

What is an ecosystem?

An Ecosystem is a system, variant on size, in which living and nonliving things interact with their environment and work together to live. An Ecosystem can be anywhere that has Biotic and Abiotic organisms. An example of an Ecosystem is the side of a pond, or the Coral Reef. All ecosystems have food chains, which we will explore later.

The living parts of an Ecosystem are called biotic organisms, and the Nonliving parts of an Ecosystem are Abiotic. Some Biotic factors include Tiger, Fish, Trees, and other animals/plants. Abiotic factors include sunlight, rocks, air, and other non-living things.

Habitat vs Niche

A Habitat is the designated home for a species of organisms. It can be in any location that is suitable for the organism and their needs. A Niche is the role that the animal plays in their environment. An example of a habitat is a tree for a squirrel. The Squirrel’s Niche is to bury acorns before the winter cold starts, so it doesn’t starve and die off.

Energy and the Food Chain

The Food Chain shows how energy is transmitted through certain species. The Food Web shows how Energy is dispersed throughout an entire ecosystem. Both of these models, show the transfer of energy throughout a certain group of life, and give us insight on their environment, and lifestyle.

Energy, in a Food Chain starts from the sunlight’s brought by the sun. The organisms that always start a food chain are Producers. The organism that always ends a food chain are Decomposers.

Energy is never created or destroyed in a food chain. All of the energy that goes through the food web is used by the organisms. It starts with the 10% rule. When an organism eats another organism, than 10 %  of the prey’s energy transfers to the predator. The other 90% is used for the prey’s activities like eating, moving, sleeping. This results in no energy being created or destroyed proving that energy is never created nor destroyed in a food web.

An energy pyramid shows the progression of energy in a food chain through the different organisms. The Producers are the First Level. The Top predator is at the fifth level. The levels are called Trophic Levels. Each level is called:

  1. Autotroph
  2. 1st Order Heterotroph
  3. 2nd Order Heterotroph
  4. 3rd Order Heterotroph
  5. 4th Order Heterotroph

What is Ecological Succession?

An Ecological Succession is the series of predictable of changes that occur in a community over time. Ponds succession begins with a standing area of un bothered water, or Pond. Soon that pond begins to shrink in size, as is begins to become filled with erosion. Than the plants began to die and pollute the water, causing it to become a bog. A bog is a wetland that has shallow water. Soon the bog becomes to be more filled in and turns into a marsh. The marshes are even shallower than a bog. They have grasses growing in them, and trees around them. Soon the marsh fills up more and turns into a meadow. A meadow is a vegetated field that gets filled up with grasses, and flowers. Soon the trees get taller, and eventually becomes a forest. All of this happens after a number of years.

Primary Succession vs Secondary Succession

Primary Succession: Primary Succession is the series of changes that occur in an area where no ecosystem previously existed. Such an area might be a new island caused by the eruption of an undersea volcano, or an area of rock uncovered by a melting glacier. It begins on bare rock.

Similarities: The first organisms to inhabit the areas are pioneer species like lichens and mosses. These organisms break down the rock and help grow flowers, shrubs, bushes, Than trees grow, and a forest is made.

Secondary Succession: Is different, as it starts in an area already with soil, other parts are the same.

What is Biodiversity?

Biodiversity is the measurement of genetic variation in an ecosystem, or a large community. It is very essential to a community as in the occurrence of a massive, tragic event like a mass spread of a disease, than some of the organisms will have the diversity to survive, thus reducing the chances of an extinction. Biodiversity measures the health of an ecosystem, by calculating it’s chance of surviving a tragedy like the one mentioned above.