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Afood webconsists of all thefood chains in a singleecosystem. Each living thing in one ecosystem is component ofmultiplefood chains. Every food chain is one feasible path thatenergyandnutrients may take as they move through the ecosystem. Every one of the interconnected and overlapping food chain in one ecosystem comprise a food web.

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Trophic LevelsOrganisms in food webs are grouped into categories calledtrophic levels. About speaking, these levels are separated intoproducers (first trophic level),consumers, anddecomposers (last trophic level).ProducersProducers make up the first trophic level. Producers, also known asautotrophs, do their own food and do not rely on any kind of other organism because that nutrition. Most autotrophs use a procedure calledphotosynthesisto develop food (a nutrient calledglucose) native sunlight,carbon dioxide, and water. Plants are the most familiar form of autotroph, but there are countless other kinds.Algae, who larger creates are recognized asseaweed, space autotrophic.Phytoplankton, tiny organisms the live in the ocean, are likewise autotrophs. Some species ofbacteriaare autotrophs. Because that example, bacteria living in activevolcanoes usesulfur, no carbon dioxide, to develop their own food. This process is calledchemosynthesis.ConsumersThe following trophic level are consisted of of pets that eat producers. These organisms are referred to as consumers. Consumers have the right to becarnivores (animals the eat other animals) oromnivores (animals the eat both plants and also animals). Omnivores, choose people, consume many varieties of foods. People eat plants, such asvegetables and also fruits. We additionally eat animals and also animal products, such as meat, milk, and also eggs. Us eatfungi, such together mushrooms. We additionally eat algae, inedibleseaweeds likenori (used come wrapsushirolls) andsea lettuce(used in salads). Bears space omnivores, too. Lock eat berries and also mushrooms, and animals such as salmon and deer.Primary consumer areherbivores. Herbivores eat plants, algae, and other producers. They space at the 2nd trophic level. In agrasslandecosystem, deer, mice, and even elephants are herbivores. Lock eat grasses,shrubs, and also trees. In adesertecosystem, a mouse that eatsseeds andfruits is a main consumer.In an s ecosystem, many species of fish and also turtles space herbivores that eat algae andseagrass. Inkelp forests, seaweeds recognized as gigantic kelp administer shelter and also food for an entire ecosystem.Sea urchins are powerful primary consumers in kelp forests. These little herbivores eat dozens of kilograms (pounds) of giant kelp every day. An additional consumers eat herbivores. They space at the third trophic level. In a desert ecosystem, a second consumer might be a snake that eats a mouse. In the kelp forest, sea otters are an additional consumers that hunt sea urchins. Tertiary consumer eat the an additional consumers. They room at the fourth trophic level. In the desert ecosystem, one owl or eagle might prey on a snake. There may be much more levels of consumers prior to a chain ultimately reaches itstop predator. Top predators, additionally calledapex predators, eat various other consumers. They might be in ~ the fourth or 5th trophic level. They have actually no natural enemies except humans. Lions are apex predators in the meadow ecosystem. In the ocean, fish prefer the an excellent white shark room apex predators. In the desert, bobcats and mountain lions are optimal predators.Detritivores and DecomposersDetritivores and also decomposers make up the last part of food chains. Detritivores room organisms that eat nonliving plant and animalremains. For example,scavengers such as vultures eat dead animals. Dung beetles eat animalfeces. Decomposers, like fungi and bacteria, complete the food chain. Decomposers turnorganic wastes, such asdecaying plants, into not natural materials, such together nutrient-rich soil. They complete the cycle of life, returning nutrients to the floor or oceans for use by autotrophs. This starts a whole new series the food chains.Food ChainsFood webs attach many different food chains, and many different trophic levels. Food webs can support food chains that space long and complicated, or really short. For example, grass in a woodland clearing produces its own food with photosynthesis. A rabbit eats the grass. A fox eats the rabbit. When the fox dies, decomposers such together worms and mushrooms breakdown its body, returning it to the soil where it provides nutrients because that plants choose grass. This short food chain is one part of the forest"s food web. One more food chain in the exact same ecosystem could involve totally different organisms. A caterpillar might eat the leaves of a tree in the forest. A bird such together a sparrow may eat the caterpillar. A snake might then prey on the sparrow. An eagle, an apex predator, might prey on the snake. Yet one more bird, a vulture, spend the human body of the dead eagle. Finally, bacteria in the soil decompose the remains.Algae and plankton are the main producers in maritime ecosystems. Tiny shrimp calledkrilleat the microscope plankton. The largest pet on Earth, the blue whale, preys top top thousands of lots of krill every day. Apex predators such together orcas prey on blue whales. As the bodies of big animals such as whales sink come the seafloor, detritivores such as worms failure the material. The nutrients released through the disc flesh administer chemicals because that algae and plankton to begin a brand-new series of food chains.BiomassFood network are identified by theirbiomass. Biomass is the energy in life organisms. Autotrophs, the producer in a food web, convert the sun"s power into biomass. Biomass decreases with each trophic level. Over there is always more biomass in lower trophic levels 보다 in greater ones. Because biomass decreases through each trophic level, there space always more autotrophs 보다 herbivores in a healthy food web. Over there are much more herbivores than carnivores. An ecosystem cannot assistance a huge number that omnivores without sustaining an even larger variety of herbivores, and an also larger variety of autotrophs. A healthy and balanced food web has anabundanceof autotrophs, countless herbivores, and also relatively few carnivores and omnivores. This balance help the ecosystem preserve andrecyclebiomass. Every link in a food net is linked to at the very least two others. The biomass of an ecosystem counts on how balanced and also connected its food web is. As soon as one connect in the food web is threatened, part or every one of the web links are dilute orstressed. The ecosystems biomassdeclines. The ns of tree life usually leads to a decline in the herbivore population, for instance. Plant life can decrease due todrought, disease, or human being activity. Forests are cut down come providelumberfor construction. Grasslands are paved over for shopping malls or parking lots.The ns of biomass ~ above the 2nd or third trophic level can likewise put a food internet out the balance. Take into consideration what may occur if asalmon runisdiverted. A salmon operation is a river where salmon swim. Salmon runs can be diverted bylandslides andearthquakes, and also the construction ofdams andlevees. Biomass is lost as salmon are reduced out that the rivers. Unable to eat salmon, omnivores choose bears are required to rely more heavily on other food sources, such together ants. The area"s ant populace shrinks. Ants space usually scavengers and detritivores, therefore fewer nutrient are broken down in the soil. The soil is unable to assistance as countless autotrophs, so biomass is lost. Salmon themselves room predators the insect larvae and also smaller fish. There is no salmon to store their population in check,aquaticinsects maydevastatelocal plant communities. Fewer plants survive, and also biomass is lost. A lose of organisms on greater trophic levels, such together carnivores, can likewise disrupt a food chain. Inkelp forests, sea urchins are the primary consumer of kelp. Sea otters food on urchins. If the sea otter population shrinks early to an illness or hunting, urchins devastate the kelp forest. Doing not have a community of producers, biomassplummets. The whole kelp forest disappears. Such locations are calledurchin barrens.Human activity can minimize the number of predators. In 1986, officials in Venezuela dammed the Caroni River, creating anenormouslake around twice the dimension of Rhode Island. Hundreds of hilltops turned into islands in this lake. V their habitats decreased to small islands, numerous terrestrial predators weren’t may be to find enough food. Together a result, prey animals like howler monkeys, leaf-cutter ants, and also iguanas flourished. The ants came to be so many that they destroyed the rainforest, killing all the trees and also other plants. The food web surrounding the Caroni river was destroyed.

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BioaccumulationBiomass declines as you move up v the trophic levels. However, some species of materials, especiallytoxicchemicals, increase with every trophic level in the food web. These chemicals commonly collect in thefatof animals.When one herbivore eats a plant or other autotroph that is extended inpesticides, because that example, those pesticides space stored in the animal’s fat. When a carnivore eats number of of this herbivores, it absorbs the pesticide chemicals stored in its prey. This process is calledbioaccumulation. Bioaccumulation wake up in aquatic ecosystems too.Runofffromurban locations orfarms have the right to be full ofpollutants. Small producers such as algae, bacteria, and also seagrass absorb minute amounts of these pollutants. Major consumers, such together sea turtles and fish, eat the seagrass. They usage the energy and nutrients provided by the plants, but store the chemistry in your fatty tissue. Predators top top the third trophic level, such as sharks or tuna, eat the fish. By the time the tuna is consumed by people, it may be save aremarkableamount the bioaccumulated toxins. Due to the fact that of bioaccumulation, biology in part polluted ecosystems are unsafe to eat and not allowed to beharvested.Oysters in theharborof the united States" new York City, for instance, room unsafe come eat. The pollutants in the harboraccumulate in that is oysters, a filter feeder. In the 1940s and also 1950s, a pesticide calledDDT(dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) to be widely provided to death insects that spread diseases. DuringWorld battle II, theAlliesused DDT toeliminatetyphusin Europe, and to controlmalariain the south Pacific. Scientists believed they had found a miracle drug. DDT was mostly responsible because that eliminating malaria in places like Taiwan, the Caribbean, and the Balkans.Sadly, DDT bioaccumulates in an ecosystem and also causes damages to the environment. DDT accumulates in soil and also water. Some creates of DDT decompose slowly. Worms, grasses, algae, and also fish accumulate DDT. Apex predators, such as eagles, had high amounts of DDT in your bodies, accumulated from the fish and tiny mammals they prey on.Birds through high quantities of DDT in your bodies lay eggs with exceptionally thin shells. This shells would frequently break prior to the infant birds were all set to hatch. DDT to be a significant reason because that the decrease of the outright eagle, an apex predator that feeds mostly on fish and tiny rodents. Today, the usage of DDT has actually been restricted. The food web of which it is a part have recovered in many parts of the country.