L> The Food Chain

Life on the Food Chain

Have you ever wondered why we can"t seem to feeding the world"shungry? It"s a complex issue, however it could surprise you come learnthat it"s not since there isn"t enough food; currentagricultural capacity, based on current technology, exist to feeding as countless as 10 billion people.The Earth"s population is "only" about 7 billion. The huge question yes, really is: If we want to feed everyone,what would certainly everyone should eat? come answer that question, download this excel spreadsheet and try plugging in part numbers.

Example: One acre the a serial crop can be supplied to feeding cattle, and then the livestock could be supplied to feeding people. If 50% that the power is lost to the cattle, you might feed double as many civilization if you fed them the grain directly. Another means of looking at it is the it would just take a half acre of soil to feed the people grain, yet a entirety acre if you feeding the grain to the cattle and the cattle to the people. A common practice come grow cattle faster is to feeding them floor up pet protein. This means that when we eat the meat indigenous the cow, we"re in ~ the tertiary level or higher. The ns of energy between trophic levels may also be also higher. Current studies suggest that just ~10% of energy is converted to biomass indigenous one trophic level to the next!

The Food Chain: The answer needs to do v trophic levels. Together you most likely know, the biology at the base of the food chain space photosynthetic; tree on land and also phytoplankton (algae) in the oceans. These organisms are dubbed the producers, and also they get their energy directly from sunlight and inorganic nutrients. The organisms that eat the producers are the main consumers. They tend to be small in size and also there are many of them. The major consumers room herbivores (vegetarians). The organisms the eat the main consumers room meat eaters (carnivores) and are dubbed the secondary consumers. The second consumers have tendency to be larger and fewer in number. This proceeds on, every the way up to the top of the food chain. Around 50% that the energy (possibly as much as 90%) in food is shed at each trophic level as soon as an organism is eaten, so the is less efficient to it is in a higher order customer than a major consumer. Therefore, the power transfer indigenous one trophic level to the next, increase the food chain, is choose a pyramid; wider at the base and also narrower at the top. Therefore inefficiency, there is only enough food because that a few top level consumers, but there is lots of food for herbivores lower down top top thefood chain. There space fewer consumers than producers.

Land and aquatic power pyramids

Trophic Level Desert biology Grassland biome Pond Biome s Biome Producer (Photosynthetic) Primary customer (Herbivore) secondary Consumer (Carnivore) Tertiary consumer (Carnivore) Quaternary consumer (Carnivore)
Cactus Grass Algae Phytoplankton
Butterfly Grasshopper Insect Larva Zooplankton
Lizard Mouse Minnow Fish
Snake Snake Frog Seal
Roadrunner Hawk Raccoon Shark
Food Web: At each trophic level, there may be many much more species than suggested in the table above. Food webs deserve to be very complex. Food access may differ seasonally or by time the day. One organism prefer a mouse can play 2 roles, eat insects on chance (making that a second consumer), but likewise dining straight on tree (making the a major consumer). A food web of who eats who in the southwest American desert biome might look something favor this:

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image source: http://iqa.evergreenps.org/science/biology/ecosystem_files/food-web.jpg

Keystone Species: In some food webs, over there is one vital "keystone species" upon which the entire system depends. In the same way that an arch collapses as soon as the keystone is removed, whole food chain have the right to collapse if there is a decline in a keystone species. Often, the keystone varieties is a predator that keeps the herbivores in check, and prevents them from overconsuming the plants, bring about a enormous die off. When we remove peak predators prefer grizzly bears, orca whales, or wolves, because that example, over there is proof that it affects not just the food species, but even the physical environment.

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Apex Predators: These species are in ~ the peak of the food chain and also the healthy and balanced adults have actually no organic predators. The young and also old might in some instances be preyed upon, but they frequently succumb come disease, hunger, the impacts of aging, or some combination of them. The also suffer from competition through humans, who often eliminate the height predators in bespeak to have actually exclusive access to the prey species, or through habitat destruction, i m sorry is one indirect kind of competition.Decomposers: once organisms die, they are sometimes eaten by scavengers however the staying tissues are damaged down by fungi and bacteria. In this way, the nutrient that were component of the body are returned to the bottom the the trophic pyramid.Bioaccumulation: In enhancement to gift less power efficient, eating higher up the food chain has actually its risks. Pesticides and heavy steels like mercury, arsenic, and also lead have tendency to be spend in small quantities by the main consumers. This toxins obtain stored in the fats of the animal. When this animal is consumed by a second consumer, these toxins become an ext concentrated because an additional consumers eat lots of primary consumers, and often live longer too. Swordfish and tuna are close to the optimal of the aquatic food chain and, once we eat them, we are consuming all of the toxins that they have built up over a lifetime. For this reason, pregnant women space advised versus eating this foods.Solve the following problems mathematically.1. Given: 10 billion people can it is in fed a an easy vegetarian diet that is nutritionally complete. Just how many human being could us feed at the American standard-a tertiary level of usage (3rd orderconsumers?). 50% the the energy is shed by each greater level.2. If there are 250 million world in the united States most ofthem eat at the Tertiary (3rd) level that consumption, exactly how manypeople could we feeding at the main level?3.

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Some animals like sharks are fifth order consumers! Sharks eattuna that eat mackerel the eat herring that eat copepods that eatdiatoms. If we were to do the reasonable assumption that every ofthese animals eats 2 that its food each day, how numerous organisms died tofeed the shark in one day?