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Food Web and Food Chain

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by Alex Jiang on 12 October 2012

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Transcript of Food Web and Food Chain

The Biosphere and
Arctic Food Web and Food Chain By: Alex Jiang and Zubin Patel
One must understand what an ecosystem is to understand a food chain and a food web. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary an ecosystem is "a complex community of organisms and its environment functioning as an ecological unit." However, this does not clearly explain the crucial elements in an ecosystem. First,
An ecosystem can be defined as a unity of organisms that have to have at least a primary and secondary consumer, a decomposer, and a producer. Also, they must be able to thrive as a group with each organism having its own niche in the ecosystem. Not only does a ecosystem have biotic factors, but also it must have abiotic factors. Vital Elements in an Ecosystem
Biotic factors are anything that are living. Abiotic factors are everything but living. For example, light exposure, precipitation, and water are all abiotic factors, while plants and animals are biotic factors. Both abiotic and biotic factors are codependent.Abiotic factors in an arctic ecosystem includes snowfall, temperature, soil, permafrost, and strong winds. Biotic factors include polar bears, grass, lemming, and skuas. Biotic Factor (polar bear) Abiotic Factor (snow) Autotrophs, or producers, such as trees and algae perform photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process in which an organism converts sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water into glucose and oxygen. This is how they get food. Photosynthetic producers in the arctic ecosystem are the arctic grass, purple saxifrage, moss, lichen, and arctic willow. Photosynthetic producers-
Chemosynthesis is when an organism converts chemicals into energy. Deep sea aquatic plants such as tube worms would use this when sunlight isn't available. These autotrophs need carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and oxygen to produce carbohydrates and sulfur compounds. There are not any chemosynthetic organisms in the arctic. Chemosynthetic Producers- Tubeworms that perform chemosynthesis There are six types of consumers, and they are herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, detritivores, decomposers, and scavengers. Consumers Herbivores Herbivores are the primary consumers in a complex food web. They eat seeds,plants, roots, or fruits. Some herbivores are insects, birds, and cows. Herbivores found in the arctic include bison, musk oxen, snowshoe rabbits, and caribou. Arctic Ground Squirrel Carnivores
Carnivores are usually at the top of the food web. They kill and eat other organisms.
Carnivores include cats, dogs, and lynxes. The snowy owls, wolverines, ermine, and arctic wolves are the well-known carnivorous animals in the arctic. Omnivores Omnivores obtain energy through eating both plants and animals. Humans are omnivores as well as bears and pigs. Omnivores such as rock ptarmigan, tundra vole, and many bears such as the grizzly bear. Humans, such as the Inuits (people who live in the arctic regions of Canada), are omnivores. Tundra Vole Grizzly Bear Human Detritivores Detritivores eat detritus, inorganic molecules, formed by decomposers. They usually chew or grind them to even smaller pieces. Detritivores in the arctic include insects, and since it is so cold there, not many other detritivores live there. Shrimp Snail Crab Decomposers Decomposers are consumers that break down dead organic matter. For example, when a deer dies, bacteria and fungi starts decomposing the organic matter(flesh). This process produces detritus which the detritivores feed on. Sometimes, they feed on animal feces. The same with the detrititvores, there are fungi and bacteria but it the temperatures are so low that many decomposers cannot survive. Common examples of decomposers are pretzel mold and mushrooms. Pretzel Mold Mushroom Scavengers Scavengers are consumers that eat animals that have died or have been killed by a predator. Some scavengers in the arctic tundra ecosystem is the glaucous gull, wolverine, arctic fox, and the snowy owls. My Definition Food Chain A food chain is a series of steps in which organisms transfer energy by eating and being eaten. Food chains begin with the Sun, which then gives energy to the autotrophs to make food. Then, the primary consumers (herbivores) consume the autotrophs. Afterward, the primary consumer becomes the prey of a secondary consumer (omnivores/ carnivores). The secondary consumer is eaten by the tertiary consumer (omnivores/carnivores). Finally, the quaternary consumer is at the top of the food web. Typically, nothing hunts the quaternary consumer. Predators and Preys Predators are omnivores and carnivores who hunt animals (Preys). Preys are animals that are being hunted and are usually herbivores or primary consumers. For example, when arctic fox chase a lemming for their meat, the arctic fox is the predator and the lemming is the prey. This relationship allows the prey population to stay in balance. eaten by Lemming (Prey) Arctic Wolf (Predator) Producers and Consumers Relationship Producers make the foundation of a food web and food chain. Producers supplement the consumers with the vital energy they need to survive through photosynthesis or chemosynthesis. The primary consumers (herbivores) eat the producers but only get 10% of its energy. The seconday consumers (omnivores/carnivores) only gets 1% of the energy. The tertiary (3rd level) and quarternary (4th level) consumers only get .1 and .001%,respectively, of the energy. Each level is known as a trophic level. e.g.-1st Trophic Level (primary producers) and 2nd Trophic Level (primary consumers). For example, in the arctic, arctic fox eats rabbits, which eat grass. Also arctic fox eats snowy owls, which eat lemmings, which then eat moss. This can eventually become a food chain. My Arctic Food Chain For this food chain, I chose the arctic ecosystem. Within that ecosystem, I chose the the arctic wolf. The Sun Food Web of the Arctic Wolves Arctic Grass Polar Bears Arctic Wolf Arctic Skua Musk Ox Snowshoe hare Lemmings Arctic Wolf primary producer Snowy Owl primary consumer secondary consumer Arctic Grass Lichen Giant-Spear
Moss { Death Death Bacteria
and Fungi Sun Musk Ox Food Web A food web represents the relationship between multiple organisms. They are made of more than one food chain and can become very complex. Food webs link primary producers to different primary consumers. The primary consumers are then eaten by different species of secondary consumers. The secondary consumers are eaten by tertiary, which are then eaten by the quarternary predator (apex predator in most cases). Some food webs may have multiple combinations. . Musk Oxen amount of energy Wolverine Common Detritivores Snowy Owl Glaucous Gull Primary
Producer Primary
Consumer Secondary
Consumer Tertiary
Consumer Energy
Source Lemming Sun -> Lichen -> Snowshoe Hare -> Polar Bear
Sun -> Lichen -> Snowshoe Hare -> Arctic Wolf
Sun -> Lichen -> Snowshoe Hare -> Arctic Skua
Sun -> Lichen -> Snowshoe Hare -> Snowy Owl

Sun -> Lichen -> Lemming -> Polar Bear
Sun -> Lichen -> Lemming -> Arctic Wolf
Sun -> Lichen -> Lemming -> Arctic Skua
Sun -> Lichen -> Lemming -> Snowy Owl Moss ----> Lemmings ----> Snowy Owl ----> Arctic Fox Producer Primary Consumer ----> ----> ----> ----> Secondary Consumer Tertiary Consumer Producers Primary Consumers Secondary Consumers Tertiary Consumers (Apex Predator) 100% of the energy Sun -> Giant-Spear Moss -> Musk Ox -> Polar Bear
Sun -> Giant-Spear Moss -> Musk Ox -> Arctic Wolf

Sun -> Giant-Spear Moss -> Snowshoe Hare -> Polar Bear
Sun -> Giant-Spear Moss -> Snowshoe Hare -> Arctic Wolf
Sun -> Giant-Spear Moss -> Snowshoe Hare -> Arctic Skua
Sun -> Giant-Spear Moss -> Snowshoe Hare -> Snowy Owl

Sun -> Giant-Spear Moss -> Lemming -> Polar Bear
Sun -> Giant-Spear Moss -> Lemming -> Arctic Wolf
Sun -> Giant-Spear Moss -> Lemming -> Arctic Skua
Sun -> Giant-Spear Moss -> Lemming -> Snowy Owl Lemming Arctic Grass Snowy Owl Arctic Wolf 10% of energy 1% of energy .1 %of energy Sun -> Arctic Grass -> Musk Ox -> Polar Bear
Sun -> Arctic Grass -> Musk Ox -> Arctic Wolf

Sun -> Arctic Grass -> Snowshoe Hare -> Polar Bear
Sun -> Arctic Grass -> Snowshoe Hare -> Arctic Wolf
Sun -> Arctic Grass -> Snowshoe Hare -> Arctic Skua
Sun -> Arctic Grass -> Snowshoe Hare -> Snowy Owl

Sun -> Arctic Grass -> Lemming -> Polar Bear
Sun -> Arctic Grass -> Lemming -> Arctic Wolf
Sun -> Arctic Grass -> Lemming -> Arctic Skua
Sun -> Arctic Grass -> Lemming -> Snowy Owl The Energy Pyramid The energy pyramid is a way to represent the amount of energy passed on from one organism to another. The producers get 100% of the energy; however every consumer after it only receives 10% of the energy. Therefore, the apex predator must hunt more to reach the same amount of energy that the producers started out with. Varieties of Food Chains Biosphere -part of the earth where all life exists.
-about 20 km thick
-includes the hydrosphere (bodies of water), lithosphere (land), and atmosphere (the air)
-divided into different biomes, ecosystems that have similar climates and organisms. (earth)
-consists of all abiotic and biotic factors. The Arctic Ecosystem Surprisingly, during the summer months, the sun shines all day in the arctic even during the night (Average temperature of -10 degrees Celsius). On the contrary, the winter months go in almost complete darkness (Average temperature of -32 degrees Celsius). Also, in the winter months, the blizzards get colder due to the force of the sharp wind gusts. The land has remains of rocks and soil which are left behind by glaciers. Frost form the remains of rocks such as limestone and sandstone. The unpredictable temperatures cause the soil to freeze or thaw simultaneously causing some major landslides. Lichen on rocks inject powerful enzymes into rock crevices; thus breaking the rock down into smaller pieces to form soil. Organisms dwelling in the arctic must adapt to the constant permafrost. Biomagnification Pyramid Biomagnification is the concentration of chemicals passed on from one trophic level to another. The biomagnicfication pyramid is closely connected to the energy pyramid. For instance, if the producers are infected by a poisonous fertilizer, the primary consumer will suffer even more. Because the primary consumer get 10%, it must est more producers to get more energy. Then, the amount of toxin adds up from eating more poisonous plants. Even worse, the apex predator get affected even more because they must feed more to get enough energy. This puts the humans at the greatest risk if producers or any organism gets intoxicated. What Happens if the Producer Gets Poisoned? Tertiary Consumer Secondary Consumer Primary Consumer Primary Producer Arctic Wolf Lemming Snowy Owl Arctic Grass Concentration The Arctic Wolf The arctic wolf, also known as the Canis lupus arctos, is a mammal that inhabits one of the most extreme ecosystems-the Arctic Circle. It is a relative to the gray wolf, but it is smaller in size than the arctic wolf but bulkier. They have shorter legs to avoid exposure to the harsh elements. Arctic wolves usually hunt in packs to easily kill prey by singling one prey at a time. In order to protect them from the frigid temperatures, arctic wolves have thick coats of fur to insulate the body. They are very opportunistic animals meaning that they will hunt anything available, but they prefer large animals like caribou. Occasionally, when large game is not available, they will settle with snowshoe hares and lemmings.
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