Posted: January 6th, 2017
Most biological energy here on Earth can be traced back to one single source: the sun. Plants and blue-green algae use photosynthesis to trap the electromagnetic wave energy generated by the sun, transforming it into chemical energy in the form of food for themselves and for other creatures that eat them.
Sounds simple so far, right? In an effort to simplify the way you think about creatures and their energy relationships, you often use food chains that show a very clear link between creatures and the things that eat them. Here is one example:
Rose bush > Beetle > Robin > Domestic Cat > Coyote
Organisms are connected by an arrow that points toward the creature consuming it.
While this kind of chain is great for visualizing how some creatures eat, it is not very realistic since most creatures eat a variety of foods. Most robins, for example, like to eat many kinds of insects, not just beetles. It also does not take into account other organisms that contribute like parasites, detritivores or decomposers.
To demonstrate how real creatures behave and to better portray the flow of energy through an ecological community, food webs are often used as described within the energy flow section of the module above.
Please respond to the following questions throughout the week.
For Questions 4–6, use the following food web for Lake Michigan:
Lake Michigan Food Web. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.glerl.noaa.gov//pubs/brochures/foodweb/LMfoodweb.pdf
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