Producer – A food source for consumers. • Primary Consumer (herbivores) • Secondary Consumers (eat herbivores) • Tertiary consumers (eat the organisms that eat herbivores) • Decomposer - A heterotrophthat breaks down and absorbs nutrients from dead organisms. Food chain
In most ecosystems, energy does not simply follow one path because organisms often feed at many different levels of a food chain!! This creates a complicated interconnected group of food chains called a food web. HOWEVER…………..
In the previous diagram, the producers are the grass and plants. The rabbits, squirrels, mice, birds and insects and primary consumers. The fox, hawk and snake are secondary consumers, eating the rabbits and squirrels. The fox, hawks and snakes are all also examples of tertiary consumers because they are the final stop on the food web. Only with their death and decay does their energy return to the system. food web
Ecologists often illustrate the flow flow of energy through an ecosystems with an energy pyramid. *There usually are fewer organisms the higher up the energy pyramid!! Food pyramid