a) What are the leading primary producers and top consumers in the ecosystem you researched?
The research was carried out in the Antarctic marine ecosystem, under this ecosystem and within the food web, the leading producer is phyplankton which produces food for all kinds of animal from small to lager ones. The top consumer in this ecosystem are grazers mainly the zoophylankton and some fish. Generally Antarctic animals make their living in the ocean because the land is to cold and dry commonly known as physical factors.
b) Using the energy pyramid concept (Figure 3.16 in the textbook is a good example), how did the amount of energy gained compare to the amount of energy lost as heat at the 2nd??�4th trophic levels?
Generally as we move from lower level to higher level that is from bottom trophic to top trophic energy decreases. It is argued that fro primary producer energy supply available to the next trophic level is 10%. The fact that only a fraction of energy available at one trophic level is transferred to the next level clearly indicates that there is a lot of energy that is lost in form of heat. If for instance the energy level available at primary level is 1000kcal, then it means only 100kcal will be available in the 2nd level, this amount of energy further reduces to 10kcal at the 3rd level . a the 4th level the energy available would be 1kcal. At the 2nd trophic level the amount of energy gained is higher than the amount of energy gained in 4th level. From the example above only 10Kcal is available in 2nd level compared to 1Kcal in the 4th trophic. Energy gained is minimal compared to the mount of energy lost as and same that is absorbed decreases from lower trophic to higher the tropic.
c) What are the consequences if all individuals belonging to one of these key species are removed? (Choose one specific example and describe the impact on other organisms in the ecosystem as well as on the abiotic environment.)
Normally for steady state, yearly consumption should be equivalent yearly production for a steady state to occur. This implies that there should be no increase or decrease in the number of species. If all individuals belonging small fish for example are eliminated within the food web, in the short run it will mean that human being, penguin, whales, sea birds, seals will be affected. Since these organisms depend on fish for their assimilation to upkeep them, it therefore implies that there will be less of these organism namely penguin, whales, seabird, seal etc. due to lack of energy to sustain them. If birds decrease, penguin decrease, there will be more of kills. the abiotic environment which the nonliving part of ecosystem will be affected by decays of rotting carcasses occasioned by lack of food due to the elimination of fish species
d) If you have the option to save from extinction either the carnivores or the primary producers in an ecosystem, which would you protect? Why?
Primary producers are the core to the pyramid of biomass number, energy, and biomass. The primary producers refer to as autotrophs photosynthesis their in present of light, this therefore gives basis of life. If I have an option to save from extinction I would save primary producers rather than carnivores for the sake of continuity. Carnivore depend on already made food so the
It implies they cannot survive alone but entirely depend on others where as primary producer are capable of manufacturing their food there by supporting other organisms from other trophic level.
e) Considering the amount of energy required producing animal-based foods and goods, should humans change their habits so they consume products closer to the bottom of the food chain? Provide rationale for your response.
The human beings use a lot of energy in terms of fire set to clear land, productivity desertification, species extinction, human being therefore should change eating habit to consume products closer to the bottom of food chain since the lower the sole trophic level the more efficient the web of life becomes because when you eat animal that eat animal that also eat plant is an inefficient way of using the solar energy, therefore man should diversify eating habit to avoid waste,
Generally there quite a number of factors that regulate amount of productivity energy flow and biomass flow and the energy flow is based on the second principle of thermodynamics which states that energy consumed by one organism cannot be destroyed nor created but is passed to the next organism within the next level of autotrophs. While energy decrease with increase in trophic level the biomass increases.
Wessells, N.K. and J.L. Hopson, (1988), Biology. New York: Random House
Townsend, C.R., J.L. Harper, and M. Begon. (2000). Essentials of Ecology. Blackwell Science.
Hall, D.O and K. K. Rao,(1994). Photosynthesis. 5th Edition, Cambridge.
Abiotic Environment from World of Biology. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation
A.J. Colea, M.S. Pratchetta and G.P. Jonesa (2009) Effects of coral bleaching on the feeding response of two species of coral-feeding fish. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 1: 11-15
Galucci, V. F. (1973) On the principles of thermodynamics in ecology. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics.
Hairston, Nelson G., Jr. and Nelson G. Hairston, Sr. 1993. Cause and Effect Relationships in Energy Flow, Trophic Structure and Interspecific Interactions. The American Naturalist 142