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WHAT IS A FOOD WEB AND ITS APPLICATION IN BIOLOGY

Food web is an essential ecological concept meaning it involves a system of interlocking and interdependent food chains. A food chain, on the other hand, explains the food relations and energy flow from one species to the other. You might be wondering what the catch with the food web is. The food web contains several food chains comprising of numerous organisms. Key points to mark are the participants of the pattern. It consists of producers also known as the autotrophs, who are at the starting point of the web and consumers, also known as heterotrophs, who end the cycle. Producers make their organic molecules with the help of sunlight. Autotrophs fall into two branches.

Photoautotrophs use the energy to make an organic compound. With the help of photosynthesis, they can convert carbon dioxide into sugars. Chemoautotrophs use energy from chemicals to make organic molecules in a process called chemosynthesis. Producers are the foundation of the ecosystem. Heterotrophs, also known as consumers, are not able to make their food. Instead, they get their organic molecules by eating the other organisms.

Types of Food Web

Food webs describe the connections among the species in the ecosystem. It is significant to note that the relationships vary in the importance of energy flow and dynamics of specific populations. Connectedness web is the first type illustrating how the feeding relationships among living organisms while the functional web is the second type of food web. It emphasizes the influence of population and growth rates. It also stresses out the importance of species maintaining the integrity of a community. Energy flow web exhibits the energy flow from one species to the other.

Food web is a significant tool in investigating and defining the energy flow. It provides a graphical model explaining the food chains and how they are related to one another. Food chains have arrows alluding the flow of energy along the sequence. The following shows how the food web is applied in biology.

Food Web Outlines the indirect relationship among the species

This involves the indirect relationships among the participant of the web. Eliminating one species is likely to affect other species, thus bringing an imbalance in the ecosystem. Eliminating herbivores in the equation means the number of producers will increase while the carnivores and the tertiary consumers will reduce rapidly. This effect is known as the keystone predation, where removal of one species leads to an imbalance in the ecosystem.

Food Web Describe the direct relationships of the species

It elaborates the different trophic levels. These are the basal species, plants, who are the primary producers, the intermediate species, herbivores, who are known as the first consumers and finally the top predators, carnivores, who consume the intermediate species. A desert food web is likely to have a fourth trophic level, which is the tertiary consumers. These are the animals that eat secondary consumers. It comprises of animals such as the mountain lions and bird predators like the hawk.

They are revealing the energy transfer

This involves energy transfer in the ecosystem. You get to learn the energy flow and difference in biomass the partitioning between the producers and herbivores, decomposers and detritus and higher trophic levels in the food web. Herbivores in terrestrial ecosystems are less abundant, but decomposers are highly abundant than in phytoplankton dominated areas. Animals at the higher level of the food chain have few predators. For this reason, the energy available to each trophic level is progressively smaller and the organisms progressively larger.

Adapting the indicator technique

Similar to the keystone species, the indicator species is marked and monitored closely to get info about the environs. It's used to understand the aspect of the character or quality of the environment. You can articulate possible patterns occurring in the ecosystem. A situation where there is pollution, you get a glimpse on how the pattern formed and duration of its occurrence. Some can be useful in spotting minerals deposits in the soil. This is possible as they make their way into the plant's tissues.

Detection of toxins in the environment

Food web can help biologists identify the presence of toxic substances in the atmosphere. Some plants have sensitive features like the lichens towards poisonous gases such as sulfur dioxide thus are closely monitored to tap any air pollution. In semi-arid regions, legumes are likely to produce a noticeably unpleasant smell signifying a massive consumption of toxic substances from the soil. Such toxins are likely to affect the food web, resulting in temporary or even permanent side effects such as blindness to consumers.

Ultimately, the significance of the food web and its application enables one to appreciate and gain knowledge on different relationships among the trophic levels. Most importantly, everyone should play a role in preserving the ecosystem. Wondering where to get biology homework help online to your biology homework? Don't worry, contact us today for assistance.

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