Energy levels and the top carnivores

High School ・Biology ・MLA ・1 Sources

Carnivores in the Food Chain and Food Web

Carnivores are at the highest trophic level of the food chain and food web. They eat herbivores which are the plant-eating animals that are found in the first trophic level. The green plants store energy from the sun as the basic producers and transfer it to the herbivores as they feed (Morlon et al. 1495). The energy is taken by the carnivores as they consume the herbivores but it gets to them at lower levels. Energy is now lost in the transfer process between each trophic level as it is used up for different processes. As such, the top carnivores such as the eagles obtain little energy as compared to the producers hence their low population densities (Morlon et al. 1497). The energy they can get is limited, and their growth is inhibited to a certain level lesser than that of lower carnivores, herbivores, and producers.

Impact of Energy Transfer on Top Carnivores

On the other hand, with the four trophic level available for energy transfer, very little power is left to support those in the high ranks. They are also the first to get affected in case the ecosystem is disrupted since they can no longer be supported. When the producers and the herbivores loss the level of energy they acquire in their process of feeding, it leads to a greater effect on the top carnivores since the lower ones uptake the little energy provided by the ecosystem (Morlon et al. 1505).

Competition and Struggle for Survival

The carnivores are needed to eat as many herbivores as possible to get the necessary energy to allow them to survive, grow and reproduce. This is however not possible since there are competition and struggle for the survival across all the trophic levels.

Work Cited

Morlon, Hélène, Sonia Kefi, and Neo D. Martinez. "Effects of trophic similarity on community composition." Ecology letters 17.12 (2014): 1495-1506.

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