The transformations of energy in an ecosystem start first with the contribution of energy from the sun. Energy from the sun is captured through the process of photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is reacted with hydrogen obtained from the splitting of water molecules to manufacture carbohydrates (CHO).
Energy is stored in the high energy bonds of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.
Because plant is the first stage in the production of energy for living things, it is known as primary production. Herbivores acquire their energy by consuming plants or plant products, carnivores obtain their by eating herbivores, and detritivores eat the droppings and carcasses of us all.
A trophic level is made up of organisms that make a living in a similar manner i.e. they are all primary producers (plants), primary consumers (herbivores) or secondary consumers (carnivores).
Dead tissue and waste products are manufactured at all levels. Scavengers, detritivores, and decomposers together account for the use of all such “waste. They consume the carcasses and fallen leaves.
They may be other animals, like crows and beetles, but finally it is the microbes that conclude the job of decomposition. Not unexpectedly, the amount of primary production varies a great deal from place to place, as a result of differences in the amount of solar radiation and the accessibility of nutrients and water.
Energy transfer through the food chain is ineffective. This means that less energy is accessible at the herbivore level than at the primary producer level, less at the carnivore level than at the herbivore level, and so on. The outcome is a pyramid of energy, with significant implications for comprehending the quantity of life that can be supported.
Normally, when we think of food chains, we imagine green plants, herbivores, etc. These are known as grazer food chains, because living plants are directly being eaten. In varieties of situations, the main energy input is not green plants but dead organic matter.
These are known as debris food chains. Examples are the forest floor or a woodland stream in a forested area, a salt marsh, and for the most part observably, the ocean floor in very deep areas where all sunlight is put out 1000’s of meters above.
In conclusion, even though we have been talking about food chains, in reality the organization of biological systems is much more complex than can be represented by a simple “chain”. There are a lot of food links and chains in an ecosystem, and the collection of all these food chains is referred to as food web.
Food webs can be highly complex, where it looks like “the whole thing is linked with everything else”, and it is vital to comprehend what are the main crucial linkages in any particular food web