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Chapter 18 Section 2

 Describe the functions of producers,

consumers, and decomposers in an ecosystem

 Distinguish between a food chain and a food


 Explain how energy flows through a food web

 Describe how the removal of one species

affects the entire food web
 Living things need energy to survive

 How does energy pass through an


 Organisms can be divided into 3 groups

based on how they get energy:
 Organisms that use sunlight to make food

 Photosynthesis (plants, some algae and


 Ex: grasses in a prairie; algae in the ocean

 Organisms that eat other organisms

 Eat producers or other animals to obtain


 Several kinds:
◦ HERBIVORE: eats only plants (ex: grasshoppers,
◦ CARNIVORE: eats animals (ex: coyotes, hawks)
◦ OMNIVORES: eat both plants and animals (ex:
mouse) – Scavengers: eat dead plants and animals
 Organisms that get energy by breaking
down dead organisms

 Bacteria and fungi (remove stored energy

from dead organisms)

 Nature’s recyclers
 Food Chain:
◦ how energy flows from one organism to another
◦ Simple food chains are rare; organisms eat many
kinds of foods
◦ Pathway of energy transfer through various
stages as a result of the feeding patterns of a
series of organisms
 Food Web:
◦ Shows energy connections in nature
◦ A diagram that shows feeding relationships
between organisms in an ecosystem
◦ One-way direction

 A triangular diagram that shows an
ecosystem’s loss of energy, which results as
energy passes through the ecosystem’s
food chain

 More energy is available at the base that at

the top

 Can you create an energy pyramid?
 One species can be very important for the
flow of energy in an environment

 Ex: Gray Wolves

◦ Consumers
◦ Predators
◦ Control the populations of many other animals
◦ Top of the food pyramid
 Population was almost wiped out by settlers

 Elk species were no longer controlled

 Overpopulation of elk occurred, leading to


 Too little grass was left to support other organisms

 All populations became affected by the loss of the

Gray Wolves
 Gray Wolves were brought back to
Yellowstone in 1995

 Restore the natural energy flow

 Not everyone approves

 Concerns over safety of livestock

 As wolves were reintroduced, the elk population

 Wolves killed off old, sick, injured, or diseased


 Increased plant growth

 Hare & fox population increased

 All animals are important for balance in the

food web
 How might an omnivore be a link both at
the beginning of a food web and near the

 How does the energy in a fish get into the

fish? How does the energy stored in the fish
get released from the fish?