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Trophic Levels and Energy Flow

Every organism in an ecosystem is affected by the other organisms within the community it lives. Create a sample community and complete all of the following points about your community.

a) Define "trophic levels". Provide a specific example of four species and describe their trophic-level relationships.

b) Trace energy flow through your sample community.

c) Trace contaminant flow (for example, DDT) through your sample community.

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Solution Preview

A trophic level contains a group of organisms united because they obtain their energy from the same part of the food web in a biological community. A maple tree, for example, obtains its energy from the sun. Therefore, it is in the primary or first trophic level. The same could be said of all plants: rose bushes, grass, etc. A rabbit, on the other hand, is a herbivore. It eats plants. Therefore, it belongs to the second trophic level. Other animals that would share this trophic level would be a grasshopper, a caterpillar, a mouse, and a vegetarian human. Examples of organisms in the third trophic level would be carnivores, any organism ...

Solution Summary

This solution is completed in about 450 words. This response begins by outlining the importance of the trophic level concept, providing examples, and then sets up a sample community to discuss the flow of energy transfers.