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    Ecosystem: Food Web

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    Review the attached food web and answer the following questions:
    1. What are the leading primary producers and top consumers in the ecosystem you researched?
    2. How did the amount of energy gained compare to the amount of energy lost as heat at the 2nd-4th trophic levels?
    3. What are the consequences if all individuals belonging to one of these key species are removed? (Choose one specific example and describe the impact on other organisms in the ecosystem as well as on the abiotic environment.)
    4. If you have the option to save from extinction either the carnivores or the primary producers in an ecosystem, which would you protect? Why?
    5. Considering the amount of energy required to produce animal-based foods and goods, should humans change their habits so they consume products closer to the bottom of the food chain? Provide rationale for your response.

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    Solution Preview

    1. If the chart you included is the chosen ecosystem, then the top predator would be the hawk and the primary producers are the plants.

    2. Only 10% of the available energy passes between trophic levels. So if there is 100% energy available for the grass only 10% will be available to the primary herbivores, in this case the grasshoppers and the mouse. 90% will be lost to the environment. The third trophic level would have 10% of 10% and etc. If we wrote these in decimal form, from the bottom of the food chain to the top, it would be as follows: 1 ,.1, .01, .001. If we write these in percent form we would have 100%, 10%, 1%, 0.1% and so on. Therefore, the amount of energy gained is negligible compared to ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution will include energy transfer between trophic levels, what happens to the remaining organisms if one key species becomes extinct and the consequences, as well as how humans affect the ecosystem.