Understanding Trophic Levels in a Deciduous Forest.

Essay by kaydeebugCollege, UndergraduateA, December 2014

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Understanding Trophic Levels in a Deciduous Forest.


Ecosystems are made of producers, herbivores, detritivores, and carnivores. These different groups make up the different trophic levels in an ecosystem. Energy flow and biomass are transferred through these different levels. By observing a deciduous forest ecosystem, energy flow and biomass can be measured. To show the importance of detritivores in the ecosystem, two mesh bags were filled with leaves and left in the forest. One bag allowed detritivores to enter, while the other had a mesh bag that was too small. The results of the lab showed that while trees were small in numbers, they have almost all of the biomass and energy of an ecosystem.


Ecosystems are composed of different trophic levels that can be analyzed. There are producers, herbivores, detritivores, and carnivores that make up the different levels in different numbers. If something happens to one level of this system, all of the trophic levels will be affected.

Jaboil et al. (2013) studied the loss of species in one trophic level in an aquatic detritus based model system. The results of this study show that all systems are interconnected through food chains and trophic levels. This was also shown by studies done by Choquenot et al. (2013) with dingoes and red kangaroos in Australia. When the dingoes obtained their maximum capacity, there were less red kangaroos and in turn more vegetation.

Energy flow is also connected through all trophic levels. The energy taken in by producers from the sun is then distributed through the rest of the food web. Lavorel et al. (2013) shows that environmental change will affect all levels through the food chain. So when the herbivores are effected, the carnivores are also effected and the energy flow is less efficient. Herbivores take in the producers,