Interactions Among Organisms Ecology TROPHIC LEVELS Organisms interact with members of their own species
and with those of other species. Relationships between or among different organisms are known as biotic factors. Interaction of a community w/ its environment is an
ecological system or ecosystem. Each organism represents a feeding step, or trophic level, in the passage of energy and materials.
Biotic Factors An Ecosystem possesses both LIVING COMPONENTS OR BIOTIC FACTORS and NONLIVING OR ABIOTIC FACTORS. The Living Components of the environment are called Biotic Factors. They include all the Living Things that affect an organism. Biotic
Components are often categorized as Producers, Consumers, and Decomposer. FLOW OF ENERGY IN ECOSYSTEMS Energy in an Ecosystem FLOWS from the SUN t o Producers ( autotrophs
) then to Organisms that Eat the Producers, the n to Organisms that feed on other Organisms ( Consumers). Producers are Autotrophic Organisms. Autotrophs have the capability of carrying out Photosynthesis, and making food for themselves and storing some for other Organisms to consume. Examples are
Flow of Energy in an Ecosystem Consumers (heterotrophs) can be broken into different groups depending on what they EAT: Decomposers Consumers who feed on Remains of Dead Plants and Animals. Herbivores (First order consumer) Eat Producers or
Plant Eaters. Carnivores (Second or Third order consumer) Eat other Consumers. Meat Eaters. Omnivores (Second or Third order consumer) Eat Both Producers and Consumers. Plant and Meat Eaters (US). ENERGY FLOW THROUGH AN ECOSYSTEM
FOOD CHAINS & Webs Food Chain - The transfer of materials and potential energy from organism to organism (trophic level to trophic level). A food chain represents one possible route for the transfer of materials and energy
through an ecosystem Food Web - All the possible feeding relationships that exist in an ecosystem Food Chain decomposer
Owl (third-order consumer) Plant (producer) Mouse
(first-order consumer) Snake (second-order consumer) FOOD CHAIN/ WEB
Pyramid of Energy Energy flows through ecosystems from producers to the various levels of consumers. Each time an organism eats another, not all the energy is transferred. Only about 10% of the energy of a producer is transferred to the consumer
that eats it. Therefore, there is a progressive loss of energy at each level of a food chain. We can represent the amount of energy at each level as a part of a energy pyramid. PYRAMID of BIOMASS
It is possible to estimate the mass of all the organisms living in a given area or ecosystem. This estimation is known as the biomass. If the mass of the producers and each type of consumer is recorded, a pyramid can be constructed showing that the biomass of the producers is generally far greater than that of
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