Great Barrier Reef Food Chain Analysis

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A food web consists of all food chains of an ecosystem. A food web is a diagram which shows the transfer of energy between species. Energy is transferred through food; therefore, food webs basically show which fauna eats which. Food webs are organized into layers of who eats who called trophic levels. The bottom trophic level of a food web is the producers, the second being the primary consumer, then the secondary consumers, tertiary consumers and the final trophic level being the decomposers. The ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef is a fragile balance, with a food chain that has several points, in which each one is reliant on one another. The Great Barrier Reef’s coordinates are 18.2871° S, 147.6992° E. The Reef has a huge amount of flora …show more content…

Primary consumers are normally herbivores therefore they feed off of producers. There is a wide variety of herbivorous animals that reside in the Great Barrier Reef. These include invertebrates such as molluscs and echinoderms, as well as certain species of fish, the most notable being the parrotfishes, surgeonfishes, rabbitfishes, rudderfishes and damselfishes. The primary consumer’s role in the Great Barrier Reef’s food chain consists of them feeding off of the primary producers such as coral, therefore transferring the energy from the producer to consumer. The primary consumer only obtains around 10% of the producer’s energy as they may not eat the whole entity or energy might be lost through waste. The population of the largest and most significant vertebrate plants feeds, including sea turtles, dugongs, have been severely decimated by the impacts of humans on the reef. The loss of these vital animals has and will more severely disturb the coral reef food web in a significant manner, although the specific impacts are not clear …show more content…

They break down dead biological matter and waste products and convert them into useable energy; returning important materials to the environment. Decomposers are a particular important feature in the Great Barrier Reef considering the heavy bio-load. Main decomposers inside the reef include bacteria, sea cucumbers, some species of snails, crabs and bristle worms. Bacteria sis not only vital for the Great Barrier Reef’s food web, but is also said by scientists that it could be the key to keeping the coral healthy and able to withstand the impacts of global warming. Dr Tracy Ainsworth stated “it is very likely that these microorganisms play a vital role in the capacity of coral to recovering from bouts of bleaching caused by rising temperatures.” Corals rely on these good bacteria’s crucially although we don’t yet understand these microbe’s ell enough to know how they influence coral survival, which is vital in maintaining the food web of the Great Barrier Reef. These good bacteria as well as other decomposers break down dead organics material and turn nutrients to the sediment. This energy is then obtained by the producers and the cycle begins

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