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Links In The Food Chain

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How does food get “energized”? Plants gather energy from the sun, from water and from nutrients in soil.Plants are producers, meaning that they can make their own food through the process of photosynthesis. Producers are always the first link in a food chain because they have the magnificent power to convert energy into food.

How do animals take in energy?Animals are consumers. Consumers are the opposite of producers. Unlike plants,these animals cannot make their own food, so they eat other organisms. Different animals gather their energy from different food sources. Animals that eat only plants are herbivores. Carnivores eat only meat. Animals that eat both plants and meat are omnivores.

Think of the many different animals on the planet: a polar bear, an earthworm,a bald eagle, a seal, or a hamster. These animals have very different characteristics. Some are large and others small, some fast and some slow, and some with advantages like sharp claws or the ability to fly. In the wild, animals must compete for food, so differences like strength and size are competitive advantages, especially for animals that hunt and eat other animals. A food chain shows how plants and animals interact with each other through the food they eat. A food chain shows that all organisms are connected through feeding relationships. It also shows how energy is transferred up the chain as animals feed,which is essential for life in an ecosystem to thrive.

Herbivores

This diverse group of animals eats only plants. It includes cows,horses, buffalo and even butter-flies. Porcupines are herbivores who eat leaves, twigs and bark .Elephants are hungry herbivores who eat hundreds of pounds of grasses, bushes,bark and fruit daily.

Omnivores

Meat-eating animals like lions occupy the very top of the food chain. Carnivores can be predators that hunt and kill  predators t hat hunt and kill prey or can be scavengers that eat already dead animals. Some scavengers are vultures and ravens.

How Do People Fit

In the not too distant past, most people were members of communities that re-lied on hunting wild animals as a food source. Unlike hundreds of years ago,food is relatively plentiful and much easier to obtain. Instead of spending hours or even days stalking an animal for its meat, today meat can be purchased at any grocery store. This convenience means that a need for individuals to hunt for survival no longer exists.But, people still do choose to hunt, and it can be a controversial topic: Pro-hunting advocates sometimes argue that hunting is natural, and that people are both prey and predators. Do you agree?Some people believe that some methods of hunting are unfair to animals. Some hunting and fishing equipment is so high-tech that animals stand no chance to survive an encounter with a hunter.What do you think? Pro-hunting advocates point out that some animals, for example deer, are overpopulated.This means that there are too many in an ecosystem. The idea is that hunting helps keep the population down, so deer do not cause problems seeking food in areas where people live. Deer can destroy gardens and landscaping. What is your opinion?



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