Understanding The Tropical Rainforest Food Web
The tropical rainforest food web is all about who eats who in the tropics. The web describes the chain of events every organism goes through to obtain nutrition, or energy, in order to survive. A food web is a network of food chains.
There are some things we need to know about the food web. Each level of the chain is dependent on the adjoining levels. Autotrophs make their food from light or some form of chemical energy and are at the bottom of each food chain. These primary producers are eaten by herbivores (plant eating organisms) that are eaten by carnivores and omnivores. The secondary consumers may be eaten by tertiary consumers, who are carnivores. When any organism dies, tiny microbes (detrivores) take over and what we humans know as decay occurs. And the food web starts all over again.
The rainforest is home to more plants and small insects than any other organism. And herbivores far outweigh carnivores and omnivores. We could provide pages of scientific facts about tropical rainforest food webs. Instead, we'll cut to the chase and tell you why all this is important.
Its importance lies in the very critical concept of interdependence. Each organism in the food web depends upon all other organisms in the chain for basic survival. For example, if an insect becomes extinct, plants that it consumes will proliferate and equilibrium in the rainforest will be disturbed. In addition, members of the food web that rank above the insect in question will be affected because it will no longer be available for consumption. This disruption leads to further extinction of species and ultimately the entire food web is drastically changed if not completely obliterated.
We humans need to work to avoid obliteration of any member of the tropical rainforest food web. The endangered species list keeps getting longer, not shorter. We should be concerned.