Can we live without bees? or what happens if the ocean is polluted with oil?
The impact of man's actions, consciously or unconsciously affect not only one species. It is not a question of lamenting the disappearance of the vaquita porpoise or the Tasmanian tiger; the point is that the impact goes further, and unconsciously other species suffer the consequences.
The food chain: We are all tied to each other.
A food chain is a linear sequence of organisms through which energy and nutrients move when one organism eats another.
A single chain multiple links. Let's take a look at the parts of a food chain, starting at the bottom with the producers and working your way up. At the base of the food chain are the main producers or called autotrophs such as plants, algae or cyanobacteria.
Organisms that eat primary producers are known as primary consumers. The primary consumers are often herbivores that eat plants, such as volcano rabbit, despite the fact that some of these can also be consumers of algae or bacteria.
The organisms that eat the primary consumers are known as secondary consumers. These secondary consumers generally eat meat: in other words they are carnivores.
Organisms that eat secondary consumers are simply known as consumers and are carnivores that eat carnivores, such as fish or eagles.
Some food chains have additional tiers, such as quaternary consumers: carnivores that eat consumers. Organisms at the top of the food chain are known as predators.
Let's look at a more practical example:
Green algae are the main producers that are consumed by shellfish, its main consumers. The mollusks then become the dinner of Cottus cognatus, a fish that is a secondary consumer, which in turn is the food of another fish, the imperial salmon, a tertiary consumer.
Each of the above categories is known as the trophic level and reflects how many energy and nutrient transfers, how many measures of consumption, a different organism from the initial source of the food chain, light, for example. However assigning organisms to trophic levels is not always obvious, humans, for example, are omnivores that can eat plants and animals.
Decomposing organisms, a level apart
There is another group that is worth mentioning, although it does not always appear in food chain diagrams. This group is that of decomposers, organisms that break down dead organic matter and waste; which are sometimes considered as a level unto itself.
As a group, they consume the dead and the waste products that come from the other trophic levels - for example, they consume rotting plant matter, the half-eaten body of a squirrel, or the remains of a dead eagle. In a way, the level of decomposers parallels that of the typical hierarchy of primary, secondary, and tertiary consumers.
Fungi and bacteria are the vital decomposers of ecosystems - they use chemical energy in dead matter and waste due to their own metabolic processes. Other decomposers are saprophages, consumers of waste and other materials in the process of decomposition. These are generally multicellular animals like Earthworms, crabs, slugs or even vultures. Not only do they feed on dead organic matter, but they break it up, in turn allowing bacteria and fungi to do the final work of decomposition and recycling Of the mattery.
What happens if an organism disappears from the food chain?
How can you see the food chain, each link is linked to the next level, up and down, and the disappearance of one of those links represents an impact on the other beings that depend on that endangered species who will receive less energy in the food chain cycle; or if their power source is exclusive and dependent on the disappearing species, it means their death sentence as well.
Un whale shark depends on krill for its survival, as well as Koala It depends on the eucalyptus tree. If an oil spill in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, or wildfires consume the trees in Australia, it is not just the trees or the krill those who are in danger, but the other species that depend on it. From the continuous pressure of man on the environment, the trophic levels will become unbalanced to the point of affecting humanity itself, which is at the top of the food chain.
Can we prevent the breakdown of the food chain?
With the worsening status of some species going from threatened to endangered, it is gratifying to see the progress some poultry farmers are making today, as an example of animal reintroduction plans.
The world's pheasants are in a very unenviable situation at the moment, but some American and European breeders in particular have active programs for captive propagation of endangered species as a means of ensuring their survival.
An example is the Pheasant Trust in Norwich, Norfolk, UK, which has made great strides on reintroducing the Swinhoe pheasant Lophura swinhoei into a reserve in its native Formosa, or Taiwan.
Reintroduction projects are not easy and are prone to special problems. The birds are not simply released into the wild one fine day, as they would surely die.
Fortunately, pheasants as a group lend themselves particularly well to projects of this type as long as certain conditions can be guaranteed.
First of all, it is important that there is a suitable natural habitat for the birds where they can find all the necessary requirements in terms of food, shelter and nesting cover. Furthermore, it is essential that the habitat, especially where initial releases are made, can be protected from human disturbance and predation. For this reason, successful reintroduction schemes are limited to well-staffed wildlife reserves.
Second, the release procedure itself needs to be carried out correctly. Birds should get used to foraging for their own food in a large enclosure of about two acres, and upon arrival at the release site, they should be in a temporary predator-proof enclosure for several weeks until they have settled.
Thereafter, three to four birds are released at two to three day intervals, and food and water are provided daily just outside the holding pen. As a general rule, birds released this way do not wander far and quickly learn to return to the pen when they are hungry.
Feeding should be continued for several weeks after all birds have been released and until feed is no longer needed. The best results seem to be obtained when they are published in later years and can be done in the same area.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the greatest contribution to conservation that poultry farming can make lies in the successful reproduction in captivity of birds threatened with extinction and, from these captive nuclei, the subsequent release of the progeny into native habitats, if necessary. that are available.
A reintroduction project can only be successful if there is a suitable habitat for the bird in question. The effects of repopulating an ecosystem with endemic animals is surprising.
Another successful case, and constantly mentioned as a reference, is the reintroduction of wild wolves in North America, which once began to reproduce in freedom, helped control the overpopulation of species in the food chain that in turn decimated the resources of other species of the animal food chain.
When we emphasize the conservation of resources, when we talk about sustainability and the concern about climate change, we are not talking about abstract issues, we are talking about our own future; and I believe that the moments that we live have been a demonstration of how the negative impact of our attitudes towards the planet is reaching us.
Do you need any other reason to be in Equilibrium with the world around you?