What is trophic levels?

What Does trophic levels Mean

The notion of trophic , from the Greek word trophós , is used to refer to what is related to nutrition : the act and result of nourishing, that is, of eating food to increase the substance of the body.

Living beings, through the relationships they establish with each other by feeding on each other, form the trophic chain or food chain . These chains, in turn, are linked within a biological community establishing a food web .
It is important to bear in mind that the species are located in a certain order within the food chain. In this way the idea of trophic levels appears , referring to the sets of organisms that share a place in the chain .

The members of a trophic level, therefore, occupy the same turn or position in the flow of nutrients and energy that is established through nutrition. The different levels, on the other hand, are structured in a pyramid .
Below the pyramid of trophic levels we find decomposers or disintegrators . These organisms, such as fungi , bacteria, and protozoa , feed on the remains of other living things and allow the cycle to continually restart.
Already at the base of the pyramid we find the primary producers . They are autotrophic species , capable of producing organic matter from inorganic matter, such as plants , algae and certain bacteria . For this they resort to chemosynthesis or photosynthesis .
The chemosynthesis part of the energy liberated by reactions inorganics reduced and with it synthesizes adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Photosynthesis, on the other hand, uses solar energy to convert an inorganic substrate into organic matter. In this first trophic level are precisely the living beings that receive energy without the need to kill others, but in a relatively passive way.
The next trophic level, moving upward, presents the primary consumers (who ingest the primary producers, receiving energy from them). Then the secondary consumers appear (they obtain the energy from the primary consumers) and higher up, the tertiary consumers (which feed on the secondary ones) and finally the quaternary consumers (which eat the tertiary ones).

As can be seen, the trophic level of consumers is the broadest. These organisms are heterotrophs , because they produce organic matter from that of others. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, consumers can also be consumed, so that they "give back", so to speak, part of the energy they obtain throughout their life to continue the cycle.
Primary consumers are the organisms that are close to the primary producers, since they feed on them. At this level we find herbivores, mutualists, commensals, and parasites . The rest of the consumers eat what they have in the lower level, although not always eating them directly; those who do are called carnivores or zoophagi .
To explain this we can turn to the case of sheep and wolves . Sheep is at the primary level, as it eats vegetables. The wolf, on the other hand, is at the next trophic level when it hunts a sheep for food. However, there are other secondary consumers who do not have a feeding behavior comparable to that of the wolf. The parasitic fly, for example, deposits its larvae in the nostrils of the sheep and they feed inside it, but do not kill the sheep. The moth belonging to the tineidos family is on the same level because it feeds on the hair of the sheep.

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