Mangroves in Jervis Bay
(food webs and food chains.)
Mangrove food webs
Food Chain: a ‘chain’ of organisms, through which energy is transferred. Each organism in the chain feeds on and obtains energy from the one preceding it, and in turn is eaten by and provides energy for the one following it. (e.g. plant to herbivore to carnivore)
Almost all food chains begin with plants, which transform and store the sun’s energy. Plants are called producers because they produce their own food. Many wetland inhabitants, including some insects and fish, eat plants. They are called primary consumers. These plant eaters are eaten by other animals at a wetland, such as larger fish and birds, which are called secondary consumers.
The ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions and the availability of good quality water, habitat, nutrients and sunlight are the main factors which affect wetland food chains. In turn, the ability of an animal to change its diet is reliant on the wetland ecosystem to provide an alternative food source. Human impacts, such as stormwater pollution, irrigation, land clearing and introduced species can have a major influence on wetland food chains. As in all ecosystems, if one component of a food chain is altered in some way (i.e. introduced species deplete the food supply or pollution kills the plants), this will impact on all aspects of the ecosystem.