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Grazing Food Webs

A grazing food web involves the general exchange of energy in an ecosystem. By no means are grazing food webs simple to explain. They involve complex interactions between species of animals and plants that even ecologists do not completely understand. The following diagram is intended to provide a basic understanding of the process and how it differs from the detritus food web

The grazing food web begins with green plants that tap the sun's rays through photosynthesis and convert inorganic material into organic material. In the food web, plants make up the category called primary producers. Both pine trees and blue grama grass are examples.

Herbivores:  White-tailed-doeIn the next layer of the food web are the herbivores, also known as primary consumers. Primary consumers get their energy and nutrient requirements by eating primary producers. Some typical herbivores include species like the Beaver and the White-tailed Deer.

Next are the secondary consumers, otherwise known as carnivores. These are animals that feed on primary consumers and include species like the Short-tailed Weasel.

Carnivores: CougarAt the top of the food web are the tertiary consumers. These animals may consume either primary or secondary consumers. They might also be omnivores (like Black Bears) and consume plant matter as well. Tertiary consumers include animals like the Northern Pike found in many Alberta lakes, and the Gray Wolf.

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