A Coral Reef Ecosystem Essay

2150 Words Nov 29th, 2014 null Page
All organisms in an ecosystem are interconnected and play specific roles that are crucial to the entire community’s sustainability and well-being. When a single aspect of the community is taken away, it affects the rest of the organisms that inhabit the ecosystem, and usually in a way that negatively impacts the area’s biodiversity. The source of most energy on Earth comes from the Sun however, only a certain group of organisms can harness the sun’s energy and convert it into sugars and carbohydrates. These organisms are known as Autotrophs and they are primary producers. Autotrophs usually conduct photosynthesis to use the sun’s energy, but some can use chemical energy using oxidation. Other organisms are consumers and may be consumers of different trophic levels going up the trophic pyramid. Between these trophic levels, only about 10% of energy is transferred. In a coral reef ecosystem, the primary producers at the base of the trophic pyramid are zooxanthellae, which are organisms that live in the coral that conduct photosynthesis and produce usable energy, phytoplankton, sea weeds, and sea grasses. Primary consumers in this ecosystem that feed on the producers include zooplankton, coral polyps, sponges, mollusks, sea urchins, and small fish. Secondary consumers in the community will feed on the primary consumers and usually include larger reef fish and sea turtles. The fourth trophic level consists of the tertiary consumers, which include larger predators such as…

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