PRIMARY PRODUCERS - AUTOTROPHS (SELF NOURISHING)
- Primary producers are basically green plants (and certain bacteria and algae).
- They synthesize carbohydrates from simple inorganic raw materials like carbon dioxide and water in the presence of sunlight by the process of photosynthesis for themselves and supply indirectly to other non-producers.
- In the terrestrial ecosystem, producers are basically herbaceous and woody plants, while in aquatic ecosystem producers are various species of microscopic algae.
CONSUMERS - HETEROTROPHS
- Consumers are incapable of producing their own food (photosynthesis).
- They depend on organic food derived from plants, animals or both.
HERBIVORES are primary consumers which feed mainly on plants e.g. cow, rabbit.
- Secondary consumers feed on primary consumers e.g. wolves., known as carnivores
CARNIVORES which feed on secondary consumers are called tertiary consumers e.g. lions which can eat wolves.
- Omnivores are organisms which consume both plants and animals e.g. man, monkey.
They are bacteria and fungi which obtain energy and nutrients by decomposing dead organic substances (detritus) of plant and animal origin.
The products of decomposition such as inorganic nutrients which are released in the ecosystem are reused by producers and thus recycled.
Earthworm and certain soil organisms (such as nematodes, and arthropods) are detritus feeders and help in the decomposition of organic matter and are called detrivore.