As we mentioned yesterday producers are living things that can create their own food from the sun. They are always at the bottom of a food chain this and producers include plants, algae and cyanobacteria. Living things that cannot produce their own energy are called consumers. A food chain is made up of both consumers and producers and always ends in an apex predator.
The species higher up the food chain depend on the species lower down being abundant to get their energy and keep them alive.
Can you think what might happen is a link in the food chain declined or disappeared completely?
Depending on the link that goes missing, the devastation can be massive. If a top level predator disappears the population size of those eaten by it will start to increase. But, this isn’t always a good thing. These extra animals will need extra food. This means there is more predators for the animals further down the food web and more herbivores eating the producers.
We also mentioned that most habitats support food webs rather than links. When a mid-level link is taken out the food chain this can also cause a lot of problems and multiple predators might rely on them. Predators will have to eat more of the other links and may become extinct in an area due to starvation.
As some species adapt to problems like climate change they might move out of an area. If the predator cannot follow this is a situation that could cause food web collapse. Equally if insects start hatching sooner as Spring begins earlier as the climate warms, can you think how species higher up the food chain might be affected?
We will find our later in the week how this affects Alderney, especially our puffin colony!