The lion is one of the apex predators in the savannah food web or food chain, often hunting other animals smaller than the lion. When the lion dies, the scavengers decompose the body and return it back to soil for the primary producer to prosper. This is a illustration of the trophic level of the savannah.
Trophic levels is a structure that researchers use to organism all the organism in a single area or biome based on the predator and prey relationship with the other organisms in the area. The structure of the trophic level will often be in the shape or form of a pyramid as the higher the trophic level the lower the number of organisms in said level.
The trophic level of an organism will easily allow the researcher or scientist to comprehensively know the relationship between the organism and the other organisms in the habitat or biome. If you want to learn more about trophic levels and their structure, you can read any of the articles above. (Good reads include Trophic Level Index, Review Lake Trophic Level Index, and Trophic Level Troubles)
Begin by picking a specific habitat or biome you would like to categorize all the organisms. This will dictate the number of organisms you will have to organize based on their trophic level.
When you have finished choosing the habitat or biome, you will now research all the organisms in the given area. This should include the various plant life, bacteria, insects, viruses, and animals living in the habitat or biome.
After the previous step, you must select an organism and research its food production and source. This will help you easily assign the organism to its appropriate trophic level.
Based on the food source of the organism, one can easily assign the organism to the correct trophic level. If the organism produces its food via sunlight, then it should be at the primary producer’s level. But if the producer has a predator, then it should be categorized accordingly in the consumers part of the trophic level.
After finishing steps 3 and 4, you must now repeat said steps until you have finished categorizing all the organisms to their appropriate trophic level. You can also arrange the organisms in a pyramid-like structure.
The five trophic levels function as categories of specific organisms that the researcher or scientist will place and add to the food chain or food web. The first and the lowest level in the trophic level is called the primary producers. These organisms often manifest as the plant life in a given biome, as they absorb nutrients from the ground and energy from the sun. The second level above the primary producers is the primary consumers. They are organisms that will primarily hunt and consume the primary producers, and often manifest as insects and other small plant-eating organisms. The secondary consumers act as the predators of the primary consumers and manifest as animals that primarily prey on insects and plant-eating organisms. The tertiary consumers are the mid-sized animals that prey on the secondary consumers and may even also preys on the primary consumers. The final level called the apex predator is the organism at the top of the food chain or food web that has no consumers above them in a given ecosystem. These organisms will only be reintroduced to the energy cycle through the decomposition reaction of their dead bodies via the scavengers.
The trophic structure is a pyramid-like structure that organizes the organisms in different trophic levels and biomass based on their various relationships like predator-prey, parasitism, mutualism, and commensalism. This also indicates the relationship the various organisms will have with the other organisms below their trophic level. An example of this relationship is the presence of a secondary consumer benefiting the primary producers as it reduces the total amount of organisms preying on them.
The 10% rule is a rule that governs how much potential energy is being transferred and absorbed via consumption and chemical reactions in the body. This rule states that the energy transferred between trophic levels is only capped at 10%. Primary producers produce 100% potential energy, which is reduced to 10% when the primary consumers eat the primary producer for energy. This is true between the primary, secondary, tertiary consumers, and the apex predator reaching 0.01% Energy gained by the apex predator.
The trophic level is a position an organism occupies inside a specific food web or food chain in a given ecosystem, biosphere, or biome. Being able to classify and categorize organisms on their correct trophic levels will easily allow you to create a comprehensive food chain and food web.