Lab Exercise. Ecosystems Introduction Ecology describes how living organisms interact with their environment. It is studied as a hierarchy of biological systems in interaction with their environments (Organism population community ecosystem biosphere). Different species interact in many ways (e.g. predation, commensalism) toward one another. Many of these interactions result in energy and nutrients being transferred to one species from another (e.g. a predator eats a prey species). These energy/nutrient interactions can be represented in food webs . Organisms are either producers (autotrophs) or consumers (heterotrophs – such as herbivores, carnivores, & decomposers) based on how they obtain energy and nutrients. Figure 1. A food web In today’s lab, we will examine a common predator, the owl. Owls are carnivores that feed primarily on rodents (mice, rats, voles, ect.). Owls do not have teeth, so they can't chew their food. Therefore, they use their sharp beaks to rip their prey apart and then
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