The Temperate Deciduous Forest Food Web

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  • 0:01 Introduction to Food Webs
  • 0:33 Definition of a Food Web
  • 1:18 Temperate Deciduous Forest
  • 1:45 Temperate Deciduous…
  • 3:13 Threats to Deciduous Forests
  • 3:47 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Amanda Robb

Amanda holds a Masters in Science from Tufts Medical School in Cellular and Molecular Physiology. She has taught high school Biology and Physics for 8 years.

This lesson is on the food web of the temperate deciduous forest. In this lesson, we'll go over what a food web is and how it applies to the deciduous forest. Before we look at a specific food web, we'll also review what a temperature deciduous food web is and where it is located.

Introduction to Food Webs

If you live in a temperate climate, chances are you've gone camping. If you haven't, you might want to try it! Sleeping under the stars with large, leafy trees surrounding you is tranquility at its finest.

Small rodents and bugs scurry about at night outside your tent, but that's nature, right? During the day, you might see rabbits, foxes, squirrels and even a bear! This luscious environment is called the temperate deciduous forest. To understand more about these plants and animals, we need to know the parts of a food web.

Definition of a Food Web

A food web is a diagram showing the transfer of energy between species. Since energy is transferred as food, a food web shows what eats what in an ecosystem. Food webs are organized into layers called trophic levels.

The bottom trophic level is producers. Producers are organisms that make their own food. Usually they are green plants, but bacteria, microscopic organisms, and algae can also be producers. Primary consumers eat producers, making them vegetarians, or herbivores. Secondary consumers are carnivores, eating the primary consumers. Tertiary consumers are top predators and eat both primary and secondary consumers, keeping the ecosystem in balance.

A Temperate Deciduous Forest

The temperate deciduous forest is an expanse of forest with four distinct seasons and leafy trees. Temperatures range from below freezing in the winter to an average of 86 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Summers are warm, with cooling temperatures as the forest transitions to fall. Leaves on the trees change color and eventually fall off for a snowy winter. Deciduous forests are located in the Eastern United States, Canada, Europe, parts of Asia, and Japan.

Temperate Deciduous Forest Food Webs

The temperate deciduous forest is rich with wildlife. Large trees dominate the skyline like oaks, maples and beeches. Below these large trees are shorter trees and saplings. Near the forest floor, shrubs, herbs, moss and grass cover the soil. These organisms are all green plants, or - if you recall - the producers.

Primary consumers are plentiful also. Small rodents, like chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits, dot the forest floor. Bugs also make a home in the trees and vegetation. In clearings, deer graze on the grass. There are dozens of species of small birds in this type of forest, such as woodpeckers, cardinals, robins and blue jays, which are secondary consumers, eating various insects. Secondary consumers include mammals, like foxes and raccoons.

Snakes also consume rodents and other reptiles, making them secondary consumers. Turtles prey on small fish in the rivers and lakes of the forest and can actually grow quite large, some nearly to 20 inches in diameter.

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