The Role Of The Microbial Food Web
Much of the food web's energy is transferred to the often overlooked microbial, or decomposer, trophic level. Decomposers use excreted wastes and other dead biomass as a food source. Unlike the main, grazing food web, organisms of the microbial trophic level are extremely efficient feeders. Various species can rework the same food particle, extracting more of the stored energy each time. Some waste products of the microbial trophic level re-enter the grazing part of the food web and are used as growth materials for primary producers. This occurs, for example, when earthworms are eaten by birds.
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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Electrophoresis (cataphoresis) to EphemeralEnergy Transfer - History Of Energy Transfer Research, The Laws Of Thermodynamics And Energy Transfer In Food Webs, Components Of The Food Web