Trophic LevelsPond PowerPre-Field Trip Lesson
Below are examples of the trophic levels in one particular food chain:
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Grass produces its own food through photosynthesis. It is aprimary producer at the bottom of the food chain. Primary producers are the 1st trophic level.
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Grasshoppers are herbivores that eat grass. Therefore, they are one trophic level higher than grass. They are considered primary consumers. Primary consumers are the 2nd trophic level.
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Toads eat grasshoppers. Therefore, they are one trophic level higher than grasshoppers. They are considered secondary consumers. Secondary consumers are the 3rd trophic level.
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Hawks are carnivores that eat toads. Therefore they are one trophic level higher than toads. They are considered tertiary consumers. Tertiary consumers are the 4th trophic level. Tertiary consumers tend to be at the top of the food chain. They have few, if any, predators.
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Bacteria, fungi and other organisms feed off of dead matter. These organisms are known as decomposers.

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They convert the dead matter back into nutrients. Decomposers are at both the beginning and end of the food chain. Therefore, decomposers are not assigned a trophic level.
Photograph credits:

Miller, B. (Photographer). Closeup of dark green blades of grass. . Retrieved fromhttp://www.freestockphotos.biz/stockphoto/1581

Siers, W. (Photographer). Grasshopper family. . Retrieved fromhttp://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Insects_Spiders_and__g70-Grasshopper_Family_p3522.html

FreeDigitalPhotos.net. (Photographer). Common Toad. . Retrieved from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Reptiles_And_Amphibi_g87-Common_Toad_p609.html

Noffsinger, L. (Photographer). Red Tailed Hawk. . Retrieved from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Birds_g52-Red_Tailed_Hawk_p7170.html

jscreationzs. (Photographer).

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Bacteria Cell. . Retrieved fromhttp://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Diseases_and_Other_M_g287-Bacteria_Cell_p15870.html