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An ecosystem occurs when living animals, plants, and microbes form a community which includes producers and consumers. Producers are those organisms that make their own food using sunlight, nutrients
and water. Producers are autotrophs or organisms that utilize the sunlight and chlorophyll within the plant to produce energy for the plant to grow. Heterotrophs are those organisms on the food pyramid that eat producers. For example, coral are consumers. In some cases they depend on algae that grow within the coral for food in what is termed symbiotic relationships. Coral are also debris feeders and rely upon whatever "falls" into their tentacles to be put into their stomachs. The eating habits of coral are complicated. The food web concept is an extension of the food chain. The food chain simply traces who eats whom within an ecosystem. Organisms acquire energy in two different ways. List the two ways and describe how the energy is produced.
All organisms require energy. All plants are producers, and they make food (energy) through photosynthesis. In photosynthesis, a plant makes its own food by absorbing carbon dioxide and water and using energy from sunlight. [ Animals, both herbivores and carnivores get their food (energy) from dead plants and animals as well as from animal wastes. Credit:chacha ]
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