This week in class, I learned that trophic levels are so much more important than people think. Each level in a trophic structure affects those above and below it. In this essay, I am going to use an example of a five-level trophic system to show how each level impacts the others.
For this example, imagine there are five trophic levels (from bottom to top): plants, crickets, mice, snakes, and hawks. Let’s say that there is a sudden increase of hawks in the area. What would that do to the other levels?
An increase of hawks means a decrease of snakes since there are more predators feeding on them. A decrease of snakes will lead to an increase of mice since there are less predators feeding on them. An increase of mice leads to a decrease of crickets, which causes an increase of plants.
If this continues, the snakes will eventually go extinct in the area. Extinction of snakes means the mice population will continue to grow and feed on the crickets, eventually causing an extinction of crickets as well. The plants will start double in production, and probably would cause the area to become overgrown since there are no more crickets to eat them. Now the hawks could either stay and feed on the mice, or migrate to a more snake populated area.
As you can see, in a trophic structure, every animal and plant rely on each other, especially their predators. A change in one level will cause changes in other levels.
Thanks for reading!