Food Web Diagram
November 16, 2012
As Walt Whitman once said, “I bequeath myself to the dirt, to grow from the grass I love; If
you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles”. He was referring to the importance of
ecosystems and how they control and predict all living organisms on planet earth. One such
ecosystem is the Florida Everglades, which covers most of central and southern Florida. The Florida
Everglades is host to a diverse ecosystem of tropical and subtropical plants, reptiles, mammals, and
aquatic species as well(Everglades, 2012).
The various species that live within this ecosystem depend on each other for survival and
compromise the balance of the Everglades(The Concept of the Ecosystem, 2008). The Everglades
have a semitropical climate with mostly dry winters, moist and humid summers, and are vulnerable
to hurricanes during the early fall months(Everglades, 2012).
There is a wide variety of plants in this two million acre wetland, which includes saw grass,
cypress, bladder wort, and mangrove. Some other plants and tress serve as the primary energy source
for some consumers and provide them with a suitable shelter(The Concept of the Ecosystem, 2008).
Numerous species of mammals also make their home within the Everglades, including those
that are native, threatened, and almost endangered. Over 300 different bird species dwell within the
Everglades, such as the Blue Heron, and the Wood Stork(Different Types of Ecosystems, 2012).
Land mammals that roam the Everglades include such beasts as the panther, crocodile, and the
Burmese python. The Florida panther is considered to be the most endangered animal within the
Everglades with only about 75 still remaining today(Everglades, 2012).
The Florida Everglades is composed of three different organisms, a producer, a consumer, and
a decomposer. The producer is a living organism, which works by providing food for other
organisms in an ecosystem food chain. Green plants that create energy through photosynthesis,
provide food for organisms that depend on that plant(Everglades, 2012).
The Everglades fresh water environment is a vast wetland filled with green marshes that separate
little tree filled islands. The primary producer of these wetlands is the peripython assemblage, which
provides food and shelter for a wide variety of aquatic life, such as omnivores and grazers.
Consumers are living organisms that feed of other living organisms within the same ecosystem.
Herbivores that feed of green plants are called the primary consumers, whereas organisms that feed
off other carnivores are called tertiary consumers(Different Types of Ecosystems, 2012). Some prime
example of an Everglade consumer would be the Florida Panther, American Alligator, and the Green
A decomposer is an organism that is responsible for the physical and chemical breakdown of
all dead organisms(The Concept of the Ecosystem, 2008). Blue-green algae and fungi assist in the
process of decay.
As a consumer, the American Alligator has four chambers that enable the heart to deliver
blood to all its major organs(Everglades, 2012). The American Alligator has become well adapted to
the Everglades because they strive in fresh water environments like marshes, wetlands, and swamps.
The American Alligator is an important piece of the Everglades food chain. The American
Alligator relies on the spotted Gar, which is a long slender fish that has dark gray spots and very
sharp teeth. With the increased poaching of the American Alligator, the population of the spotted Gar
increases, decreasing the population of other fish for other consumers.
The Florida Everglades has seen an incline in local wildlife because these wetland provide the...