A Normal Day at Lucy Lake
Ponds, meadows, and forests (or other environments where creatures
live, called ecosystems) support a variety of plants and animals.
For the whole community to survive, everything eats something,
and something eats it! The creature doing the eating is known
as the "predator." The things the predator eats are
known as "prey." For example, insects eat plants;
fish eat insects; and birds eat fish. Some animals have many
different sources of food, while others are more limited in
what they eat. This feeding relationship among different plants
and animals is known as a "food web."
When something affects one animal or plant, that problem can
upset the entire ecosystem. For example, if phytoplankton (small
plants and animals) in a lake die from pollution, insects
that rely on it for food
now have less food to eat, and they begin to die as a result.
These insects are a source of food for many other animals,
such as fish, birds, frogs, and salamanders. As the insects
die, less food is now available for these animals, so they
might start to die too.
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