Web amongst the dead
Dead organic material is of great importance
for the food webs along rocky shorelines. This material is called detritus
and is composed of whole or fragments of dead organisms, faeces and other
waste products, egg shells, exoskeleton that certain animals have sloughed,
etc. In detritus material there are many nutrients
that are important for algae and other primary producers. Primary
producers are those organisms that build organic material from inorganic
substances like carbon dioxide, water and nutritive salts (e.g. nitrates
and phosphates). If these nutritive salts were not released from the detritus,
salt would eventuelly dissappear from the water and it would be impossible
for the primary producers to build new organic material. With the absence
of these primary producers, there would no food for the animals to eat.
Therefore, the breaking down of detritus is of great importance, and this
on its own creates an environment where the different organisms interact
in a food web. This web contains bacteria, fungi and other micro-organisms,
aswell as larger animals like shelfish, worms and crustaceans.
|Large quantities of seaweed
that have been torn lose and other detritus have fastened in this
bottom crevice. When the remnants of dead animals and algae have
been broken down by micro-organisms and oxygen resources became
depleted. In the zones of low and high oxygen content, a
white mat of bacteria finds a congenial environment.
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