Relationship between ecology and food

Ecological interactions (article) | Ecology | Khan Academy

relationship between ecology and food

In book: Encyclopaedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics, Publisher: The connection between human ecology and the great theme of food (and. Organisms of different species can interact in many ways. They can compete, or they can be symbionts—longterm partners with a close association. Or, of. The components of the food chain are those involved in the process of food The concept of nutrition ecology has ancient roots, and came out of the need to . Wunder S., Pacheco P. Hamburger connection Fuels Amazon Destruction, Center.

The primary consumers are mollusks, or snails.

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The secondary consumers are small fish called slimy sculpin. The tertiary and apex consumer is Chinook salmon. For instance, humans are omnivores that can eat both plants and animals. Decomposers One other group of consumers deserves mention, although it does not always appear in drawings of food chains.

This group consists of decomposers, organisms that break down dead organic material and wastes. Decomposers are sometimes considered their own trophic level.

As a group, they eat dead matter and waste products that come from organisms at various other trophic levels; for instance, they would happily consume decaying plant matter, the body of a half-eaten squirrel, or the remains of a deceased eagle. In a sense, the decomposer level runs parallel to the standard hierarchy of primary, secondary, and tertiary consumers.

relationship between ecology and food

Fungi and bacteria are the key decomposers in many ecosystems; they use the chemical energy in dead matter and wastes to fuel their metabolic processes. Other decomposers are detritivores—detritus eaters or debris eaters. These are usually multicellular animals such as earthworms, crabs, slugs, or vultures. They not only feed on dead organic matter but often fragment it as well, making it more available for bacterial or fungal decomposers.

When they break down dead material and wastes, they release nutrients that can be recycled and used as building blocks by primary producers.

Food webs Food chains give us a clear-cut picture of who eats whom. However, some problems come up when we try and use them to describe whole ecological communities.

Food chains & food webs (article) | Ecology | Khan Academy

For instance, an organism can sometimes eat multiple types of prey or be eaten by multiple predators, including ones at different trophic levels. This is what happens when you eat a hamburger patty!

The cow is a primary consumer, and the lettuce leaf on the patty is a primary producer. To represent these relationships more accurately, we can use a food web, a graph that shows all the trophic—eating-related—interactions between various species in an ecosystem. The diagram below shows an example of a food web from Lake Ontario.

Primary producers are marked in green, primary consumers in orange, secondary consumers in blue, and tertiary consumers in purple. The bottom level of the illustration shows primary producers, which include diatoms, green algae, blue-green algae, flagellates, and rotifers. The next level includes the primary consumers that eat primary producers.

Bibliography Nutrition ecology is an inter-disciplinary science, which examines all components of the food chain and evaluates their effects from four main points of view: The components of the food chain are those involved in the process of food production and consumption. This means the whole cycle is followed "from the cradle to the grave", including the production, harvesting, conservation, storage, transport, processing, packaging, sales, distribution, preparation, making up and consumption of food and the disposal of the waste materials produced during the various phases.

The concept of nutrition ecology has ancient roots, and came out of the need to evaluate the consequences of animal breeding, and of agriculture on a vast scale. But it was only at the end of the twentieth century that the concept of nutrition ecology was formalised. It should not however be confused with econutrition, which limits itself to studying the interactions between nutrition and the environment, or with Ecology of Nutrition, restricted to the study of the eating habits of indigenous populations.

Sustainability The four dimensions of nutrition ecology listed above form the basis for evaluating the sustainability of a way of eating. The term sustainability was coined in the seventeenth century by German forestry experts to indicate the quantity of trees which could be felled in a sustainable manner, i.

The meaning was then extended to indicate a type of development which satisfies current needs without diminishing the possibilities for future generations to satisfy the same needs. Environmentalism and Scientific Ecology Some argue that the conservation movement arose through scientific application of ecological concepts so as to rationally plan economic development, thus replacing the public's or business's inefficient, shortsighted use of natural resources.

relationship between ecology and food

Others believe that conservation occurred in reaction to modern industrialization's political grip over nature and people. Nevertheless, the environment has been known through an emotional, spiritual relationship of people who identify with their natural surroundings.

relationship between ecology and food

Academic ecology initially had the premise that, by understanding ecological relationships, one could better control the parts of the process. Many public environmental movements identified with earlier religious and political philosophies oriented to the beauty and balance in nature, whereby taking too much from the system sends it into imbalance and ecological disaster.

Environmentalism has various forms that consequently advocate different philosophies and strategies for maintaining a balance among humans and the natural environment. Radical environmentalism includes deep ecology, social ecology, and ecofeminism. Radical environmentalism suggests eliminating the current political economic system to reach a more environmentally sound existence, whereas "surface" ecology advocates tinkering within the current system to direct it toward more sustainable or lower-impact options.

Contrasts in environmental approaches have long existed, as reflected in John Muir 's transcendental philosophy and Sierra Club in the early s, versus Chief U. Forester Gifford Pinchot 's scientific resource management of agriculture, forestry, livestock, and mining lands during Theodore Roosevelt 's administration — Other environmentalists would emulate Aldo Leopoldwho in the s departed from scientific resource management to more spiritual approaches.

Many scientific ecologists also gain insight from philosophical teachings and select career objectives that will serve the needs of humans and nature. Sustainable Agriculture and Globalization The counterculture of the s and s heightened interest in "health food" and food co-ops.

This, and returning to organic farmingbioregional marketing, and sustainably "living off the grid" were reactions to capitalist globalization, vertical integration, and concentration in the food industry.

relationship between ecology and food

Vertical integration involves ownership of the entire process of food production, processing, shipping, and marketing by a corporation or set of related corporations. The corporation may subcontract the riskier lower-profit aspects of the process to a separate small business that coordinates the farmers to meet the corporation's demand for specific qualities and timing of crop or livestock production.

relationship between ecology and food

Concentration involves controlling entire food types for example, pork, chicken, or flour by only a few corporations. Contrastingly, community-supported agriculture and local farmers' markets feature direct marketing between the farmer and consumer.

Introduction to Feeding Relationships

Food and Drug Administration FDA began as the "Division of Chemistry," created in as an agency of the Department of Agriculture and charged with the responsibility of regulating toxic food additivespreservatives, quack drugs, and insecticides.

However, the FDA so named in has become associated with industrial pharmaceutical business, authoritative curative medicine, and health-insurance interests by those preferring self-directed disease prevention with "health" foods and herbal and vitamin supplements. Vegetarian and organic products are often selected for reasons philosophical to protect animals or environmental to eat chemical-free or low on the food chain. Europeans react strongly against genetically modified food because of possible harm to others in the food chainand against large-scale animal-husbandry practices that increase infectious disease, such as animal foot-and-mouth disease or "mad cow" disease—also feared for suspected neurological problems in humans.

Yet the health-food market is subsumed by the corporate vitamin and supplement industry; the industrialization and mass marketing of "organic," "natural," or "health" food a world market worth more than twenty-two billion dollars annually ; more chain stores; and the U.


Department of Agriculture's national organic standards of December Previous standards varied among regional organic farming associations, some being so strict that industrial organic farming would be prohibitive. Interestingly, industrial and alternative agriculture claim overlapping goals, although careful examination reveals very different ideals behind those goals.

Industrial corporations see a sustainable food system as ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially acceptable. When asked to identify their visions of a food system, supporters of alternative agriculture use such terms as ecologically sustainable, knowledgeable and communicative, proximate, economically sustaining, participatory, just and ethical, sustainably regulated, sacred, healthful, diverse, culturally nourishing, seasonal and temporal, economically value-oriented, relational.

Conventional, industrial agriculture—centralized, dependent, competitive, specialized, and exploitative—attempts to dominate nature and the enterprise. Alternative agriculture is decentralized, independent, community-oriented, and restrained, with an emphasis on diversity and harmony with nature. The former maintains company profits; the latter attempts to maintain broader sociocultural and biological integrity of the local community and ecosystem.

See also Additives ; Environment ; Food Politics: The Philosophy of Social Ecology. Black Rose Books,