Parasite host relationship in freshwater ecosystem facts

Mutualism | Ecology | Uzinggo

Freshwater Food Web. Biotic is all the living things that affect living things in a ecosystem. I will be able to describe producer/consumer, predator/prey, and parasite/host relationships as they occur in food webs within marine. freshwater wetlands affect individual host behavior, food web structure, and the context of the parasite-host relationship (e.g. whether host. Animals rely on each other, too. Some have lifelong relationships with other organisms, called symbiotic relationships. There are three Parasitism: One organism (the parasite) gains, while the other (the host) suffers. The deer tick is a .

While there are a lot of fancy words related to the sciences, one of the great things is that many of them are based on Latin or Greek roots. They then use the energy and materials in that food to grow, reproduce and carry out all of their life activities. All animals, all fungi, and some kinds of bacteria are heterotrophs and consumers. Some consumers are predators; they hunt, catch, kill, and eat other animals, the prey.

Interspecies relationship dynamics

The prey animal tries to avoid being eaten by hiding, fleeing, or defending itself using various adaptations and strategies. These could be the camouflage of an octopus or a fawn, the fast speed of a jackrabbit or impala, or the sting of a bee or spines of a sea urchin. If the prey is not successful, it becomes a meal and energy source for the predator. If the prey is successful and eludes its predator, the predator must expend precious energy to continue the hunt elsewhere.

Predators can also be prey, depending on what part of the food chain you are looking at. For example, a trout acts as a predator when it eats insects, but it is prey when it is eaten by a bear. It all depends on the specific details of the interaction. Ecologists use other specific names that describe what type of food a consumer eats: Omnivores eat both animals and plants. Once again, knowing the Latin root helps a lot: For example, an insectivore is a carnivore that eats insects, and a frugivore is an herbivore that eats fruit.

This may seem like a lot of terminology, but it helps scientists communicate and immediately understand a lot about a particular type of organism by using the precise terms. Not all organisms need to eat others for food and energy.

Some organisms have the amazing ability to make produce their own energy-rich food molecules from sunlight and simple chemicals. Organisms that make their own food by using sunlight or chemical energy to convert simple inorganic molecules into complex, energy-rich organic molecules like glucose are called producers or autotrophs. Some producers are chemosynthesizers using chemicals to make food rather than photosynthesizers; instead of using sunlight as the source of energy to make energy-rich molecules, these bacteria and their relatives use simple chemicals as their source of energy.

Chemosynthesizers live in places with no sunlight, such as along oceanic vents at great depths on the ocean floor. No matter how long you or a giraffe stands out in the sun, you will never be able to make food by just soaking up the sunshine; you will never be able to photosynthesize.

Producers use the food that they make and the chemical energy it contains to meet their own needs for building-block molecules and energy so that they can do things such as grow, move, and reproduce. All other life depends on the energy-rich food molecules made by producers — either directly by eating producers, or indirectly by eating organisms that have eaten producers.

Not surprisingly, ecologists also have terms that describe where in the food chain a particular consumer operates. A primary consumer eats producers e. And it can go even further: A single individual animal can act as a different type of consumer depending on what it is eating. When a bear eats berries, for example, it is being a primary consumer, but when it eats a fish, it might be a secondary or a tertiary consumer, depending on what the fish ate!

All organisms play a part in the web of life and every living thing will die at some point. This is where scavengers, detritivores which eat detritus or parts of dead thingsand decomposers come in. They all play a critical role that often goes unnoticed when observing the workings of an ecosystem.

They break down carcasses, body parts and waste products, returning to the ecosystem the nutrients and minerals stored in them. Aquatic crustaceans are often utilized as primary hosts, providing the parasites with a gateway into the smallmouth due to the fact that crayfish are such a routine prey source. After attachment, it absorbs some of the nutrients being digested by the fish across its body wall. A photograph of the fish tapeworm Diphyllobothrium latum is shown above.

Most flukes Trematodes are obligate parasites of mollusks, primarily gastropods and bivalves, through which they tend to reproduce asexually and in large numbers; unfortunately for the bass, crayfish and other crustaceans may be used as hosts as well. After eating the infected crayfish, smallmouth bass and other vertebrates are utilized as secondary hosts, providing an environment that is suitable for the flukes to reproduce sexually.

They are usually found encysted within the intestinal walls, mesentery, or pyloric caeca. While most crustaceans serve as intermediate hosts between parasites and bass, a few of them actually exhibit parasitic behavior themselves.

For example, members of the copepod genus Ergasilus shown above and to the right pierce attach themselves to the highly vascularized gill tissue and feed on the underlying blood and bodily fluids. After eggs are deposited in the nest and fertilized, they become embryos; when the young smallmouth hatch, they congregate in schools and continue to eat, grow, and develop in shallow rearing areas that are close to the original nest.

He does not take this responsibility lightly, for it is vitally important to ensure the successful sustainment of his species; therefore, he will very aggressively defend his young against potential threats. Smallmouth eggs and embryos are high in protein content; because of this, they are a very tempting meal for almost any heterotrophic, opportunistic species that feeds.


Potential raiders of immature smallmouth include many small fish bluegillsyellow perchwhite perch, round gobiesother larger fish largemouth bassNorthern Pikemuskellungebirds herons, kingfishers, loonsfrogseels, and snakes. As an example, packs of hungry bluegills have been known to employ some interesting tactics in pulling off heists of smallmouth eggs and embryos.

One or two bluegills may try to distract the guardian smallmouth, while a few more sneak around the other side of the nest and briefly indulge themselves. Round gobies Neogobius melanostomusan invasive fish species introduced to the Great Lakes via ballast water, are among several organisms that eat embryonic and infant smallmouth when the opportunity presents itself.

This can have a detrimental effect on indigenous smallmouth bass populations, which already suffer enough loss from indigenous nest raiders, and create imbalance in aquatic ecosystems. The following photograph shows round gobies caught in the act of nest sabotage: Having already covered a wide variety of interactions between smallmouth bass and other organisms, this page would be drastically incomplete without addressing the reality of human interference, particularly from fishing during the spawning season.

The detriment caused by human anglers which catch and remove male bass from their spawning beds, either temporarily or permanently, is undeniable and well-documented. While you are reeling and unhooking Mr. Bass, it may only take nest raiders a matter of minutes to consume all of the embryos present, which can cause a substantial reduction in the smallmouth populations and hinder the success of future generations.

The same concept applies to the removal of a female smallmouth that has yet to lay her eggs; if she is caught and removed prior to spawning, an entire generation of smallmouth bass is never allowed a chance to live.

For these reasons, bass angling is strongly discouraged during the spawning period, by bass enthusiasts and naturalists alike, for purposes of ensuring the success and survival of this species long into the future. Many people enjoy keeping the occasional smallmouth bass to cook and eat for food. Others that catch trophy-sized specimens may desire to bring them home and have wall mounts done as well. For the last ten years or so, I have operated exclusively by the catch, photo, and release principle at all times of the year.

The only exception I have made came with the smallmouth bass that I caught and removed from the Mississippi River this spring, for purposes of dissection and anatomical examination. In fact, I actually did release it the first time it was caught, only to hook it again.