The Everglades: A Food Web Diagram Essay

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The Everglades: A Food Web Diagram
Dr. Doreen Sterling
The Everglades: A Food Web Diagram
The Everglades is a two million acre wetland ecosystem. The Everglades reaches from central Florida, near Orlando, all the way south to Florida Bay (National Wildlife Federation, 1996-2013). During the wet season, Lake Okeechobee overflows, releasing water into a slow moving, shallow river. The river is mostly saw-grass marsh. The Everglades is an ecosystem that hosts a large diversity of habitats connected by wetlands and water bodies. Human actions have been altering the Everglades landscape through water diversions and flood control projects, and agricultural and urban development. How this affects the
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The brown pelican is also a consumer in the Everglades habitat that subsists on tadpoles, small fish, pink shrimp, and insects. Crocodiles and alligators will consume brown pelicans. Pink shrimp consume algae and plankton available in the salt-water marsh and wetlands. Shrimp feed turtles, alligators, brown pelicans, snakes, and Atlantic Sturgeon.
On the top of the Everglades' food chain are both the crocodile and alligator. Both species are part of the same family, crocodilian. A major organ that is involved in the evolution of the changing habitat of the crocodilian is the heart. The heart of the crocodilian is the most advanced heart of all vertebrates. The heart has four chambers, much like humans, that are utilized in a complimentary way to circulate well-oxygenated blood to the heart and rest of its body. This special feature facilitates conservation of high oxygen supply for underwater breathing during hunt of its prey (Grigg & Grans, 1993).
Although not considered a predator, the marsh rabbit is important to the Everglades’ ecosystem food chain. The rabbit’s heart is smaller in comparison to other species. A smaller rabbit’s heart rate is faster than rabbits that are larger in size (Wissman, 2006). Even more interesting is how rabbits are more capable of digesting food in their stomach in what otherwise other animals, like dogs and cats, cannot digest. This

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