A Food Chain in the Temperate Rain
biome has seasonal variations. Although temperatures remain mild,
animals and plants respond to the seasons in their growth and
reproductive patterns. Spring brings new life as animals are
born and eggs hatch. Summer is a season of growth. Fall brings
maturation and preparation for winter. Winter is a season
of rest and endurance.
Primary Producers of this forest are the plants
that use their chlorophyll to create food for their own growth
as well for the animals. The Ground Layer of this forest is covered
with green mosses and small plants. Mushrooms, grasses, and wild
flowers grow among the mosses, covering the ground with a thick,
moist, green carpet. Dead leaves, logs, needles, and twigs, provide
food for the detritivores, who digest the dead materials and
make them available for recycling.
In this forest the soil
is rich in nutrients. The Understory Layer is made up of shrubs
and small trees. Many of the shrubs are deciduous and shed their
leaves in the fall. Many of them, such as huckleberries and blackberries,
also have small, sweet fruits and berries.
The canopy layer of this forest
is made up of magnificient coniferous trees. They produce edible
seeds and provide a thick "roof" over the smaller trees.
Their branches and trunks support blankets of moss.
The vegetation is so thick that sometimes
when snow falls it is caught by leaves and twigs so that it does
not fall down to the ground.
The Primary Consumers
are mostly small animals. The forest provides food, shelter in
the moss, mild temperatures and humidity, which encourages the
growth of many kinds of insects. It is a paradise for mosquitoes!
As well as insects, there are small mammals: voles (tiny mammals
like mice), chipmunks, squirrels, and seed eating birds. These
eat seeds, grasses, and even mushrooms. Larger animals, such
as deer and elk, also find food in this biome.
An interesting primary consumer
is the salmon. These fishes hatch from eggs in the cold mountain
streams and eat tiny water organisms and insects that fall into
the water. The young fish swim down the river to the ocean, where
they grow to maturity. When they are fully grown, the large fishes
return from the ocean and swim upstream to lay their eggs. Then
the parents die, and their bodies provide food for all the meat
eaters in the area.
are also at home on the forest floor. Tiny shrews
devour the insects, and frogs catch insects as they fly by. There
are many insect-eating birds as well, some of which, like the
woodpecker, are adapted to finding insects in the trees. Weasels
eat small animals, and racoons eat animals, fishes, frogs, and
fruit. Owls eat voles and chipmunks. Insects live as parasites
on other animals.
Large secondary consumers, such
as wolves, bears, and cougars, are the only ones who can bring
down deer or elk. However, once they have made a kill, smaller
carnivores may move in to get a share. The larger carnivores
may also eat smaller ones sometimes.
There are other animals in this
food web, such as foxes, beavers, black birds, and porcupines.
Because the plants do so well, animals flourish too.
Trillium photo is from Art
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