Planet Twylo Chapter Ten: Ecology of Twylo: First Report
Our survey team submitted two reports on the ecology of Twylo. Both of them are available under this heading.
The Twylo ecology is a web of interconnecting relationships of producing, consuming and decomposing. Every plant and animal on Twylo must have energy to live. That energy is derived from either the sun or from other plants and animals. Every plant and animal is a member of a dynamic community known as an ecosystem. This ecosystem is a very complex web of many species where each species tries to live. Energy is the basic essential of all ecosystem on Twylo. Green plants make their own foods by the process of photosynthesis. They get the light from the sun and combine this with carbon dioxide and water to produce sugar. Therefore, plants are at the bottom of energy chain. Unlike the plants, animals can not synthesize their own energy from the sun. They must eat plants or other animals who live on plants. They can live only at the expense of other living organisms. Organisms such as insects and rodents live on the dead bodies of plant and animals, causing their decay. On Twylo there are many ecosystems. Herein describes in simplicity two of the ecosystems on Twylo; one in northern latitudes and the other near the equator.
In the food web in Twylo's northern latitudes plants are the foundation of the food chain. Plants are able to fix solar energy and use it to synthesize complex food materials from the simple ingredients of carbon dioxide and water. The energies locked into plants are used by the herbivores. These animals are preyed on by carnivores. In the chain of events in the ecosystem, the zibit and zycamore create the fixed energy for the herbivores(Kwaina). The kwaina is a plant eating animal that captures the energy from plants and gives up that energy to the meat eating animals, the kefra. In this ecosystem, the Kefra are on the high end of the food chain. The system has also omnivores(Silma). Silma live off of plants and animals. They eat the plant zibit, and they eat the kwaina.
The grasslands and savannas near the equator have many ecosystems. They all share common characteristics, such as a large variety of herbivorous animals. Of course, this means that the savannas support many predatory animals such as the polra. At the bottom of the food chain is the zinfy. The zinfy is eaten by the rimans and the nefters. The rimans and the nefters in turn are eaten by the polra. The polra eat hirpod, whose habitat is the lakes and the rivers of the savanna.
Fig. 2 Food chain near the equator
Fig. 3 Animal and Plant communities in the northern latitudes
Organisms live together in a ecosystem. Some ecosystems are
very small, others are very large. The ecosystem in the northern
latitudes is small in comparison to that near the equator. The
climate in the north limits the size of the plant and animal population.
Each species in the north is distributed according to its own
biological requirements. Some animals and plants are sometimes
associated with each other: to what degree depends on their need
for food and how food can be acquired. Animals that are slow and
with limited defenses are food for others who can overcome these
Fig. 4 Animal and plant communities near the equator
The ecosystems on Twylo are cross linkages of complex food webs. To exist, these systems must be in balance where, in a strange way, the prey and the predators learn to coexist in these worlds. The energy flow within each food chain is remarkably constant and nearly always conforms to the "ten percent rule." According to this rule ten percent of energy is transferred at every link in the chain. Thus the kwaina obtains ten percent of the energy in the plants it eats, and the kefra gets ten percent of the calories from the kwaina. The kwaina in the northern latitudes and the kefra are at the end of the food chains, and yield too few calories to make preying on them worthwhile.