Wow! Check out the WhyReef Food Web for the entire WhyReef ecosystem. Crazy, huh? Like you, reef species don't just eat one thing, so
following the flow of energy can get complicated.
There are two very important organisms that you see here that aren't visible in the North or South Reefs: phytoplankton and zooplankton.
Phytoplankton are microscopic plants that live in the ocean. Zooplankton are microscopic animals that live in the ocean. They are both
very important to life in the sea as many animals depend on them for food!
Producers make their own food. WhyReef's most common producers are plants, which make their food using sunlight.
Herbivores only eat plants (producers).
Lower Omnivores eat plants (producers) and smaller animals.
Upper Omnivores eat plants (producers) and bigger animals.
Lower Carnivores only eat other animals. WhyReef's lower carnivores usually eat smaller animals.
Upper Carnivores only eat other animals. WhyReef's upper carnivores are likely to eat bigger animals.
Corals are the most bizarre creatures on WhyReef! They are so weird, they actually get
their own trophic level. Here's why: They are animals (not plants!), and they are carnivores.
But they have tiny plants in their cells (which they don't eat -- they are NOT herbivores)
that make food for them (which they do eat). Corals are crazy, right?