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Lecture 10

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University of Toronto St. George
Spencer Barret

Lecture 10: Trophic relationships in communities Detritivores eat dead organic matter. The world is green because carnivores keep herbivore pop down so they don’t limit plant growth. Trophic cascades, one level affecting the next and so on. Indirect effects can be as strong as direct effects. Monarch butterfly larva = specialist at eating milkweed. Cuts leaf midrib to reduce sap pressure before eating. They don’t detoxify the poison, they put it in their cuticle, making themselves poisonous. Hard for herbivores to digest plants. Eating animals is easy to digest since it’s animal material like you. Graminoids (grasses, sedges) have meristem below the plant so can still grow right back even when eaten e.g. lawn mowing. Also are defended by mechanical defense (silica in them since it’s abrasive/like eating sandpaper). Forbs = not grasses. They’re broad-leafed and have chemical defenses using alkaloids/poisons. Cattle = ruminants = highly developed mammals to break down leaf material. Cow eats brings back to mouth, grind and swallow again. Horses not the same, grind in mouth and lets microbial digestion in cecum (appendix in humans). Break/chew food for high SA for digestive enzymes. Veratrum (corn lily) makes cyclopami
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