Life at Crater Lake National Park

The Food Chain: every living thing is essential to life on Earth.

The ecosystem is built around the food chain. The food chain demonstrates the relationship of all the different life forms. The basic idea of the food chain is that the plants feed the herbivores, and the herbivores feed the carnivores. Animals that do not get eaten by anything else will eventually die and decay. The death and decay process puts nutrients back into the soil, and the plants grow and make their own food from these nutrients. The diversity of the plants and animals in the community helps to maintain the ecosystem.

All living things serve a purpose in life, whether directly or indirectly. For example, mosquitoes might not be our best friends but they are food for bats. If all the mosquitoes died, then the bats might not have enough food and would starve to death. And if the bats become extinct, then the animal which feeds on bats would go through the same process. Or vice versa: We might think that bats are useless to us, but if bats were to become extinct, then the mosquitoes would become overpopulated. This destruction of natural process will go on and on, until one day, all the living things on this world might become extinct, including the human species.

Crater Lake color bar.

Following are some representations of plants and wildlife at the park. For more information, please see the following pages from the National Park Service: footer image. and footer image.

footer image.Fish are non-native to the lake; the lake had no fish to start with. Fish were introduced to Crater Lake by humans from 1888 to 1941. There are two type of fish currently living in the lake.

  • Rainbow trout
  • Kokanee salmon

footer image.Wildflowers bloom late and disappear early because of the long winter and short spring seasons at Crater Lake.

  • Indian paintbrush
  • Pasque flower
  • Penstaman
  • Lupine
  • Monkey flower
  • Shooting star

footer image.Animals are seldom seen but are quite diverse in the Crater Lake ecosystem. All animals are wild; feeding them is prohibited because it will cause animals to lose their independence.

  • Bear
  • Pine marten
  • Golden mantle ground squirrel
  • Deer

footer image.Trees and Shrubs strive to survive through the harsh winters of Crater Lake.

  • Mountain Hemlock
  • Lodgepole Pine
  • Whitebark Pine
  • Shasta Red Fir
  • Sugar Pine
  • Ponderosa Pine

footer image.Birds visit Crater Lake from surrounding areas and use virtually every habitat type in the park.

  • Clark's nutcraker
  • Red-tailed hawk
  • Mountain bluebird
  • Jay
  • Spotted owl
  • Bald eagle