What is Food Chain Definition and All kinds of Examples | Read Biology

What is a food chain?

Food Chain Definition: The food chain can be defined as; “it is the process by which nutrients are transferred between the different species that make up a biological community. The graphic chain who feeds on who in nature.” food chain examples define food chain Definition

food chain examples
food chain examples

It is composed of links that acquire energy by feeding on the previous species. Within each trophic chain are the following links: Food Chain Definition food chain examples

  • Producers. Also known as autotrophs, they are those species (basically plants) that make their own food through solar energy and simple substances. define food chain
  • First-order consumers. They are those species whose food is based on plants, that is, they are herbivores.
  • Second-order consumers. Also called secondary, they are carnivorous species, that is, they feed on other animals.
  • Decomposers. Those species that are responsible for the remains of the other links become part of the soil. In this link are fungi, worms and certain microorganisms that feed on plant and animal waste.

food chain and web

Aquatic food chain Examples

The aquatic food chain graphs the way in which the species that live in the water feed and acquire energy from other species.

Within this chain, five levels are distinguished:

  • Photoautotrophs Certain unicellular organisms are known as phytoplankton form the basis of the aquatic food chain. They are producers that carry out the process of photosynthesis thanks to sunlight and produce organic compounds in addition to oxygen. Food Chain Definition food chain examples
  • Herbivorous. Those aquatic species that have a plant-based diet. These species can live on the surface of the water (such as jellyfish or mollusks). Turtles or certain species of fish that, at the same time, are the food of other carnivorous aquatic species are also located at this level.
  • Carnivores. Carnivorous species can be of different sizes. Sardines, octopus or squid are some of the species that make up this link. Food Chain Definition food chain examples
  • Decomposers. They are organisms that break down the remains of lifeless organisms.

A concept about Food Web:

food Web examples
food chain examples

food chain and web

More Food Chain Examples:

  • Algae – catfish otocinclus – osprey
  • Algae – mosquito larvae – dragonfly larvae – fish – raccoons
  • Crawfish – catfish – people
  • Insect – fish – people
  • Mayflies – trout – people
  • Phytoplankton – copepod – fish – squid – seal – orca – brittle star
  • Phytoplankton – copepod – anchovy – swordfish – man
  • Phytoplankton – copepod – blue-headed wrasse – striper – sea cucumber Food Chain Definition food chain examples
  • Phytoplankton – zooplankton – bluefish – tuna – humans
  • Phytoplankton – zooplankton – fish – seal – great white shark
  • Phytoplankton – zooplankton – herring – seal
  • Plankton – shrimp – herring – cat
  • Plankton – snail – mackerel – shark
  • Plankton – snail – tuna – dolphin
  • Plankton – filamentous fungus – bass – people
  • Seaweed – periwinkle – earthworm – sandpiper
  • Caterpillars – Turtles – Alligators – Humans
  • Watercress – mayfly larva – stick

Terrestrial food chain Examples

Within the terrestrial food chain, three different roles are identified:

The producers. They are the vegetables that produce energy from sunlight.  food chain examples

The consumers . Within this link three levels are identified:

  • Primary consumers. The species that feed on plants, fruits or vegetables. For example sheep, rabbits, giraffe, cow, etc.
  • Secondary consumers. Carnivorous species that feed on the primary. For example spider, snake, owl, etc.
  • Tertiary consumers. The species that feed on primary and secondary consumers. Also called predators. For example lion, tiger, golden eagle, etc. Definition
  • Omnivores. Consumers of producers and primary consumers (plants and animals). For example squirrel, fox, some turtles, and the human being.
  • Decomposers. The species that feed on the remains of lifeless organisms, which later become part of the soil. For example bacteria, insects, fungi, etc.

Importance of the food chain define food chain

The importance of the food chain is that it reflects how the species that make up the same ecosystem are related, as well as how they feed and transfer energy. Through the food chain, in addition, nature is kept in balane.

Food chain Examples

Here are some examples of food chains:

  • The butterflies feed on nectar and, at the same time, are the food of other insects that are the food of bats. When they die, they are broken down by organs and worms.
  • The hens feed on corn and their eggs are the food of the weasels that, at the same time, are hunted by snakes.
  • Zebras, which feed on herbs and shrubs, are usually hunted by crocodiles that, when they die, are the food of decomposers.
  • The worms, which feed on wood, are the food of certain birds whose eggs are the food of snakes, which are hunted by eagles. define food chain
  • Sardines, which feed on plankton, are the food of species such as cod or herring, which are eaten by dolphins. The latter is the food of killer whales, which when they die are broken down by crustaceans and bacteria.
  • Buffaloes, which eat grass, are the habitat and food of ticks, which are then hunted by birds. At the same time, buffalo are prey to felines like tigers. Food Chain Definition food chain examples
  • Lobsters, which eat leaves, are the food of toads that, in turn, are the food of snakes. Definition

Food Chains Examples on Land

Nectar (flowers) – butterflies – small birds – foxes
Dandelions – snail – frog – bird – fox
Dead plants – centipede – robin – raccoon
Rotten plants – worms – birds – eagles
Fruits – tapir – jaguar define food chain
Fruits – monkeys – monkey-eating eagle
Grass – antelope – tiger – vulture
Grass – cow – man – worm
Grass – grasshopper – frog – snake – eagle
Hazelnut tree – wood mouse – tawny owl
Herring – Salmon – Bear Food Chain Definition food chain examples
Juniper berries – rabbit – fox
Leaves – ants – anteaters
Leaves – caterpillars – birds – snakes
Leaves – Giraffes – Lions – Jackals
Nuts – Squirrels – Hawks
Plants – mice – badgers – lynxes
Plants – deer – mountain lion
rice – mouse – owl
Sun – berries – bear – bacteria
Sun – grass – ant – echidna – dingo
Volley – moose – wolf
Switch grass – earthworm – quail – hawk
Willow sprouts – musk oxen – wolves Definition

Chemosynthetic Food Chains Examples

Until the 1970s, it was an accepted scientific fact that all energy on Earth comes from the sun. At the base of each food chain were plants that converted sunlight into energy. Deep-sea submersibles then discovered entire ecosystems that existed in the darkest depths of the ocean.

There, microbes that had never seen the sun extracted nutrients from compounds released into the water deep in the Earth’s crust and produced chemicals that sustained entirely new food webs undreamed of on the surface. It is a chemical synthesis. Here are some examples. Food Chain Definition food chain examples

Examples: define food chain

  • Bacteria – clams – octopus
  • Bacteria – copepods – shrimp – zoarcid fish
  • Bacteria – tubeworms – zoarcid fish
  • Microbes – ridgeia tubeworms – spider crab – octopus
  • Microbes – shrimp – crabs define food chain
  • Mussels – brachyuran crabs – octopus
  • Mussels – shrimp – anemone
  • Tubeworms – crabs – shrimp – zoarcid fish

The aquatic food chain of the human being

Within the aquatic food chain, there are five types of consumers. Among them are omnivores, which are those that feed on vegetables and animals. In this category, you can place the human being. Food Chain Definition food chain examples

The human being can consume crustaceans, mollusks, fish, mammals, and reptiles, both fresh or saltwater. While it is true that human beings do not live in water, nor do birds, they can use different techniques to feed on the species that live there.

Some of the instruments that humans use to fish are nets, cages, fishing rods or harpoons. You can fish from the shore, from boats or underwater. Food Chain Definition food chain examples

Elements of the food chain Definition

In a biocenosis or biological community there are:

  • Primary producers , autotrophs , that using solar energy (photosynthesis) or mineral chemical reactions (chemosynthesis), obtain the necessary energy to manufacture organic matter from inorganic nutrients that they take from the air and the soil .
  • Consumers , heterotrophs , which produce their components from organic matter from other living things. The consuming species can be, if we classify them by the modality of exploitation of the resource:
    • Predators and foragers . Organisms that ingest the body of their prey, whole or in part. This activity can and is sometimes called predation, but it is more common to see this term used only for the activity of carnivores, that is, second order or higher consumers (see below).
    • decomposers or degraders . The former are those saprotrophic organisms , such as bacteria and fungi , that take advantage of waste by means of external digestion followed by absorption ( osmotrophy ). Detritivores are some protists and small animals, which devour ( phagotrophy ) the solid residues they find on the ground or in bottom sediments, as well as large animals that feed on corpses, which is what can be properly called scavengers .
    • Parasites . Parasites differ from predators in that they do not kill the animals they feed on. In turn, they can be predated, as are the parasites of large African herbivores, devoured by oxpeckers and other birds. They can also have their own parasites, so that each primary parasite can be the basis of a special food chain of parasites of different orders. Parasitoids area special type of parasites, which ends up killing their prey or host.

Food chain. Definition

  • If we examine the highest trophic level among the organisms exploited by a species, we will attribute to it an order in the chain of transfers, according to the number of terms that we have to count from the beginning of the chain:
    • Primary consumers , the phytophagous or herbivores . They devour autotrophic organisms, mainly plants or algae , they feed on them parasitically, such as aphids , they are commensals or symbionts of plants, such as bees , or they specialize in devouring their dead remains, such as oribatid mites or millipedes .
    • Secondary consumers , zoophages or carnivores , which feed directly on primary consumers, but also parasites of herbivores, such as the Varroa mite , which parasitizes honey bees.
    • Tertiary consumers , organisms that routinely include secondary consumers in their food source. In this link are the dominant animals in the ecosystems , on which they influence to a much greater extent than their contribution, always scarce, to the total biomass. In the case of large hunting animals, which consume even other predators, it behooves them to be called apex predators (or apex predators). In terrestrial environments they are, for example, birds of prey and big cats and canids .. These have always been considered a threat to human beings, because they suffer directly from their predation or because of the competition for hunting resources, and have often been systematically exterminated and in many cases driven to extinction. In this chapter would also enter, in addition to predators, parasites and commensals of carnivores.
    • In reality there may be up to six or seven trophic levels of consumers, rarely more, forming as we have seen not only chains based on predation or direct capture, but also on parasitism , mutualism , commensalism or decomposition . define food chain Definition

food chain and web

It is noteworthy that in many different species, categories of individuals may have different ways of feeding, which in some cases would place them at different trophic levels. For example, the flies of the family Sarcophagidae , are collectors of nectar and other sugary liquids during their adult life, but while they are queresas (larvae) their typical diet is from corpses (they are among the “worms” that develop during putrefaction ). Adult anurans (frogs and toads) are carnivorous, but their larvae, the tadpoles, gnaw on stones to obtain algae. In mosquitoes (family Culicidae ), horseflies (family Tabanidae ), and others, females are hematophagous parasitesof animals, but the males use their biting mouthparts to feed on plant matter, such as sap .

Trophic pyramids

The trophic pyramid or ecological pyramid is a particularly abstract way of describing the circulation of energy in the biocenosis and its composition. It is based on the unequal representation of the different trophic levels in the biological community , because the energy mobilized and the biomass produced per unit of time is always higher, the lower the trophic level. define food chain

Pyramid of energy in an aquatic community. In ocher, net production of each level; in blue, breathing; the sum, on the left, is the assimilated energy. define food chain Definition
  • Energy pyramid: In theory, nothing limits the number of trophic levels a food chain can support however, there is a problem. Only a part of the energy stored in a trophic level passes to the next level. This is because organisms use much of the energy they consume to carry out life processes, such as respiration , movement, and reproduction . The rest of the energy is released to the environment in the form of heat : Only 10% of the energy available within a trophic level is transferred to the organisms of the next trophic level. For example, one tenth of the solar energy captured by grass ends up stored in the tissues of the plants.cows and other grazing animals. And only a tenth of that energy, that is, 10% of 10%, or 1% in total, is transferred to people who eat beef. Therefore, the more levels there are between the producer and the consumer of the highest level in the ecosystem, the less energy that remains of the original amount. 4
  • Biomass pyramid: The total amount of living tissue within a trophic level is called biomass. Biomass is usually expressed in terms of grams of organic matter per unit area. A pyramid of biomass represents the amount of potential food available for each trophic level in an ecosystem. 4
  • Pyramids of Numbers: Ecological pyramids can also be based on the number of individual organisms at each trophic level. In some ecosystems, such as the prairie , the shape of the pyramid of numbers is the same as the pyramids of energy and biomass. However it is not always so. For example, in almost all forests there are fewer producers than consumers. A tree has a lot of energy and biomass, but it is a single organism. Many insects live in the tree, but they have less energy and biomass. For them, the pyramid of numbers of the forest ecosystem does not look anything like a normal pyramid. 5 define food chain

This phenomenon is also usually manifested indirectly when the individuals of each level are censused or recounted, but here the exceptions are more frequent and have to do with the great differences in size between the organisms and with the different generation times, giving rise to pyramids. inverted. Thus, in some ecosystems, the members of a trophic level may be much larger and/or have a longer life cycle than those that depend on them. This is the case that we observe, for example, in many equatorial forests where the primary producers are large trees and the main phytophagous are ants .. In such a case the smallest number is presented by the lowest trophic level. The effective pyramid is also inverted when the biomasses of the consecutive members are similar, but the generation time is much shorter in the lower trophic level; such a case can occur in aquatic ecosystems where the primary producers are cyanobacteria or nanoprotists. define food chain Definition

Relationship between energy and trophic levels

In this succession of stages in which an organism feeds and is devoured, energy flows from one trophic level to another. Green plants or other organisms that carry out photosynthesis use solar energy to make carbohydrates for their own needs. Most of this chemical energy is processed in metabolism and lost as heat in respiration. Plants convert the remaining energy into biomass, above ground as woody and herbaceous tissue and below ground as roots. Ultimately, this material, which is stored energy, is transferred to the second trophic level comprising grazing herbivores, decomposers, and detritus feeders. define food chain

Although most of the energy assimilated in the second trophic level is lost again as heat in respiration, a portion is converted to biomass. At each trophic level, organisms convert less energy into biomass than they receive. Therefore, the more steps that occur between the producer and the final consumer, the less energy that remains available.

food chain and web

There are rarely more than four links, or five levels, in a food web. Over time, all the energy that flows through the trophic levels is lost as heat. The process by which energy loses its ability to do useful work is called entropy .

Plants obtain energy directly from the sun through photosynthesis. Animals obtain energy from the food they eat, whether plant or animal. Through respiration, both plants and animals take advantage of energy, but dissipate part of it in the form of heat, which passes to the external environment. Therefore, the flow of energy through an ecosystem is unidirectional. define food chain

Some microorganisms transform dead organic matter into mineral salts. The salts are used by autotrophic organisms, and autotrophic organisms are ingested by heterotrophs. Then both autotrophic and heterotrophic organisms die and their remains are transformed by microorganisms, starting the cycle all over again. Thus, matter circulates in the ecosystem in a cyclical manner. define food chain Definition

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