THE FOOD CHAIN & FOOD WEB

Food Chain With Diagram & Examples, Food Web, Food Pyramid, Energy Pyramid

food_chain

Every living organism on the earth needs energy to grow, move, and survive. The sun is the main source of energy for all the living things.

First, the energy from the sun goes into the plants through PHOTOSYNTHESIS and then transferred from one organism to the next organism.

This process of moving energy from one organism to another is called ENERGY FLOW. Sunlight and plants play a very important role in the supply of energy.

So now you can answer the question  ” What is the main source of energy for all the living organisms?”

What are Producers?

The organism which produces their own food to get energy is known as the PRODUCERS. It does not depend on anyone for its food.

Plants are known as producers. Because plants make their own food by the process of the photosynthesis.

Plants, algae, and some bacteria are the example of producers.

Producers are also known as AUTOTROPHS. Auto means “self”, Troph means “feed”.

What are Consumers?

The organism which eats other living things to get energy is known as the CONSUMERS. It depends on other organisms to survive.

All the living things except plants are consumers.

Consumers include herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, and decomposers.

Consumers are also known as HETEROTROPHS. Hetero means “others”, Troph mean “feed”.

“Consumers consume other organisms to get energy.”

What are Herbivores?

A herbivore is an animal that gets its energy from eating plants, and only plants. Herbivores eat producers.

Cows, deers, elephants are examples of herbivores.

“Herbivores – plant eaters”

What are Carnivores?

A carnivore is an organism that eats mostly meat, or the flesh of animals. Carnivores eat other consumers. Lion, eagle, shark are the examples of the carnivores. “Carnivores – meat eater”

What are Omnivores?

An omnivore is an organism that eats both plants as well as other animals. Most humans are omnivores as they eat fruits, vegetables and chickens, egg etc.

Examples of omnivores: Monkeys, Birds, Bears, Raccoons, People

“Omnivores – Plant + Meat Eater”.

What are Decomposers?

Decomposers eat dead organisms (dead plants or animals) and other waste. They break down dead plants and dead animals into nutrients.

Decomposers play a very important role in soil health. They turn the dead animal or plant into different nutrients and the nutrients go into the soil.

Example of decomposers: Fungus, Bacteria.

Example of insect decomposers: Worm, Earthworms, Slugs, Millipedes.

What would happen if there were no decomposers?

As decomposers break down the dead plants and animals into different nutrients and the nutrients go into the soil.

In the absence of decomposers, this breakdown will not occur and hence, the soil will not get the nutrients and that will affect plants.

The waste matter would just continuously pile up and it would cause animals and people to get sick from bacterial disease.

What are Chemotrophs?

Chemotrophs are organisms that obtain energy through chemicals without using sunlight. They use hydrogen sulphide, ammonia and other compounds as an energy source.

Examples of chemoautotrophs: sulfur-oxidizing bacteria, nitrogen-fixing bacteria and iron-oxidizing bacteria.

What is Food Chain?

Food chain represents a single pathway by which energy and nutrients flows from one organism to another organism in the form of food. Food chain is the simplest form of food web. All food chains begin with the energy received from the sun. After the sun, plants are the next link in every food chain. Plants are also known as PRODUCER.

Primary Consumer

The organism who consumes the plants (producer) directly is called the primary consumer. Primary consumers are usually herbivores.

Secondary Consumer

The organism who eats the primary consumer to get the energy is known as the secondary consumer. They are generally meat-eaters—carnivores.

Tertiary Consumer

Tertiary consumers eat primary consumers and secondary consumers. They are carnivore-eating organisms, like eagles or big fish.

Apex Consumer

Apex consumers are not in all food chains, in many food chains the top is the tertiary consumer. But Some food chains have additional levels, such as quaternary consumers. They eat tertiary consumers.

The organisms at the very top of a food chain are called apex consumers.

Examples of Apex consumers: Shark, Hawk, Tiger etc.

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In the following food chain diagram, the arrows show the transfer of energy from one organism to the next organism.

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Food Chain Diagram

In the food chain diagram, If any organism ends with this chain, then all animals will be affected.

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What is the Food Web?

In the food web, there are multiple food chains that interact with each other. It represents a multiple pathway by which energy and nutrients flows from one organism to another organism in the form of food.

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What is Food Pyramid ?

A food pyramid is a diagram that shows the amount of energy moves through feeding level of a food web. The flow of energy can also be represented within an energy pyramid.

Food Pyramid Diagram [pic source:www.texasgateway.org]

The level where the energy is greatest is at the producer level. As you go up the pyramid, the available energy decreases. Approximately 10% of an organism’s energy is transferred to another organism.

Summary - What Did You Learn?

What is the food chain? -The organisms eat other organisms in order to live and get energy is known as food chain.

What is the food web?  Food web represents a multiple pathway by which energy and nutrients flows from one organism to another organism in the form of food.

What is Food Pyramid? A food pyramid is a diagram that shows the amount of energy moves through feeding level of a food web.

Where is the most energy in a food web?  The first trophic level of the food chain has the most energy. This level is the closest to producers, which are all of the photosynthetic organisms.

What are the 4 parts of a food chain? There are FOUR major elements of a food web: the sun, producers, consumers, and decomposers.

What do arrows represent in a food chain? Arrow shows the feeding relationship between the organism.

What are animals called on the top of the food chain? Animals that only eat other animals are called Apex Predators. These animals are at the top of the food chain.

What is the simple way to remember which consumer eats what? Here is the way: Herbivore has the word “herb” in it, which is a plant. Carnivore has a word “carni” which means meat. Omnivore has a prefix “omni,” which means everything.

What is Producers (autotrophs)? – Organism make their own food

Consumers – herbivores, carnivores, omnivores that eat other plants or animals or both.

Decomposers – Decomposers eat dead organisms (dead plants or animals) and other waste. They break down dead plants and dead animals into nutrients.

Herbivores – animals that eat only plants.

Carnivores – animals that eat other animals (meat)

Omnivores – animals that eat both plants and animals

Trophic Level – It is the position of an organism on the food chain (producer, consumer, decomposer)

Primary Consumers – the organisms that eat the plants

Secondary Consumers – the animals that eat the primary consumers

Tertiary Consumers – the animals that can eat both primary and secondary consumers.

Apex Consumers -The organisms at the very top of a food chain are called apex consumers. They eat tertiary consumers.

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