What is the term food chain?

The food chain describes who eats whom in nature. All living things, from single-celled algae to giant blue whales, need food to survive. Each food chain is a possible route that energy and nutrients can follow through the ecosystem. For example, grass produces its own food from sunlight.

A common metric used to quantify the trophic structure of the food web is the length of the food chain. In its simplest form, the length of a chain is the number of links between a trophic consumer and the base of the web. The average chain length of an entire network is the arithmetic average of the lengths of all the chains in the food chain. The food chain is a diagram of energy sources.

The food chain starts with a producer, who is consumed by a primary consumer. The primary consumer can be consumed by a secondary consumer, who in turn can be consumed by a tertiary consumer. Tertiary consumers can sometimes become prey to major predators known as quaternary consumers. For example, a food chain could start with a green plant as a producer, which is eaten by a snail, the main consumer.

The snail could then be the prey of a secondary consumer, such as a frog, which in turn can be consumed by a tertiary consumer, such as a snake, which in turn can be consumed by an eagle. The food chain, in ecology, is the sequence of transfers of matter and energy in the form of food from one organism to another. They are simplified abstractions of real food networks, but complex in their dynamics and mathematical implications. In the depths of the sea, there are food chains focusing on hydrothermal vents and cold leaks in the absence of sunlight.

The length of the food chain is important because the amount of energy transferred decreases as the trophic level increases; usually, only ten percent of the total energy from one trophic level goes to the next, since the rest is used in the metabolic process. As the food chain shortens, the total amount of energy available to end consumers increases. Food chains are locally intertwined in a food web because most organisms consume more than one type of animal or plant. The gastrointestinal system breaks down particles of ingested food into molecular forms using enzymes through digestion and then transfers them to the internal environment by absorption.

Definition A food hierarchy in which the organisms of an ecosystem are grouped into trophic (nutritional) levels and are shown sequentially to represent the flow of food energy and the feeding relationships between them. Food chains are directional pathways of trophic energy or, equivalently, sequences of links that begin with basal species, such as producing species or fine organic matter, and end in consumer organisms. A food chain differs from a food web because the complex network of food relationships between the different animals adds up and the chain only follows a linear and direct route of one animal at a time. When only one element is eliminated from the food chain, it can cause the extinction of a species in some cases.

Food chains were first introduced by the Arab scientist and philosopher Al-Jahiz in the tenth century and were later popularized in a book published in 1927 by Charles Elton, who also introduced the concept of a food web. Environmentalists have formulated and tested hypotheses about the nature of ecological patterns associated with the length of the food chain, such as the increase in length with the size of the ecosystem, the reduction of energy at each successive level, or the assertion that long food chains are unstable. A food chain is a linear network of links in a food web that begins with producing organisms (such as grass or algae, which produce their own food through photosynthesis) and ends in a species of supreme predator (such as brown bears or orcas), detritivores (such as worms or mealybugs) or a decomposed species (such as fungi or bacteria). .

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