A food chain refers to the order of events in an ecosystem, where one living organism eats another organism, and later that organism is consumed by another larger organism. The flow of nutrients and energy from one organism to another at different trophic levels forms a food chain.
The two types of food chains. They are:
Detritus food chain
The detritus food chain begins with dead organic material. The food energy passes into decomposers and detritivores, which are further eaten by smaller organisms like carnivores. Carnivores, like maggots, become a meal for bigger carnivores like frogs, snakes and so on. Primary consumers like fungi, bacteria, protozoans, and so on are detritivores that feed on detritus. The detritus food chain includes different species of organisms and plants like algae, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, mites, insects, worms and so on.
Grazing food chain
The food chain that starts with green plants, passes through herbivores and then to carnivores. In a grazing food chain, energy in the lowest trophic level is acquired from photosynthesis.
The difference between food chain and food web are given below in the table
|Food chain||Food web|
|A linear pathway showing the flow of energy||A multitude of networks showing the flow of energy|
|An organism of higher-level trophic feeds on a specific organism of lower trophic level||An organism of a higher trophic level has access to more members of a lower trophic level.|
|Has no effect on the adaptability and competitiveness of organisms.||Has a role in improving the adaptability and competitiveness of an organism.|
Linear diagram of the food chain