Food Chain of Living Things
The sequence of eating and being eaten and the resultant transfer of energy from one level to another is known as the food chain. The plants and algae are the first level in food chain and are known as primary producers. At the next level of the chain are primary consumers ( herbivores ) Example : Insects, mice, goats. At the third level are the secondary consumers ( carnivores ) example owl, lion.Some of the species are omnivores.
Example : Human beings.
The decomposers ( microscopic organisms and bacteria ) feed on the detritus or the decaying organic matter derived from all levels. They help in recycling the mineral nutrients into the ecosystem and thus the food chain is completed. Transfer of energy that occurs during the process of a food chain from one level to another is known as flow of energy.
Food Chain Living Things
Animals get their energy from food. Herbivores, like deer and hare, feed on plants. Carnivores, like lions and wolves, eat meat. Omnivores, which include pigs, bears, and humans, eat both plants and animals. In an ecosystem, all the organisms that depend on one another in order to eat form a food chain. Plants are at the bottom of this chain. They get their energy from the sun, which allows them to manufacture the substances they need for their development. Most animals depend directly or indirectly on plants. In this way, even carnivores that feed on herbivores depend on the plants that feed their prey.
A super predator is a carnivorous animal that is not the prey of any other species. It is at the top of the food chain. Raptors, tigers and wolves are examples of super predators.
The flesh of other animals is the principal food of carnivores. For example, snakes eat small rodents.
1. Herbivores are animals that eat plants. Giraffes, which eat the leaves of acacia trees, are herbivores, as are certain rodents that eat seeds.
2. Plants use the energy of the sun to manufacture the nutrients they need from the water, the carbon dioxide present in the air and the mineral elements in the soil. Trees, flowers, cereal grains, mosses and seaweeds are examples of plants.
3. De composers feed on carcasses, excrement and plant remains. Bacteria, microscopic fungi and certain small animals, such as earthworms, are de composers.
4. In decomposing organic matter, they release mineral elements that are then used by plants to help them develop.
The Food Chains
Every organism needs to obtain energy in order to live. For example, plants get energy from the sun, some animals eat plants, and some animals eat other animals.
A food chain is the sequence of who eats whom in a biological community ( an ecosystem ) to obtain nutrition. A food chain starts with the primary energy source, usually the sun or boiling – hot deep sea vents. The next link in the chain is an organism that make its own food from the primary energy source – an example is photosynthetic plants that make their own food from sunlight ( using a process called photosynthesis ) and chemosynthetic bacteria that make their food energy from chemicals in hydrothermal vents. These are called autotrophs or primary producers.
Next come organisms that eat the autotrophs; these organisms are called herbivores or primary consumers – an example is a rabbit that eats grass.
The next link in the chain is animals that eat herbivores – these are called secondary consumers – an example is a snake that eat rabbits.
In turn, these animals are eaten by larger predators – an example is an owl that eats snakes.
The tertiary consumers are are eaten by quaternary consumers – an example is a hawk that eats owls. Each food chain end with a top predator, and animal with no natural enemies ( like an alligator, hawk, or polar bear ).
The arrows in a food chain show the flow of energy, from the sun or hydrothermal vent to a top predator. As the energy flows from organism to organism, energy is lost at each step. A network of many food chains is called a food web.
Trophic Levels :
- The trophic level of an organism is the position it holds in a food chain.
- Primary producers ( organisms that make their own food from sunlight and / or chemical energy from deep sea vents ) are the base of every food chain – these organisms are called autotrophs.
- Primary consumers are animals that eat primary producers; they are also called herbivores ( plant – eaters ).
- Secondary consumers eat primary consumers. They are carnivores ( meat – eaters ) and omnivores ( animals that eat both animals and plants ).
- Tertiary consumers eat secondary consumers.
- Quaternary consumers eat tertiary consumers.
Food chains “end” with top predators, animals that have little or no natural enemies.
When any organism dies, it is eventually eaten by detrivores ( like vultures, worms and crabs ) and broken down by decomposers ( mostly bacteria and fungi ), and the exchange of energy continues.
The Food Chain or Ecosystem and Life Cycles for Animals
- An ecosystem consists of four parts.
- It begins with the sun at the top which provides energy to our green plants.
- Green plants such as grass uses the sun to produce sugar and protein in order to grow.
- The ecosystem consists of producers and consumers.
- Plants are producers in the ecosystem chain.
- Animals which are consumers are next in the ecosystem.
- Some of these animals are known as herbivores which only eat plants.
- Carnivores are the animals that get their energy from eating other animals.
- The next category are the people and animals who eat plants and animals which are omnivores.
- The end of the ecosystem consists of another group of life which are the decomposers.
- Decomposers such as bacteria and fungi eat dead plants.
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