food chain is a linear sequence of organisms through which nutrients and energy pass as one organism eats another. In a food chain, each organism occupies a different trophic level, defined by how many energy transfers separate it from the basic input of the chain.

At the base of the food chain lie the primary producers. The primary producers are autotrophs and are most often photosynthetic organisms such as plants, algae, or cyanobacteria.

The organisms that eat the primary producers are called primary consumers. Primary consumers are usually herbivores, plant-eaters, though they may be algae eaters or bacteria eaters.

The organisms that eat the primary consumers are called secondary consumers. Secondary consumers are generally meat-eaters—carnivores.

The organisms that eat the secondary consumers are called tertiary consumers. These are carnivore-eating carnivores, like eagles or big fish.

Some food chains have additional levels, such as quaternary consumers-carnivores that eat tertiary consumers. Organisms at the very top of a food chain are called apex consumers.

Humans are omnivores that can eat both plants and animals.

o the ‘final’ consumer group
o use energy available in dead plants and animals
o transform organic material into inorganic material

Food webs

A food web (or food cycle) is the natural interconnection of food chains and generally a graphical representation (usually an image) of what-eats-what in an ecological community.

food web consists of many food chains. A food chain only follows just one path as animals find food. eg: A hawk eats a snake, which has eaten a frog, which has eaten a grasshopper, which has eaten grass. A food web shows the many different paths plants and animals are connected.

See, if you can answer below questions after reading this article:

Question In a food chain of grassland ecosystem, the top consumers are :
[Environmental Studies] [UPTET-2017-10]
OptionsA) Herbivorous
B) Carnivorous
C) Bacteria
D) Either carnivorous or herbivorous
B) Carnivorous
Question The main source of energy in an ecosystem is
[Environmental Studies] [UPTET-2017-10]
OptionsA) ATP
B) Sunlight
B) Sunlight
Question Which of the following orders of food chain is correct?
[Social Studies/Social Sciences] [OTET-2017-09]
OptionsA) Herbivorous, Omnivorous, Carnivorous, Detrivorous
B) Ominivorous, Herbivorous, Carnivorous, Detrivorous
C) Herbivorous, Ominivorous, Detrivorous, Carnivorous
D) Herbivorous, Carnivorous, Ominivorous, Detrivorous
D) Herbivorous, Carnivorous, Ominivorous, Detrivorous
Question In a simple food chain. which one of the following is an example of primary consumers?
[Bio-Science] [SCERT-Odisha-BEd-Science-05Jun2019-Batch4]
OptionsA) Sheep
B) Lion
C) Plants
D) Tiger
A) Sheep
Question What is the role of decomposer in the ecosystem?
[Bio-Science] [SCERT-Odisha-BEd-Science-06Jun2019-Batch1]
OptionsA) photosynthesis
B) kills other animal for food
C) absorb nutrients from dead tissue
D) make its own food
C) absorb nutrients from dead tissue

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