food chain meaning

Food Chain: Definition, Meaning and Characteristics

The food chain is a basic and important concept in environmental science. Some who seeks interest in studying environmental science subject has to read the food chain concept. Nonetheless, let me walk you through the definition, meaning, and characteristics of a typical food chain.

Food chain definition

Perhaps the easiest definition of a food chain is when a number of organisms rely on each other for food but in a hierarchical manner in an ecosystem.

Food chain meaning

Giving examples proves very much helpful when it comes to understanding a particular concept very well. Likewise, to understand the food chain topic, let us consider an example of a lion ( carnivorous animal) that in a bid to obtain food for its survival prays on a dear in a forest. The dear ( herbivorous), in turn, eats grass for survival. In this way, the energy gets transferred from one organism to another and hence constitutes the food chain. Remember, carnivorous a term that means any animal eating meat while as herbivorous refers to any animal eating grass.

3. Characteristics of the food chain

Notably, there are many characteristics of the food chain but the following four are the main ones.

  • The most important characteristic feature of a typical food chain involves a nutritive interaction between the living organism of an ecosystem.
  • The food chain is always straight. That means a food chain always proceeds in a progressive straight line.
  • In a food chain, the flow of energy is unidirectional. In easy words, moves in a single direction.
  • Any food chain will have from a minimum of three to a maximum of five tropical levels.

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