The trophic chain.

food chain - is the relationship between the level of food in the various macro- and micro-organisms in the ecosystems through which flows the transformation of energy and matter.All plant, animals and microscopic organisms are closely linked to the principle of "food - the consumer."

Basic definitions

food chain - is one of the most important properties of any ecosystem.This food chain.It shows a certain horizontal sequence of species.When this movement is reflected in the ecosystem in the process of feeding the biochemical energy and organic matter.For example: the grass - Hare - Wolf - bacteria.As a rule, on top of the food pyramid is a large predator.The term itself - a derivative of the Greek word "trophy", which means "food."Before we deal with the fact that this food chain, you need to consider concepts such as producers, consumers and decomposers.


producers is a group of organisms that are able to synthesize complex organic matter from the mineral compounds.These include, first of all, autotrophs.It plants and microscopic algae, which through photosynthesis are able to convert solar energy into an external biochemical.It accumulates in the cells and is involved in metabolism.The ecosystem producers are examples of ferns, mosses, flowering plants and gymnosperms.In the ocean, it's the plankton.Tiny green algae - is an example of producing all aquatic ecosystems.


consuments - it's different kinds of organisms that feed on organic matter exclusively that producers synthesize.By consumers in the ecosystem are called heterotrophs.It can be carnivores and herbivores, insects.There are different orders of consumers.This division is based on the state of organisms in the food chain.

By consuments 1st order include herbivorous animals, insects and birds.For example, the food chain of the forest may include rabbit, mouse, deer, moose.All these animals are by consumers of the 1st order.Their distinguishing feature is that they eat the producers, ie the plant.This is mainly rodents, ungulates, snakes, lizards and various amphibians and insects, fish, small birds.

consuments 2nd and subsequent orders - it's only predatory species.They build their proteins from organic material of animal and vegetable origin.This group includes bears, canine, feline, predatory birds, reptiles and snakes.The ecosystem of the ocean this niche occupied by whales and dolphins.

decomposers Decomposers are called organic residues Dispose microorganisms.This bacteria and fungi.They live in the soil and promotes decay.Decomposers is synonymous with the term "destructors".Currently, the group added and bacteriophages.

main types of food chains

There are only two basic types of food chains: detrital and grazing.They have significant differences.Grazing food chain (chain or grazing) is based on the complex relations between different groups of plants, animals and saprophytes.It is based on autotrophic organisms.This is primarily a plant.Then there are herbivorous animals.For example, ungulates, or rodents.In the oceans and seas, it can be zooplankton.And finally, at the top of the food chain are predators 2nd order.This species that are not hunted in the wild.For example, bears, felines, birds of prey.Particularly long grazing food chain in the oceans.It found consuments 6th and 7th order.

detrital food chain is based on the decomposition process.They always involved fungi or bacteria-saprophytes.

detrital food chain

Such chain decomposition are most common in the forests, and where most of the plant matter is not consumed directly herbivores.But while it disappears.Its processed microscopic fungi and bacteria, which are known as saprophytes.All food detrital food chain always start with detritus.They continue microorganisms that break down and recycle them.Then there are the detritus and their consumers - the predatory species.The ecosystems of the seas and oceans, particularly in deep water, and is dominated by detrital chain.There are conditions that do not survive a large number of predators, so their place is occupied by microorganisms.

trophic levels

food chain consists of several levels.These units can be easily found in any ecosystem of the planet.The first level is always represented producers.Second - by consumers of a different order.In short chains, generally of three units, in the length of their number is not limited.But the latter will always be bacteria and fungi.Any trophic food chain ends decomposers.Their main function in different ecosystems - is recycling of organic matter to mineral compounds.The longest trophic food chain formed in the oceans and seas.The shortest of them - in the woods and meadows.Such an interconnected series of successive trophic levels and forms a chain of supply.

It is important to clarify that the trophic food chain is not always complete.It may be missing some parts.Sometimes they "fall" for some reason.Firstly, the circuit is not always present in plants - producers.They are not available in those communities that have been formed on the basis of rotting vegetation and (or) animal remains.A striking example - the litter of leaves in the woods.Secondly, in food chains may be absent heterotrophs, i.e. animals.Either of them can be small.For example, in the same forests of deciduous fruits and branches, bypassing of consumers immediately begin to decompose.In this case, for the producers immediately followed by decomposers.In each ecosystem formed trophic chain starting from ambient conditions.Under certain effects, especially on the part of the person, these circuits may be increased or, as often happens, reduced by the disappearance of certain units.

Examples of trophic chains

food chain, depending on the order of a number of links it is, can be a simple and layered.An example of a simple full circuit in which there are producers, consumers and decomposers, can look like this: Aspen - Beaver - bacteria.

complex food chains contain more links.But usually, the number does not exceed 6-7 existing in natural ecosystems.These long chains can be found in the seas and oceans.In other parts of real ecosystems usually 5. There are several examples of how to make the food chain for a variety of habitats:

1. Algae - roach - perch - burbot - bacteria.

2. Plankton - coral - pomacentridae Fish - White Shark - bacteria.

3. Grass - Grasshopper - frog - certainly - the falcon.

all examples of grazing circuits predators.But there are other types of linkages.For example, chains of parasites.They look as follows: grass - cow - a tapeworm - bacteria.Sometimes the chain may fall consuments: currant - powdery mildews mushroom - phage.Grazing food chain differs from the parasitic in that the dimensions of predators in them increases with the level of the sequence level.But as decomposers still remain saprophytes in both cases.A little different look detrital chain: leaf litter - microscopic fungi - bacteria.