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FOOD WEB

A food web (or food cycle) depicts feeding connections (what eats what) in an ecological community. Ecologists can broadly lump all life forms into one of two categories called trophic levels: 1) the autotrophs, and 2) the heterotrophs. To maintain their bodies, grow, develop, and to reproduce, autotrophs produce organic matter from inorganic substances, including both minerals and gases such as carbon dioxide. These chemical reactions require energy, which mainly comes from the sun and largely by photosynthesis, although a very small amount comes from hydrothermal vents and hot springs. A gradient exists between trophic levels running from complete autotrophs that obtain their sole source of carbon from the atmosphere, to mixotrophs (such as carnivorous plants) that are autotrophic organisms that partially obtain organic matter from sources other than the atmosphere, and complete heterotrophs that must feed to obtain organic matter.

FOOD CHAIN
A food chain is somewhat a linear sequence of links in a food web starting from a trophic species that eats no other species in the web and ends at a trophic species that is eaten by no other species in the web. A food chain differs from a food web, because the complex polyphagous network of feeding relations are aggregated into trophic species and the chain only follows linear monophagous pathways. A common metric used to quantify food web trophic structure is food chain length. In its simplest form, the length of a chain is the number of links between a trophic consumer and the base of the web and the mean chain length of an entire web is the arithmetic average of the lengths of all chains in a food web.

COMMENSALISM
In ecology, commensalism is a class of relationship between two organisms where one organism benefits but the other is neutral (there is no harm or benefit). There are two other types of association: mutualism (where both organisms benefit) and parasitism (one organism benefits and the other one is harmed). Commensalism derives from the English word commensal, meaning "sharing of food" in human social interaction, which in turn derives from the Latin cum mensa, meaning "sharing a table". Originally, the term was used to describe the use of waste food by second animals, like the carcass eaters that follow hunting animals, but wait until they have finished their meal.

MUTUALISM
Mutualism is the way two organisms of different species biologically interact in a relationship in which each individual derives a fitness benefit (i.e., increased or improved reproductive output). Similar interactions within a species are known as co-operation. Mutualism can be contrasted with interspecific competition, in which each species experiences reduced fitness, and exploitation, or parasitism, in which one species benefits at the expense of the other. Mutualism is a type of symbiosis. Symbiosis is a broad category, defined to include relationships that are mutualistic, parasitic, or commensal. Mutualism is only one type.

PARASITISM
Parasitism is a type of non mutual relationship between organisms of different species where one organism, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the other, the host. Traditionally parasite referred to organisms with lifestages that needed more than one host (e.g. Taenia solium). These are now called macroparasites (typically protozoa and helminths). The word parasite now also refers to microparasites, which are typically smaller, such as viruses and bacteria, and can be directly transmitted between hosts of the same species [1]. Some examples of parasites are the plants such as mistletoe and cuscuta and organisms such as leeches.

PREDATION
In ecology, predation is an interaction in which one organism captures another and feeds on the captured organism.. Predation describes a biological interaction where a predator (an organism that is hunting) feeds on its prey (the organism that is attacked).[1] Predators may or may not kill their prey prior to feeding on them, but the act of predation always results in the death of its prey and the eventual absorption of the prey's tissue through consumption.[2] Other categories of consumption are herbivory (eating parts of plants) and detritivory, the consumption of dead organic material (detritus).

COMPETITION
Competition is an interaction between organisms or species, in which the fitness of one is lowered by the presence of another. Limited supply of at least one resource (such as food, water, and territory) used by both is required.[1] Competition both within and between species is an important topic in ecology, especially community ecology. Competition is one of many interacting biotic and abiotic factors that affect community structure.

ENERGY PYRAMID
An ecological pyramid (also trophic pyramid or energy pyramid) is a graphical representation designed to show the biomass or biomass productivity at each trophic level in a given ecosystem. Biomass is the amount of living or organic matter present in an organism. Biomass pyramids show how much biomass is present in the organisms at each trophic level, while productivity pyramids show the production or turnover in biomass.