and how nutrients and energy are passed from creature to creature. Food chains begin with plant-life. some animals eat other animals. and end with animal-life.What is a Food Chain? A food chain shows how each living thing gets food. . Some animals eat plants.

usually the sun. The next link in the chain is an organism that makes its own food from the primary energy source 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.• A food chain starts with the primary energy source. These are called autotrophs or primary producers. .

these organisms are called herbivores or primary consumers.• Next come organisms that eat the autotrophs. The tertiary consumers are are eaten by quaternary consumers. In turn. Each food chain end with a top predator. The arrows in a food chain show the flow of energy.these are called secondary consumers. The next link in the chain is animals that eat herbivores . . and animal with no natural enemies. from the sun or hydrothermal vent to a top predator. these animals are eaten by larger predators which are called tertiary consumers.

. There are different trophic levels of an organism in a food chain. As the energy flows from organism to organism. from the sun or hydrothermal vent to a top predator. energy is lost at each step.• The arrows in a food chain show the flow of energy. Trophic Level of an organism is the position it holds in a food chain.

.Another Example of a Food Chain This figure shows the energy loss in each step in a food chain.

Food Chain in an Ocean .

they are also called herbivores (plant-eaters). They are carnivores (meat-eaters) and omnivores (animals that eat both animals and plants).these organisms are called autotrophs.Trophic Levels 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 . • Secondary consumers eat primary consumers. • Primary consumers are animals that eat primary producers. .

• Food chains "end" with top predators. If you produce waste. If you die. Whenever something that . If you lose a leaf. they eat that. • Quaternary consumers eat tertiary consumers. • The last links in the chain are the decomposers. they eat it.• Tertiary consumers eat secondary consumers. they eat you. animals that have little or no natural enemies.

Decomposers break down nutrients in the dead "stuff" and return it to the soil. The decomposers complete the system. returning essential molecules to the producers. Producers use those nutrients and the food chain carries on. the decomposers get it. .was alive dies. The producers can then use the nutrients and elements once it's in the soil.


Example of a Food Chain .