Meaning of Terrestrial food chain

What is Terrestrial Food Chain:

The terrestrial food chain or trophic chain indicates the process by which energy and essential nutrients are transmitted from one living being to another.

All living beings on Earth depend on each other to survive, which is why we speak of a food chain that varies according to the ecosystem, for example, there is the terrestrial food chain and the aquatic food chain.

Links in the terrestrial food chain

The terrestrial food chain is made up of links that indicate how, in general terms, this process is carried out among living beings.

First link: it is composed of the producers or autotrophic organisms, which are those that transform the energy obtained through photosynthesis, from water and soil into useful energy for the life of plants and vegetables.

Second link: at this level are the consumers or heterotrophs, which are the organisms that feed on the producers since they need their energy and nutrition to survive.

Types of consumers

There are different types of consumers depending on the order in which they are located in the food chain.

  • Primary consumers: they are those who feed and obtain energy and nutrients only from producers. For example, insects or herbivorous animals.
  • Secondary consumers or predators: they are the organisms that feed on the primary consumers. Among these, predators or carnivorous animals stand out.
  • Tertiary consumers: all those organisms or living beings that feed on secondary ones and that are characterized by being superior to the latter group. For example, large animals such as lions, eagles, sharks, wolves, bears, and even humans.

Third link: it is composed of decomposers, that is, bacteria and fungi, which live in the soil and feed on consumers once they have completed their life cycle and die. However, these decomposers are not bound to act only on this link, they can actually act on any of them.

See also Life cycle.

Consequently, the energy and nutrients that the producing organisms once contributed return to the soil, to the plants and the food chain repeats itself again.

However, along the food chain the transfer of energy and nutrients, which is linear, loses strength as it passes through the link, therefore, the producing organisms are the ones that provide the most benefits and to a lesser extent do the consumers and decomposers.

On the other hand, in the food chain it exists in any environment where life exists, therefore, all organisms are of the utmost importance even if they do not provide the same levels of energy and nutrition.

That is, when a link disappears, the entire food chain is altered in its entirety, consequently overpopulations of organisms can arise that are not consumed and that in turn are necessary for the feeding of others.

Therefore, it is necessary to take care of and protect all the ecosystems that act on Earth, natural life works in a cyclical way and, when its functioning system is altered, all living beings, plants, insects, bacteria and humans are affected. .

See also Omnivore

Marine food chain

The marine food chain occurs in the seas and oceans. It differs from the terrestrial food chain in that the cycle is more extensive, some producers are microscopic, producers are the fundamental food of predators, which are characterized by their large sizes.

The first link is made up of algae (plant) and phytoplankton (microscopic) that obtain energy from the sun.

The second link, consumers is made up of small or medium fish that obtain their nutrients from algae or plankton.

Then it is followed by larger predators such as shellfish, hake or tuna, which in turn are food for larger predators such as sharks or whales.

When these large predators die, as in the terrestrial food chain, their decomposed bodies will be the food of multiple bacteria, that is, the third link, which will allow their energy and nutrients to become food for the producing organisms.

Examples of food chain

These are some examples that demonstrate how the food chain works through different organisms.

  • The ants feed on the leaves, the anteaters feed on the ants, the anteater dies and the decomposing organisms feed on their energy and nutrients that return to the soil, water and plants that other ants will eat again.
  • Herbs are eaten by grasshoppers. Frogs feed on insects, including the grasshopper. In turn, frogs are food for snakes, which are hunted and eaten by eagles. Eagles are predatory animals that, when they die, contribute their energy and nutrients to decomposing organisms and these transfer them back to plants.
  • Seaweed is the food of shrimp. Then, the shrimp are eaten by the blue whales, which then, when they die, will contribute all their energy and nutrients to the marine environment and, thus, the whole food cycle begins again.
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