food chain(redirected from Web of life)
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1. A succession of organisms in an ecological community that are linked to each other through the transfer of energy and nutrients, beginning with an autotrophic organism such as a plant and continuing with each organism being consumed by one higher in the chain.
2. Informal A competitive hierarchy: works high up in the corporate food chain.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
food chaina sequence of organisms arranged in such a way that the second grouping, e.g. HERBIVORES, feeds on the first, e.g. PRIMARY PRODUCERS, and the third, e.g. CARNIVORES, feeds on the second. See Fig. 163 . Each organism in the chain feeds and derives energy from its predecessor in the chain, the relative energy value at each TROPHIC LEVEL often being assessed by the construction of ECOLOGICAL PYRAMIDS. In practice, such simple systems rarely exist and the nutritional relationships between organisms normally constitute a , food web. See Fig. 164 .
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005