food chain

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food chain

n.
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 chainclick for a larger image
Fig. 164 Food chain . A complex food web of producer (P), herbivore (H) and carnivore (C).
Food chainclick for a larger image
Fig. 163 Food chain . A simple food chain.

food chain

a 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
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This new letter, "Web of Life," has its origins in early 1994 when the Catholic Committee of Appalachia, working with Bishop Walter Sullivan of Richmond, began developing a document.
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And so today we appeal to everyone: 'Let us renew our pledge to respect one another and the web of life,'' he added.
Beekeepers like Fisher don't need to be told the important functions insects play, which include not just the headline-garnering fact that we have pollinators to thank for one of every three bites we eat, but the lesser known benefits, too: Insects are vital to nearly every food web in the world and essential players in the web of life: "They break things down, they take care of decaying matter," Fisher explained.
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