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Difference Between Food Chain and Food Web

What is Food Chain

The food chain describes which organism in the environment eats another organism. In ecology, the food chain is the series of transfer of matter and energy from organisms to organisms in the form of food. The food chain is locally incorporated into a food web because many organisms consume more than one kind of animal or plant. The primary source of food is the plants that convert solar energy to food through photosynthesis.

In other words, we can define the food chain as it is the sequence of events in an environment or ecosystem in which one living organism eats another living organism and another larger organism eats that organism later.

The relationship between a living organism or a feeding pattern is also explained by the food chain. The trophic level is the sequential stages of the food chain, beginning with the producers from below, followed by the primary, secondary, and tertiary consumers. Each dedicated level seen in the food chain are called the trophic level.

There are four main parts of the food chain:

  1. The Sun
  2. Producers
  3. Consumers
  4. Decomposers

1. The Sun: - A primary energy source on which everything present on the planet depends.

2. Producers: - In a food chain, producers contain all green plants and this is the initial stage in a food chain.

3. Consumers: - The consumers involve all the organisms which are dependent on food over plants or other organisms.

4. Decomposers: - The decomposers involve the organisms which obtain energy from the waste or dead organic material. A decomposer is the last stage in the food chain.

What is Food Web

The Food web is an interconnection of the various food web. A food web is just like the food chain except that the food web is larger than the food chain. Rarely, one organism is eaten by multiple predators, or it consumes many other organisms. Because of this reason, most of the trophic levels are interconnected, and the food chain fails to correctly display the flow of energy. But the food web is capable of showing an appropriate energy flow representation as it exhibits interactions between the different organisms.

The food web becomes more complex if it contains more cross-relationships between various food chains. A more sustainable ecosystem is the result of this complexity in the food web.

Types of Food Chain

The food chain is classified into following two types:

  1. Detritus Food Chain
  2. Grazing Food Chain

Difference Between Food Chain and Food Web

Comparison Points Food Chain Food Web
Meaning The Food chain is the flow of energy from the lower trophic level to the higher trophic through a single direct route level. Food web means, mutually, many food chains via which energy flows into the ecosystem.
Cause of disturbance In the food chain, if any group of an organism gets disturbed, whole chain get disturbed. In the food web, the removal of a group of organisms does not disturb the food web.
Number of chains In a food chain, there is an only single straight chain. In a food web, there are multiple interconnected food chains.
Feed Upon In the food chain, typically, the higher trophic level member depends on or feeds on a single kind of lower trophic level organism. In the food web, higher trophic level members rely or feed on various kinds of lower trophic level organisms.
Stability Because of the increasing number of confined and separate food chains, instability is increasing. Because of the presence of complex food chains, stability increases.
Types Food chain can be classified into two types.
  1. Detritus food chain.
  2. Grazing food chain.
No type
Trophic Level The food chain is made up of only 4-6 trophic level of various species. The food web consists of several trophic level that belong to various populations of species.

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