The food chain can be said as the straight and single pathway for the flow of energy in an ecosystem, through different species of organisms. Food web, on the other hand, is defined as the convoluted or complicated pathway of an ecosystem consist of numerous food chains of the different trophic level, through which the energy flow.
Food chains, food web, are the part of the ecosystem which can be described as the community of the smallest microorganisms, plants to the higher animals that feed, live, reproduce, interact and die in the same area or environment. All ecosystem have feeding hierarchy which includes the sun (energy source), producer, consumer, and decomposer.
But in an ecosystem, it is impossible to have a single food chain. To survive, the organisms feed on the different trophic level. So in the food web, different food chains are linked together as well crisscross each other to form a complex network. The food web enhances the competitiveness and adaptability among organisms, but it is not seen in the food chain.
With this article, we will focus on some important points which distinguish the food chain and food web.
Content: Food Chain Vs Food Web
|Basis for Comparison||Food Chain||Food Web|
|Meaning||The flow of energy through a single straight pathway from the lower trophic level to the higher trophic level is called food chain.||The interconnected, numerous food chains through which the energy flow in the ecosystem is called food web.|
|Number of chains||It consists of only one straight chain.||It consists of many interconnected food chains.|
|Stability||The instability increases due to increasing number of separate and confined food chains.||The stability increases due to the presence of the complex food chains.|
|Disturbances arises due to||Even if the one group of an organism disturbs, the whole chain will be affected.||The food web does not get disturbed by the removal of one group of organisms.|
|Feed upon||Usually, member of higher trophic level depends or feed upon the single type of organisms of the lower trophic level.||In the food web, the members of higher trophic level depend or feed upon many different types of the organism of the lower trophic level.|
|Trophic level||Food chain consists of only 4-6 trophic levels of different species.||Food web contains numerous trophic level also of different populations of species.|
|Types||1.Grazing food chain.|
2. Detritus food chain.
Definition of Food Chain
The flow of energy in one way process and the sequence in which the energy from the lower level of organisms to the higher level of the organisms are called as the food chain. The food chain is of two types – Grazing food chain and Detritus food chain.
1. Grazing food chain: Grazing food chain consist mainly of Producer (green plants), Primary consumer (Herbivores), Secondary consumer (Carnivores). The chain starts with the green plants also known as autotrophs. These can prepare their food with the help of sunlight ( the main source of energy), water and air.
This is known as the first trophic level. These plants are eaten up by the first consumer (Herbivores), and eventually, these (Herbivores) are eaten up by the different secondary consumer (Carnivores).
2. Detritus food chain: It starts with the dead organic matter (detritus), which was produced in the grazing food chain. The waste material such as dead bodies of animals or fallen leaves is eaten by the decomposers or detritivores. At last the organic matter gets decomposed by their predators. Energy flows in the large amount in this food chain.
The SUN provides energy for the green plants or GRASS.
This GRASS is eaten by the GRASSHOPPER.
Further, the GRASSHOPPER is eaten by the FROG.
The Frog is eaten by the SNAKE.
The HAWK eats the SNAKE.
Definition of Food Web
When several food chains are linked or interconnected together to form a network is called as the food web. There is the involvement of various. Organisms of different species of the population. There is one common thing in all, is the need of energy to do their activities. The sun is considered as the main source of energy on Earth. This energy is used by the green plants (producer) to make their food. Once the energy got captured, it is now will get pass through many phases of various organisms of the particular area, this is called as the food web.
Key Differences Between Food Chain and Food Web
Given below are the important point which differentiates the Food Chain and Food Web:
- The Food Chain can be said as the single straight pathway, through which there is a flow of energy from the lower trophic level to the higher trophic level. Food Web can be defined as the complex interconnection of numerous food chains through which the energy flow in the ecosystem.
- Food Chain consists of only one straight chain, while food web has numbers of interconnected food chains.
- In comparison to the food web, there is a lot of instability in the food chain, and this is due to increasing number of separate and confined food chains. Whereas in food web there is stability and it increases due to the presence of the complex food chains.
- As in food chain, there are 4-6 trophic levels only of different species, and any disturbance at any level may disturb the whole chain. On the other hand in food web there in the involvement of numerous trophic level of the different population of a species and so it does not affect the food web if there is a removal of any group of organisms at any trophic level.
- In the food chain usually, member of higher trophic level depends or feed upon the single type of organisms of the lower trophic level.
On the contrary, in the food web, the members of higher trophic level depends or feed upon many different types of the organism of the lower trophic level.
All forms of life need energy, directly or indirectly. The flow of energy and nutrients am0ng different organisms is an ecosystem is called as the food chain while the natural linking or interconnection numerous food chains of what-eats-what in the community is called as the food web.
But it is observed that food web is more realistic than the food chain, as it shows the multiple relationships of how the interactions occur among the organisms. Therefore food web is considered as more complicated than the food chain.