The ecosystem comprises abiotic and biotic factors. It creates a situation where living organisms depend on non-living things and other living things.
The different trophic levels in the ecosystem enhance the survival of living things. Both food chains and the food web play a crucial role in the ecosystem feeding network.
So, what is the main difference between food chain and food web? The former is a linear flow of energy and nutrients from one trophic level to another. The latter is a combination of numerous food chains and other feeding relationships between organisms.
This article provides a comprehensive insight into the difference between the food web and the food chain. Take the time to read through it and learn the relationship between the two feeding levels.
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Comparison Table (Food Chain Vs Food Web)
|Basic Terms||Food Chain||Food Web|
|Meaning||Refers to a linear flow of energy from a lower trophic level to a higher trophic level||Refers to numerous interconnection of food chains which show energy flow in an ecosystem|
|Number of chains||Has one linear chain||Comprise of numerous chains interconnected together|
|Energy Flow||Linear pathway of energy flow||Numerous number of interconnected pathways through which energy flow|
|Number of Trophic Levels||Consist of 4-6 trophic levels||Numerous trophic levels|
|Feeds Upon||It occurs when a member of higher trophic level feeds on a member of lower trophic level in a single straight chain||Member of higher trophic level feeds on several types of organisms in its lower trophic level.|
|Disturbance||Single trophic level affects the whole food chain||The single trophic level does not affect the whole food web|
|Stability||It increases the instability of an ecosystem||It increases the stability of an ecosystem.|
|Adaptability and Competitiveness of Organisms||Does not improve the adaptability and competitiveness of organisms||Tend to improve the adaptability and competitiveness of organisms.|
|Main Components||Start from primary producer and end at the top producer||Start from primary producers, consumers, and an end to predators at the top trophic level|
|Types||Grazing food chain and detritus food chain.||No type|
What is the Food Chain?
The food chain refers to a linear sequence that shows the flow of energy from one organism to the other. This tends to happen in a community that has producers, consumers, and decomposers.
Energy is not created or destroyed. The research shows that it flows from one level to another through various organisms.
In a terrestrial ecosystem, the main source of energy is the sun which is used by plants to produce their own food. The plants are later eaten by animals as the source of food.
Here are examples of a food chain in the terrestrial ecosystem:
- Grass (Producer) —–Goat (Primary Consumer) —– Man (Secondary consumer)
What Is the Food Web?
Food Web describes all food chains in a given ecosystem. It typically shows the interconnection of the living organisms in the ecosystem.
The Foodweb is created to show the interactions and relationships of different species within an ecosystem. The sun is the main source of energy that is used by plants to produce their own food through photosynthesis.
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Differences between Food Chain and Food Web
- Food chain refers to the linear pathway which shows the energy flow from lower trophic to higher trophic level whereas food web shows interconnection and interrelationship of several food chains
- Food chains show a single linear pathway of energy flow whereas the food web shows a number of interconnected pathways through which the energy flows within an ecosystem.
- A food chain is a single unit whereas a food web is a collection of several interconnected food chains.
- The number of trophic levels in the food chain is 4-5 whereas that of the food web are quite numerous
- Food chain help to increase instability in an ecosystem whereas the food web increases stability in the ecosystem
- A single trophic level affects the whole food chain whereas in the food web it does not cause disturbance
- The Food web improves the adaptability and competitiveness of organisms unlike the food chain
- The types of food chains are grazing food chain and detritus food chain while the food web has no types
Similarities between Food Chain and Food Web
- Both depict energy flow and nutrients flow
- Both have lines that connect various species in the ecosystem.
- Both start from the primary producer
- Both shows interaction and feeding relationship
- Both explain population patterns in an ecosystem
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The core difference between the food chain and the food web is that the food chain shows a single energy flow while the food web shows a number of interconnected pathways through which the energy flows within an ecosystem.
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