Environment and Ecology


What is the difference between a food chain and a food web?

A food chain refers to the transfer of energy from producers through herbivores through carnivores in a community. An example of a food chain would be little fish eating plankton and those little fish in turn being eaten by bigger fish. The term food web is broader, as it includes interconnected food chains within a specific ecosystem (perhaps the bigger fish eat the plankton as well!). A food web describes a nutritional portrait of the ecosystem. In 1927, English biologist Charles Elton (1868–1945) was one of the first scientists to diagram a food web—in his case, a description of feeding relationships on Bear Island in the Arctic.


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