ence title Food Chains
by Mandy Barrow

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All plants and animals need food which provides the energy they need to live.

Green plants make their own food. They use the energy from the sun to make their own food. Some of this food is used, and some is stored in the roots, stems, and leaves.

Plants are called producers (they make/produce their own food by photosynthesis.)

Animals cannot make their own food. Animals get their energy and biomass by consuming (eating) other organisms.
All animals are consumers ( they consume/eat)

What is a Food Chain?

All living things need food to give them the energy to grow and move. A food chain shows how each living thing gets its food. It shows who is eating who. The arrow means "is eaten by" .

Grass ---->
Grasshopper ---->
Toad ---->
Snake ---->

Grass is eaten by Grasshopper is eaten by Toad is eaten by Snake is eaten by Hawk

A food chain always starts with a green plant ...
All plants are PRODUCERS.)

...... which is eaten by an animal.
( All the animals in a food chain are CONSUMERS)

A food chain ends with a predator.
(The predator is at the top of the food chain)

The Sun is very important for all living things, without the sun the plants would not grow, without plants there would be no animals

What are food chains?
A Child friendly site

Food Chains on Safari

Who eats what? - Find out what various animals eat.

Food Chains and Food Web Quiz

Food Chain Quiz

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

A food web consists of many food chains.

A food chain only follows just one path as animals find food.
eg: A hawk eats a snake, which has eaten a frog, which has eaten a grasshopper, which has eaten grass.

A food web shows the many different paths plants and animals are connected.
eg: A hawk might also eat a mouse, a squirrel, a frog or some other animal. The snake may eat a beetle, a caterpillar, or some other animal. And so on for all the other animals in the food chain.

A food web is several food chains connected together.

Create your own Food Web

Food Chains and Food Web
Includes example of a pond foodweb

Fun with Food Webs - Build your own
Meadow, Artic and pond food webs

Build Your Own Food Webs
Interactive tool where you can create your own food web.

For more information on the differences click here

Meaning of Words

Herbivore - an animal that eats plants. (See photos)
Carnivore - an animal that eats other animals. (See photos)
Omnivore - an animal that eats both plants and animals eg bears and humans. (See photos)

Producer - usually a green plant that produces its own food by photosynthesis
Primary Consumer - Animals that consume only plant matter. They are herbivores - eg rabbits, caterpillars, cows, sheep, and deer.
Secondary Consumer - Animals that eat primary consumers (herbivores).
Tertiary Consumer - Animals that eat secondary consumers ie carnivores that feed on other carnivores.

Predators - kill for food. They are either secondary or tertiary consumers - eg polar bears, golden eagles
Prey - are the organisms that predators feed on. Examples of predator and prey species are: fox and rabbit; blue tit and caterpillar; wolf and lamb

Scavenger - a consumer that eats dead animals (e.g. crab, crow, vulture, buzzard and hyena. )
Detritivore - a consumer that obtains its nutrients from detritus
Decomposer - an organism such as bacteria and fungi that breaks down dead organisms and their wastes. . (They do not 'eat' the food like scavengers, as they have no mouth-parts. Instead they break down solid matter into liquids which they can absorb.) Examples: bacteria and some fungi.
(See photos)
Trophic Level - A trophic level is each level in a food chain. Matter is always 'lost' as heat energy at each trophic level.
Basal Energy Requirement (B.E.R.) - the amount of energy used by an organism's body just to keep alive, when no food is being digested and no muscular work is being done.

Food Web - a network of interrelated food chains in a given area


Ecosystems -TUNDRA Food Web: A Deciduous Forest Energy Pyramid

Food Chain as an Example of a System
A model of a food chain and the movement of energy.

The pyramid of Energy

The pyramid of Biomas

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I teach computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.