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Exploring The Food Chain

Updated on May 17, 2013

where are you on the chain?

If you want to understand an animal’s behaviour, the most effective way is to observe that animal in its natural habitat, its ecosystem. For example, watching what an animal or bird eats will give you important information about that animal.

The food chain, or what eats what, is the living part of an ecosystem. A food chain shows how each living thing gets its food. Some animals eat plants and some animals eat other animals.

Al of this is possible because of the relationship between the Sun and the Earth. The Sun reaches the Earth and provides the energy that ecosystems need to produce the green leafy plants that form the basis of our food system. This process is called photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis converts light energy into chemical energy; the leaves of green plants receive energy from the sun and transform this into food that animals and humans, for example, can consume.

In photosynthesis, the energy absorbed by chlorophyll transforms carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates and oxygen. Chlorophyll channels the energy of sunlight into chemical energy.

All the food that people eat is dependent upon plants for their basic energy source. This is true whether people consume plants, animals or both. The animals that we eat, eat the plants or derivatives of the plants, to produce the food (meat) that we turn into steaks, chops and burgers.

Vegetarians and carnivores may argue over what makes an acceptable meal but both rely on photosynthesis for supper.

Just where do human sit on the food chain? Well, food chains are composed of producers, consumers, which are broken down into herbivores and carnivores, and decomposers. All are essential for the circle to keep on turning.

Humans fit into the consumer category and humans are both herbivores and carnivores and some will say that humans are actually omnivores, because when faced with starvation, we will eat just about anything, including each other.

I often hear people refer to humans as being at the top of the food chain, but consider this; you are out walking along a forest or mountain trail when suddenly just up ahead there is a grizzly bear looking straight at you, who is higher on the food chain at that moment/

You are swimming in the ocean and are suddenly confronted by a shark, who is lunch?

Okay, these are extremes examples and properly trained and armed the human is likely to come out on tops in either encounter.

Let’s look at a smaller example, the mosquito, they feed off of us and other warm blooded animals , sure we can slap them and spray them and coat ourselves in lotion to keep them at bay but should one get a good drink from us and we may become ill.

Lyme disease is another threat carried by very small beings and to get even smaller still what about the colds and flues that assault humans every year? Where do they sit on the food chain?

By studying food chains and the interconnected relationships between the various members of the chain we are able to gain an understanding of how Nature works.

Everything eats and this is the common ground that connects us all together. Everything plays a role and we do not really know what role anyone element plays until after it vanishes and things begin to change.

What we do know is that creature had someone for lunch and was someone else’s lunch? Who will go uneaten and who will go unfed if that creature is removed from the ecosystem?

What effects will these changes bring? These are questions that need to be answered before we shrug off a species’ disappearance from the Great Food Chain that is Earth.

The Food Chain


Submit a Comment

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    9 years ago from New Brunswick

    umm , not true, you get bitten by a mosquito and contract west nile virus get sick and die, msoquio wins or drink wome water and get salmonella, man may eb enar the op but...

    another scenario gun does not fire, bear has you for lunch.

  • profile image

    captain obvious 

    9 years ago

    umm... okay when i see a grizly bear looking at me and i pull out my 9mm and shoot him 16 times im pretty sure im top of the food chain

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for the comment and kind words.

  • johnr54 profile image

    Joanie Ruppel 

    10 years ago from Texas

    I look forward to your hubs. They give a great perspective on a variety of topics. This one certainly puts us in our place.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thank you for your comment. A sequel is in the offing. :)

  • Chef Jeff profile image

    Chef Jeff 

    10 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

    When we forget we are all a part of nature on this big blue marble, we are in trouble! Great writing, excellent topic, and I hope you'll expand upon the theme soon!

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thank you, I enjoy writing them.

  • Minnie's Mom profile image

    Minnie's Mom 

    10 years ago from Seattle, WA

    Your hubs are always fascinating to read, thanks for all your research and hard work.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    thanks for the kind words

  • Rob Jundt profile image

    Rob Jundt 

    10 years ago from Midwest USA

    Nice hub. Well thought out and presented.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    thanks, and yes if we are lucky we will one day be plant food and thus complete the circle.

  • funride profile image

    Ricardo Nunes 

    10 years ago from Portugal

    Great hub as usual. I would say I´m in the middle of the food chain but I´ll do everything possible to avoid being eaten. IMHO I think that every living creature are at the same level in the food chain as plants also use organic compound as food so they will eat us eventually.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick


  • dindin profile image


    10 years ago from Texas

    Another great hub on an interesting topic.

    Good work as usual


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