JASON Digital Lab: Earth Systems: Food Web

JASON Digital Lab: Earth Systems: Food Web

Food is energy, and energy makes life possible. All living things must nourish themselves in order to survive. Because many animals nourish themselves by eating plants or other animals, a food chain is created. Food chains do not exist in isolation, but form an intricate network of interrelationships—a food web.

Plants are the first stage (or trophic level) of a food chain. Plants are called producers (or autotrophs—"self-feeders") because they produce energy from simple raw materials, such as sunlight and inorganic nutrients.

As soon as an animal eats a plant, a food chain is formed. All animals are heterotrophs ("other-feeders"), since they find energy by consuming other living things.

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