Difference Between Food Chain and Food Pyramid

Food Chain vs Food Pyramid

What happened to the energy, which comes from the sun to our planet earth? Both food chain and food pyramid are commonly found in the answer to this question. These two concepts are used to explain the answer scientifically, in different ways. Food chain is describing it qualitatively, whereas food pyramids explain the same deeply and quantitatively.

What is Food Chain?

A food chain is a linear sequence of links that start with basal species such as producers or fine organic matter and end with consumer organisms. Producers are the organisms, which are able to utilize the solar energy directly and synthesize their own food, which is known as photosynthesis. In general, green plants are playing the role of producer. They absorb 1 percent of the whole energy coming from the sun, and the food prepared is stored as starch. The immediate organism linked with the producer is known as primary consumer. As a rule, the primary producer should be herbivorous. The other consumers can be called as secondary, tertiary and quaternary respectively. All the later consumers are certainly carnivores or omnivores. They have the ability of eating other organisms except the first organism. The length can be varying in a food chain from three to six levels depending on the number of consumers. A food chain consisting of a grain, a rat, a snake and an eagle is an example for a food chain that contains four levels. In this case, a grain is the producer, whereas the rat is the primary consumer. A combination of several food chains, which are connected to each other will result in a network called food web.

What is Food Pyramid?

There are several types of food pyramids namely biomass pyramid, number pyramid and productivity pyramid. All are graphical representations used to demonstrate the variation of biomass or biomass productivity at each trophic level in a food chain. Biomass pyramid indicates how the amount of living or organic matter present in an organism is varying along a food chain. It is a relationship between biomass and trophic level. Biomass is indicated as grams per meter squared. In general, this pyramid is a vertical triangle with few exceptions of inverted pyramids, which can occur in a pond eco system. The next type of food pyramid shows the relationship between the size of the population and the level. The number of organisms is decreasing gradually when the level is increasing. The variation of forwarded energy in a food chain is explained by energy pyramids. It gives a clear view of depletion of energy when it flows through a food chain.

What is the difference between Food Chain and Food Pyramid?

• Food chain is a simple relationship about the sequence of linkages in the process where the solar energy is utilized and passed through different types of organisms. It describes only about the types of organisms at different stages but, no indication about any quantitative relationship.

• In the case of a food pyramid, it mainly concern on quantitative interpretations of biomass, energy flow, and number of organisms in each level of a food chain. In other words, food pyramid gives a deep explanation for a food chain by looking at it from various areas.