Trophic level


First trophic level. The plants in this image, and the algae and phytoplankton in the lake, are primary producers. They take nutrients from the soil or the water, and manufacture their own food by photosynthesis, using energy from the sun.

The trophic level of an organism is the position it occupies in a food web. A food chain is a succession of organisms that eat other organisms and may, in turn, be eaten themselves. The trophic level of an organism is the number of steps it is from the start of the chain. A food web starts at trophic level 1 with primary producers such as plants, can move to herbivores at level 2, carnivores at level 3 or higher, and typically finish with apex predators at level 4 or 5. The path along the chain can form either a one-way flow or a food "web". Ecological communities with higher biodiversity form more complex trophic paths.

The word trophic derives from the Greek τροφή (trophē) referring to food or nourishment.[1]

  1. ^ "Trophic". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 16 April 2017 – via www.merriam-webster.com.

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