What is Each Step in a Food Chain Called?

What is Each Step in a Food Chain Called?

A food chain is a linear network of links in a ecoysystem in which organisms transfer energy via the consumption of food. Each step in the food chain is called a trophic level and includes both producers, consumers and decomposers.


A producer is an organism that produces its own food, for example plants. Plants use energy from the sun, air, water and soil to produce their own food.


A consumer is an organism that cannot produce its own food and must take its energy from producers, for example animals. Animals that depend on plants for their food are herbivores. Animals that depend on other animals are carnivores.


Decomposers are organisms that break down dead organic matter and turn it into elements that can then be absorbed by a producer. Examples of decomposers are bacteria and fungi.

Trophic Level

A trophic level is the position of an organism in the food chain. There are several trophic levels, and each organism has a specific role. These levels include:

  • Primary Producers – photosynthesizing plants that use sunlight to convert inorganic matter into organic matter.
  • Primary Consumers – herbivores that consume plants.
  • Secondary Consumers – carnivores that consume other animals.
  • Tertiary Consumers – predators that consume secondary consumers.
  • Detritivores – organisms that feed on dead matter and detritus.

In conclusion, a food chain is a linear network of links in a ecosystem. Each step in a food chain is called a trophic level, with producers, consumers and decomposers at different levels. Understanding the different roles of each trophic level allows us to analyse the food chain and understand its importance in an ecosystem.

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