The table describes some common terms used to describe living things in their environment:
|Environment||All the conditions that surround a living organism|
|Habitat||The place where an organism lives|
|Population||All the members of a single species that live in a habitat|
|Community||All the populations of different organisms that live together in a habitat|
|Ecosystem||A community and the habitat in which organisms live|
A food chain shows the different species of an organism in an ecosystem, and what eats what.
Producers and consumers
A food chain always starts with a producer, an organism that makes food. This is usually a green plant, because plants can make their own food by photosynthesis.
A food chain ends with a consumer, an animal that eats a plant or another animal.
Here is an example of a simple food chain:
grass → cow → human
The arrows in food chains show the way in which energy is moving. They do not show what eats what.
Other words in a food chain
There are several words used to describe the organisms in a food chain. Study this food chain:
The plant is the producer and the animals are consumers:
A consumer that only eats plants is called a herbivore, and a consumer that only eats other animals is called a carnivore. An omnivore is an animal that eats both plants and animals.
Predators and prey
A predator is an animal that hunts and eats other animals, and the prey is the animal that gets eaten by the predator. In the food chain above:
- the frog is a predator and the grasshopper is its prey
- the hawk is a predator and the frog is its prey