The basic difference between food chain and food web is that the food chain is a diagram that describes the process of the transfer of nutritional or food substances through the species that make up an ecosystem. The food web is a graphic representation of the interconnection that occurs between the different food chains.
Comparative table: Difference between food chain and trophic web
|Comparisons||Food chain||Trophic web|
|Definition||Describe the process by which nutrients are transferred between the different animals that make up an ecosystem.||It is the representation of the connection between the food chains that make up an ecosystem.|
|Representation||It represents the transfer of energy from one animal to another through food.||Represents predators and prey connecting them by the link that unites them as producing organisms (plants), consumers (carnivores and herbivores) and decomposers (fungi and bacteria)|
|Consequences||It has no effect on the improvement in the adaptability of organisms, that is, it does not define the possible improvements that a living being can have to adapt to its environment.||Food webs are more complex and can represent an improvement in the competitiveness and adaptability of an organism. This means that a creature can adapt to compete against other animals that consume the same food or that consume it as food. This is why mimicry arises, muscles adapted to the race, larger claws, etc.|
|Representation||It represents a single pathway and lines through which energy and nutrients travel in an ecosystem. That is to say: Producers-consumers of the first order-consumers of the second order-decomposers.||It represents the number of interconnected food chains through which energy and nutrients travel in an ecosystem. It also represents the stability of an ecosystem. The greater the presence of complex interactions between autotrophs, mixotrophs and heterotrophs, the stability increases. On the other hand, if there are isolated food chains, the ecosystem is very unstable. For example, creatures that only consume a particular species of plant or predators adapted to consume one or two species of animals.|
It is a graphic method that allows describing the natural process by means of which nutrients are transmitted between the different animal species that make up an ecosystem. In the food chain, a species consumes as food the one that follows it, and this, in turn, consumes the species that precedes it.
For example, a cow consumes grass and receives energy from it, in turn, the cow is consumed by wolves, who receive energy and nutrients from their meat; the wolf is eaten by fungi, bacteria, insects and scavengers, thus completing the food chain.