5 Major Difference Between Grazing Food Chain And Detritus Food Chain

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What A Is Food Chain?

A food chain is a descriptive diagram including a series of arrows, each pointing from one species to another, representing the flow of food energy from one feeding group of organisms to another. There are two types of food chains, they include:

  • Grazing food chain
  • Detritus food chain

The grazing food chain begins with autotrophs whereas the detritus food chain begins with dead organic matter.  In a grazing food chain, energy and nutrients move from plants to the herbivores consuming them and to the carnivores or omnivores preying upon the herbivores.  In detritus food chain, dead organic matter of plants and animals is broken down by decomposers e.g bacteria and fungi and moves to detrivores and then carnivores.

What Is Grazing Food Chain?

  A grazing food chain is a food chain in which the energy in the lowest trophic level is derived from photosynthesis.  In grazing food chains, the first energy transfer is from plants to herbivores. In an aquatic ecosystem, the grazing food chain is the major conduit for energy flow. However, in a terrestrial ecosystem, a much larger fraction of energy flows through the detritus food chain than through the grazing food chain.

What You Need To Know About Grazing Food Chain

  1. In grazing food chain, producers (autotrophs/green plants) serve as a source of food and constitute the first trophic level.
  2. Sunlight serves as the main source of energy for grazing food chain.
  3. This type of food chain adds energy into the ecosystem.
  4. Grazing food chain fixes inorganic nutrients.
  5. Grazing food chain involves all macroscopic organisms.

What Is Detritus Food Chain?

A detritus food chain goes from dead organic matter into microorganisms and then to organisms feeding on detritus and their predators.  Dead organic matter or detritus feeding organisms are referred to as detrivores or decomposers.  The detrivores are eaten by predators.

Detritus food chains are found in a variety of places such as the bottom of lakes and oceans which are too dark to carry out photosynthesis. Thus, their ecosystems are less dependent on direct solar energy. Unlike the grazing food chain, the detritus food chain produces a large amount of energy to the atmosphere.

What You Need To Know About Detritus Food Chain

  1. Detritus food chain begins with detritivores (decomposers) that feed on the dead and decaying matter and serves to release the nutrients back into the atmosphere.
  2. Energy for detritus food chain comes from the remains of detritus.
  3. This type of food chain takes up energy from the detritus, ensuring maximum utilization and minimum wastage.
  4. Detritus food chain helps in fixing inorganic nutrients.
  5. Detritus food chain involves sub soil organisms, which can be macroscopic or microscopic.

Also Read: Difference Between Food Web And Food Chain

Difference Between Grazing Food Chain And Detritus Food Chain In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON GRAZING FOOD CHAIN DETRITUS FOOD CHAIN
Description In grazing food chain, producers (autotrophs/green plants) serve as a source of food and constitute the first trophic level.   Detritus food chain begins with detritivores (decomposers) that feed on the dead and decaying matter and serves to release the nutrients back into the atmosphere.  
Main Source Of Energy Sunlight serves as the main source of energy for grazing food chain.   Energy for detritus food chain comes from the remains of detritus.  
Role This type of food chain adds energy into the ecosystem.   This type of food chain takes up energy from the detritus, ensuring maximum utilization and minimum wastage.  
Importance Grazing food chain fixes inorganic nutrients.   Detritus food chain helps in fixing inorganic nutrients.  
Involves Grazing food chain involves all macroscopic organisms.   Detritus food chain involves sub soil organisms, which can be macroscopic or microscopic.  

Importance Of Food Chain

  • It helps in understanding the feeding relationship and the interaction between organisms in any ecosystem.
  • It helps us to understand the problems associated with biological magnification in the ecosystem.
  • It helps us to appreciate the energy flow mechanism and matter circulation in ecosystem and understand the movement of toxic substances in the ecosystem.

Also Read: Difference Between Autotrophic And Heterotrophic Nutrition

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