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food chainNahrungskette (ger.)

  • A series of organisms, each of which is dependent on the next for food, esp. by direct consumption or predation. (OED)

    each food-fish is dependent upon a food-chain; the organisms forming any link of the chain supporting those of the next link and being themselves dependent upon the next link in the other direction, while the chain ends in the physical conditions of the sea-water

    Kerr, J.G. (1915). Plankton. Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society 1915, 18-19: 19; cf. id. (1914). Plankton: Abstract of lecture. Transactions of the Rothesay Natural History Society, Buteshire, 7, 53-61; id. (1914). Plankton. Transactions of the Buteshire Natural History Society 1914, 1-9.


    there was the problem of what might be called the food-chain which existed in ponds, lakes, and other fresh waters, extending from the lowest algæ up to the fishes

    Scourfield, D.J. (1918). [Observations on the exhibition of pond-life]. Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society 1918, 245-6: 245.


    Each such fish [of the marketable fishes] has its "food-chain" or series of alternative chains, leading back from the food of man to invertebrates upon which it preys and then to the food of these, and so down to the smalles and simplest organisms in the sea

    Herdman, W.A. (1920). Oceanography and the seafisheries. Sci. Monthly 11, 289-96: 295 (also in Nature 105 (1920), 813-25: 824).


    Da das Phytoplankton das erste Glied in der Nahrungskette ist, also die „Urnahrung“ der Meerestiere darstellt, und der Fischbestand in letzter Instanz vom Phytoplankton abhängig ist, so haben diese Ergebnisse auch Bedeutung für die praktische Seefischerei.

    Schulze-Forster (1922). Der Einfluß von Wasserströmung auf die Mengenentfaltung der Meeresorganismen. Wasser und Gas 12, 1128.


    each component of the system appears as a link in a chain or a network of chains, receiving contributions from components (sources) above, and discharging material into other components (sinks) below. Food chains [...] are a particular example of such chains of components. The study of food chains is one of the important tasks of the economic biologist.

    Lotka, A.J. (1925). Elements of Physical Biology: 176.


    The herbivores are usually preyed upon by carnivores, which get the energy of the sunlight at third-hand, and these again may be preyed upon by other carnivores, and so on, until we reach an animal which has no enemies, and which forms, as it were, a terminus in this food-cycle. There are, in fact, chains of animals linked together by food, and all dependent on the long run upon plants. We refer to these as "food-chains," and to all the food-chains in a community as "food-cycle."

    Elton, C. (1927). Animal Ecology: 56.


    food chain A sequence of organisms on successive trophic levels within a community, through which energy is transferred by feeding; energy enters the food chain during fixation by primary producers (mainly green plants) and passes to the herbivores (primary consumers) and then to the carnivores (secondary and tertiary consumers).

    Lincoln, R.J., Boxshall, G.A. & Clark, P.F. (1982). A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics: 94.