- The definition of a food chain is a system where a small animal is the food for a larger animal which, in turn, is the food for an even larger animal.
An example of food chain is a fly being eaten by a frog and then the frog is eaten by a larger animal.
A small animal being eaten by a larger is part of the food chain.
- A succession of organisms in an ecological community that are linked to each other through the transfer of energy and nutrients, beginning with an autotrophic organism such as a plant and continuing with each organism being consumed by one higher in the chain.
- Informal A competitive hierarchy: works high up in the corporate food chain.
marine food chain diagram
(plural food chains)
Because the concept of the food chain implies a feeding hierarchy proceeding upwards to a top predator, modern ecologists usually prefer the term food web, since that term allows for a more complicated system of interactions.