2.1. 2: Trophic Levels

December 15th, 2009

Trophic level:The position that an organism occupies in a food chain, or a group of organisms in a community that occupy the same position in food chains.

It is possible to classify the way organisms obtain energy into two categories.


  • Producers or Autotrophs: These manufacture their own food from simple inorganic substances (plants)
  • Consumers or Heterotrophs: Feed on autotrophs or other heterotrophs to obtain energy (herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, detrivores and decomposers
  • trophic levelsBut within the consumers their is a feeding hierarchy of feeding

    Plants capture the suns energy and convert it to glucose, herbivores eat plants and carnivores eat herbivores - different feeding levels (Greek for food is trophe)

  • Trophic level 1 - producer
  • Trophic level 2 - herbivore (primary consumers)
  • Trophic level 3 - carnivore (secondary consumers)
  • Trophic level 4 - carnivore (tertiary consumer)
  • The first trophic level, the autotrophs supports the energy requirements of all the other trophic levels above.

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