Food chain

Food chain (diagram)
A basic food chain diagram, shown sunlight working on minerals and water to produce plants, which are eaten by plant consumers (herbivores), which are eating by carnivores, which are eaten by larger carnivores, birds, snakes, or owls, higher up on the food chain, so to say.
In terminology, food chain refers to the model through which carbon cycles via a "closed chain" (Lotka, 1925) between the atmosphere, plants, and animals, or "chains of animals linked together by food" (Elton, 1926) who at the bottom chain are linked to plants, who via the action of "raw sunlight and chemicals" become a form edible to animals.

In 1925, Alfred Lotka, in his §:Carbon Dioxide Cycle, stated that the organic carbon cycle, reduced to its simplest terms, is a “closed chain of three links”, which he diagrammed as follows: [1]

Food chain (Lotka, 1925)

In 1926, English zoologist Charles Elton, citing Lotka, introduced the energy-based “food chain” model, a term he coined, stylized supposedly on Lotka's earlier "closed chain" usage, as follows: [2]

“Animals are not always struggling for existence, but when they do begin, they spend the greater part of their lives eating. Feeding is such a universal and commonplace business that we are inclined to forget its importance. The primary driving force of all animals is the necessity of finding the right kind of food and enough of it. Food is the burning question in animal society, and the whole structure and activities of the community are dependent upon questions of food-supply. We are not concerned here with the various devices employed by animals to enable them to obtain their food, or with the physiological processes which enable them to utilize in their tissues the energy derived from it. It is sufficient to bear in mind that animals have to depend ultimately upon plants for their supplies of energy, since plants alone are able to turn raw sunlight and chemicals into a form edible to animals. Consequently herbivores are the basic class in animal society. Another difference between animals and plants is that while plants are all competing for much the same class of food, animals have the most varied diets, and there is a great divergence in their food habits. 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 on this food-cycle. There are, in fact, chains of animals linked together by food, and all dependent in the long run upon plants. We refer to these as ‘food-chains’, and to all the food-chains in a community as the ‘food-cycle’.”

This simple outline, of course, is but a foray into the more advanced chemical thermodynamic energy coupling theory, developed by Fritz Lipmann in the 1940s.

Other authors to have employed "food chain thermodynamics" models include: Vladimir Stanchinsky (1930), Raymond Lindeman (1942), Paul Colinvaux (1979), Paul Ehrlich, and in a unique way Vladimir Vernadsky (1926) who outlined a blurry type of food chain picture of free energy, so to speak.

In 1988, Americans Daniel Brooks and Edward Wiley, in their Evolution as Entropy, seems to give a energetics and or thermodynamics synopsis of food chain models, as follows: [3]

“Beginning with Lotka (1924) and Elton (1927), continuing with Lindeman (1942) through today—Ulanowicz (1986), Wicken (1987), etc.—ecological processes have been characterized fruitfully in thermodynamic terms.”

(add discussion)
Food chain model
An energy transformation model of the food chain, according to which energy is modeled to flow from sunlight to plant matter to herbivores to carnivores.

Atheism | Meaning
See main: Zerotheism Bible (Ѻ)
Of note, in regards to the non-religious and or atheist group of believers, there are many 21st century parents who take the above description as the model of godless existence to which they teach to their children; something along the lines of answering the young child query ‘what happens when you die?’ or ‘what is the point of existence’ with the answer: ‘you become part of the food chain’ or the ‘lion eats you’, among other variants; the following are examples:

“The lion eats you.”
— Anon (c.2005), answer to child’s query, on what happens when you die, by European-born American female atheist parent [4]

“We’re the highest on the food chain.”
— Hudson (2016), comment of seven-year-old, while watching the introduction video of “Zerotheism for Kids”, after looking at the Darwin tree vs cross, Jan 30

1. Lotka, Alfred J. (1925). Elements of Physical Biology (republished (Ѻ) as: Elements of Mathematical Biology, which includes: corrections from Lotka’s notes and a completed list of his publications) (pdf) (Ѻ) (txt) (pgs. 155-56). Dover, 1956.
2. Elton, Charles S. (1927). Animal Ecology (energy, 10+ pgs; food-chains, pg. 56). Sedgewick and Jackson.
3. Brooks, Daniel R. and Wilson, Edward O. (1988). Evolution as Entropy: Toward a Unified theory of Biology (pg. 31). University of Chicago Press.
4. Thims, Libb. (c.2005). "Personal Interview with Atheist Female Parent on What She Tells Her Children About What Happens When They Die", Chicago.

External links
Food chain – Wikipedia.

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