detrital pathway

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(detritus food-chain)

Most simply, a food-chain in which the living primary producers (green plants) are not consumed by grazing herbivores, but eventually form litter (detritus) on which decomposers (micro-organisms) and detritivores feed, with subsequent energy transfer to various levels of carnivore. Detritus from organisms at higher trophic levels than green plants may also form the basis for a detrital pathway, but the key distinction between this and a grazing pathway lies in the fate of the primary producers.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation — Plant Sciences and Forestry.

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