A food chain is a series of steps in which organisms get the food they need to survive. The leaf is a primary producer. When producers and consumers die, their remains are broken down by organisms called decomposers. Decomposers get the energy they need by consuming the remains. They turn the remains into simpler materials that go back into the air, soil and water around them.
Many food chains linked together create a food web.
A leaf-caterpillar-spider-bird food chain joins with other food chains at many points. Caterpillars, for example, are eaten by some kinds of mice and beetles. Birds are eaten by coyotes and hawks and domestic cats. Coyotes also eat hawks, hawks eat beetles and mice.
A robin hops across the grass. It is looking for food. Suddenly it spots a worm, it swoops for the worm, but the worm escapes by slipping underground. As it tunnels, the worm swallows soil. It’s tough stomach grinds the dirt and this is how it releases the food particles for digestion. The particles may be bits of dead plants or animals. Worms even pull fallen leaves underground to eat them. Later the ground up leftovers become part of the worms droppings. These worm droppings are full of nutrients and are fabulous for putting on the garden.