The three basic requirements for life are Energy and Water so that the necessary biochemistry can take place to create Biomass.
Being at the top of the Food Chain means by definition that we have mastered the art of Energy appropriation from Biomass.
The term “Food Chain” references how algae are food for zooplankton, zooplankton are food for small fish, small fish are food for big fish, big fish are food for mammals etc. In our conventional scientific model these are portrayed as sequential links in a chain, hence the “Food Chain”.
Systems Theory has concepts of Feedback and Fractal mathematics where the output of one iteration of an equation is fed back as the input for the next iteration.
Now apply these concepts the Nutrient Cycle; nutrients are assimilated by algae to produce algal Biomass, which is eaten by zooplankton, which digests the algae and re-processes the nutrients, to produce zooplankton Biomass, which is eaten by small fish which digests the zooplankton and re-processes the nutrients to produce fish Biomass and so on.
Understanding Biomass formation in the Systems Theory paradigm where the output of Biomass formation is fed back (literally) into the Nutrient Cycle for the next iteration more accurately describes the process than the mechanical Newtonian concept of a chain.
Fractal mathematics is a described as a “recursive, and infinitely self-similar set”. This sounds like a good description of how nutrients are infinitely recycled to produce the biochemical set of lipids, carbohydrates and proteins, all similar in every manifestation of Biomass, but equally every manifestation of Biomass is distinctly unique.