Food Web

  • A food web (or food cycle) is the natural interconnection of food chains and generally a graphical representation (usually an image) of what-eats-what in an ecological community.

  • Another name for food web is a consumer-resource system.
  • An ecosystem may consist of several interrelated food chains.
  • The same food resource is part of more than one chain, especially when that resource is at the lower trophic levels.
  • If a keystone species is removed, then not only the succeeding links of the chain will be affected but also whole ecosystem is affected.
  • The food web provides more than one alternative for food to most of the organisms in an ecosystem and therefore increases their chance of survival.
  • For example, grasses may serve food for rabbit or grasshopper or goat or cow. Similarly a herbivore may be food source for many different carnivorous species.
  • Food availability and preferences of food of the organisms may shift seasonally e.g. we eat watermelon in summer and peaches in the winter.
  • Thus there are interconnected networks of feeding relations that take the form of food webs.

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