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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