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Food Web – Definition, Types, Importance, FAQs

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  • Last Updated : 01 Nov, 2022
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The theory of a food web, before known as a food cycle, is commonly credited to Charles Elton, who first presented it in quite a while book Animal Ecology, distributed in 1927. He is viewed as one of the organizers behind present-day nature and his book is an original work. He additionally presented other significant environmental ideas like specialty and succession in this book. An environment contains living things, that are all essential for different food chains. These food chains are then associated with making a food web. This assists us with imagining the way of energy and supplements between various living creatures.

Animals don’t eat similar food consistently and get a kick out of the chance to connect with different prey, so a food chain alone probably won’t be sufficient to address the intricacy of our environments. This is where food networks come in, by consolidating numerous food chains, food webs or networks show you how energy ventures overall around a living space.

Food Web

The food web definition in science is a chart portrayal or diagram that shows the exchange of energy through numerous various creatures in a region. Food webs are made of numerous food chains, which show the exchange of energy between one creature at each trophic level. To depict a food web, we should grasp trophic levels. Trophic levels are the various layers inside a food web and consider the exchange of energy, including producers, primary consumers, secondary consumers, and tertiary consumers. In a food web, arrows are shown from one creature to the other life form that eats it to show the progression or flow of energy between trophic levels.

Food Web


Food webs can likewise help us study and make sense of how the variety of species is connected with how they fit inside the general food system. They may likewise uncover basic data about the connections between intrusive species and those local to a specific environment. In a food web, life forms are organized by their trophic level. The trophic level for a creature alludes to how it fits inside the general food web and depends on how a creature takes care of. In straightforward terms, the food web is basically founded on who feeds from whom in an environmental local area. Food webs are otherwise called consumer-resource systems. These are predominantly founded on various trophic levels. The trophic levels are extensively ordered into two sorts:


The living creatures who make their food all alone, come in these classes. These living creatures mostly utilize the sun and fundamental gases like carbon dioxide and go through an interaction known as photosynthesis, to frame natural matter. This further assists them with developing, maintaining, and replicating. These classifications principally contain plants.


The living creatures which can’t deliver their food and rather get it from other creatures are known as heterotrophs. These living creatures support life by benefiting from autotrophs or different heterotrophs. These classifications predominantly contain animals or humans.

Types of Food Webs

Additionally characterized the kinds of the food web in light of what biological ecosystem is being portrayed on the web.

Connectance Food Webs

In a connectance food web, researchers use arrows for direction to show one animal’s category being devoured by another species.

Interaction Food Webs 

Similar to the connectance food web, scientists likewise use arrows in the interaction food chain to show one animal category being devoured by another species. Nonetheless, the arrows utilized are weighted to show the degree or strength of consumption of one animal group by another.

Energy Flow Food Webs

Energy flow food webs portray the connections between creatures in a biological system by measuring and showing the energy motion between creatures.

Fossil Food Webs

In a fossil food web, researchers endeavor to remake the connections between species in view of accessible proof from the fossil record.

Functional Food Webs

Functional food networks portray the connections between creatures in a biological system by portraying how various populaces impact the development pace of different populaces inside the environment.

Food Chain

A food chain is a linear sequence of creatures through which supplements and energy pass as one eats another. We should take a look at the levels of a common food chain order, beginning from the base, the producers to moving top.

At the foundation of the food chain order starts with the producers. The producers are autotrophs and are most frequently photosynthetic life forms like plants, green growth, or cyanobacteria. The creatures that eat the essential producers are called primary consumers. Primary consumers are normally herbivores, and plant-eaters, however, they might be green growth eaters or microorganisms eaters. The creatures that eat the primary consumers are called secondary consumers. Secondary consumers are for the most part meat-eaters and carnivores. The creatures that eat they are called tertiary consumers. These are meat eaters eating carnivores, similar to hawks or hotshots. Some food chain orders have extra levels, like quaternary consumers-carnivores that eat tertiary consumers. Life forms at the actual top of an established food chain order are called apex consumers.

Food Chain



Producers are living creatures that can incorporate their own food and normally act as the establishment for all food chain orders. For instance – plants, green growth, etc. They set up their own food by changing over daylight into energy through the photosynthesis process. 

Primary Consumers

They are likewise called herbivores creatures who eat producers or plants. In some cases, these primary consumers become prey for different creatures that sit higher on the food chain order. A portion of the primary consumers is herbivores living on the land mice, ponies, birds, and deer. bugs. Fish, zooplankton, etc.

Secondary Consumers

These are creatures who feed on primary consumers. They generally eat meat and are named hunters. Lion, birds of prey, snakes, coyotes, wolves, bugs, etc.

Tertiary Consumers

They are the ones who feed on Secondary consumers. They are accordingly called the top hunters. They are additionally named as dominant hunters and have no regular foes. Normally, you would expect that people are at the head of the natural food chain order, however, they are not.


Decomposers are microorganisms and growths that separate dead or rotting plant and creature matter into substance supplements like carbon and nitrogen that are delivered once again into the dirt, air, and water. This is consumed again by green plants. Instances of decomposers incorporate organisms, microbes, worms, flies, and parasites. They possess the exceptionally base trophic level of the established food chain order.

Difference between a food web and a food chain

A food web can be made out of various food chains together, some that can be extremely short, while others might be significantly longer. The natural food chain follows the progression of energy as it travels through the well-established order of the food chain. The beginning stage is the energy from the sun and this energy is followed as it travels through the food chain. This development is regularly straight, starting with one life form and then onto the next.

For instance, a short food chain might comprise plants that utilize the sun’s energy to deliver their own food through photosynthesis alongside the herbivore that eats these plants. This herbivore might be eaten by two distinct carnivores which are a part food chain. While the food web is made out of all of the food chains in a biological system, the food web will show how the creatures in an environment interconnect with each other.

Importance of studying Food web

  1. To understand what is food chains and food pyramids.
  2. To study how a food web works.
  3. To understand the interactions between organisms and their relationships in an ecosystem.
  4. Helps in the understanding of natural selection.
  5. What are trophic levels in the food pyramid?
  6. It shows how energy is transferred from the bottom level to the top of the energy pyramid.
  7. How energy flows across an ecosystem.
  8. To understand how an organism depends on another in food pyramids.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What is Biomagnification?


Biomagnification is otherwise called food web accumulation. It is the ever-evolving expansion in the concentration of foreign substances or toxins in creatures as the trophic level goes up. This implies lower trophic levels for the most part have more convergences of impurities than more elevated levels. Biomagnification happens when the centralization of a poison increments from one connection in food chain to another. For instance: Polluted fish will affect the following customer and go on up a food web as each level devours another and will bring about the top apex consumers containing the most elevated concentration levels.

Question 2: What are the purposes of the food web?


There are various down-to-earth applications for food webs; they can be extremely valuable in giving knowledge about the manner in which nature works. Here is a portion of the critical elements of a food web:

  • Food webs are built to depict species associations
  • They are utilized to illustrate indirect associations among species
  • For the identification of keystone species
  • To concentrate on base up or hierarchical control of local area structure
  • To uncover various examples of energy moved in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Question 3: What are trophic levels?


Each step or level of the food chain makes a trophic level. The trophic level for a creature alludes to how it fits inside the general food web and depends on how a creature feeds or takes care of. In straightforward terms, the food web is basically founded on who benefits from whom in an environmental local area. The autotrophs are producers of the first level at the trophic level. From that point, Primary consumers and Secondary consumers follow. The last trophic level is that of the decomposers. These jungle levels assist us with understanding the food chain order and move of energy at different trophic levels.

Question 4: What are the different categories of the food chain?


The food chains will vary with each other ecosystems. let’s see some of the food chain examples:

  • Food Chain in a forest: Plants —> Deer —> Tiger
  • Food Chain in a grassland: Grass —> Grasshopper —> Frog —> Snake —> Eagle
  • Food Chain in a pond: Algae —> Small Fishes —> large Fishes —> Fish Eating Birds

Question 5: Do humans stand at top of the food chain?


One can without much of a stretch expect that people are sat at the head of the food chain order however the truth of the matter is that it isn’t correct. Biologists have a factual technique for working out the trophic Level of animal groups in the well-established food chain. Trophic Level addresses the place of a living creature in the food chain concerning the most level of something similar. Yet, people are not viewed as dominant hunters attributable to their various types of diet. Be that as it may, the human trophic levels continue to ascend with the utilization of meat.

The producers or the plants are put at the trophic level 1 by the scientists. The apex predators rank higher and are set at level 4 or level 5. According to the computations of the researchers, the people are set at a trophic degree of 2.21.

Question 6: What does Bioaccumulation mean in the food chain?


Bioaccumulation is the accumulation of pollutants, and how they go into a food chain and accumulate in organic tissue of the living creatures. Toxins are brought into the life forms through admission or openness to air, water, food and soil. In the end, poisons possibly become generally hurtful to top hunters, including people who eat meat or fish.

Question 7: What is the difference between autotrophs and heterotrophs?


Autotrophs are the foundation of the natural order of food chain and food webs, and the energy they catch from light or synthetic substances supports the wide range of various life forms locally. While we’re discussing their role in food chains, we can call autotrophs producers.

Heterotrophs, on the other, can’t catch light or energy to make their own food out of carbon dioxide. People are heterotrophs. All things considered; heterotrophs get natural molecules by feeding on others. Animals, parasites, and numerous microbes are heterotrophs. 

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