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Food Web


Food Web – "The complex intertwining of the interrelated food chains in an ecosystem." – U.S. Geological Survey, 2010

Food Web – "Diagram of the set of food links between species in a community that indicates which ones are the eaters and which are eaten." - Orians, 1995

Food Web – "Complex network of many interconnected food chains and feeding relationships." - Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study, 2009

Food Web – "Set of trophic relationships among species in a community; schematically, the pattern often resembles a web of species each connected by trophic interactions with other species." – Naeem, 2001

Food Web – "Feeding or tropic relationships of the species populations in an ecosystem. A highly idealized characterization of the food chain consisting of producers (plants)/herbivores/lower carnivores/upper carnivores/top carnivores is seldom realized. The web concept of a complex of many changing feeding relationships is a more realistic concept both in the wild and in controlled ecologies." – Adey, 1995

Related Definitions

Food Chain – "Series of organisms, each eating or decomposing the preceding one. A simple example of a food chain is one in which a red-tailed hawk eats an eastern phoebe, which has eaten a great number of insects that lived in streams, which have all eaten stream algae." – Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study, 2009

Trophic Level – "Group of organisms united by obtaining their energy from the same part of the food web of a biological community." – Orians, 1995

USGS Information

Related Science Feature Articles


Adey, W.H., 1995, Controlled ecologies, in Neirenberg, W.A., ed., Encyclopedia of Environmental Biology: San Diego, Calif., Academic Press, v. 1, p. 413-423.

Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study, 2009, Glossary--Teacher and student resources: Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study, access date January 13, 2010.

Naeem, S., 2001, Complexity versus diversity, in Levin, S.A., ed., Encyclopedia of Biodiversity: San Diego, Calif., Acdemic Press, v. 1, p. 831-843.

Orians, G.H., 1995, Ecology, aggregate variables, in Neirenberg, W.A., ed., Encyclopedia of Environmental Biology: San Diego, Calif., Academic Press, v. 1, p. 581-588.

U.S. Geological Survey, 2010, Food Web--USGS Science Topics: U.S. Geological Survey, access date January 12, 2010.

Disclaimer: The definitions on this page are provided for information purposes only, and do not indicate endorment by the U.S. Geological Survey.

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