Food Webs

A food web is a more complex and interlinked network of feeding relationships within an ecosystem. It differs from a food chain, which is a sequence that shows the feeding relationships of organisms in an ecosystem.

A food web is made up of multiple food chains that are interconnected. This makes ecosystems less vulnerable to changes in the environment.

The disappearance of a single species from a food chain doesn’t necessarily disrupt the entire chain. That’s because the remaining species could potentially find alternative food sources in the larger food web. However, the loss of a species can still have an impact on the rest of the ecosystem.

As you can see, some organisms serve as food for multiple predators. For example, the rat is prey to several different species, including the:

  • Ringtail
  • Whiptail
  • Jackrabbit
  • Pine Marten

If the population of an organism decreases, it can impact the predator species that rely on it for food. However, if the predator species is able to find alternative food sources, it may be able to survive and maintain its population. This flexibility is one way ecosystems maintain balance.