Definitions for food web
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word food web
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
the entirety of interrelated food chains in an ecological community.
Origin of food web:
food web, food cycle(noun)
(ecology) a community of organisms where there are several interrelated food chains
a diagram showing the organisms that eat other organisms in a particular ecosystem, predators being higher in the web than their prey
A food web depicts feeding connections in an ecological community and hence is also referred to as a consumer-resource system. Ecologists can broadly lump all life forms into one of two categories called trophic levels: 1 the autotrophs, and 2 the heterotrophs. To maintain their bodies, grow, develop, and to reproduce, autotrophs produce organic matter from inorganic substances, including both minerals and gases such as carbon dioxide. These chemical reactions require energy, which mainly comes from the sun and largely by photosynthesis, although a very small amount comes from hydrothermal vents and hot springs. A gradient exists between trophic levels running from complete autotrophs that obtain their sole source of carbon from the atmosphere, to mixotrophs that are autotrophic organisms that partially obtain organic matter from sources other than the atmosphere, and complete heterotrophs that must feed to obtain organic matter. The linkages in a food web illustrate the feeding pathways, such as where heterotrophs obtain organic matter by feeding on autotrophs and other heterotrophs. The food web is a simplified illustration of the various methods of feeding that links an ecosystem into a unified system of exchange. There are different kinds of feeding relations that can be roughly divided into herbivory, carnivory, scavenging and parasitism. Some of the organic matter eaten by heterotrophs, such as sugars, provides energy. Autotrophs and heterotrophs come in all sizes, from microscopic to many tonnes - from cyanobacteria to giant redwoods, and from viruses and bdellovibrio to blue whales.
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