What Is the Definition of a Food Web?

A food web is a diagram showing which animals eat which other animals in a given ecological community. It also aims to show the transfer or flow of energy and materials, such as sunlight or carbon, that occurs between species via their feeding relationships.

Individual species might be referred to as “nodes” in a food web and connected to each other via ‘links’ (arrows or lines) to show their feeding relationship.

Unlike a food chain, which shows only some interdependent species in a linear arrangement (for example, this predator eats that herbivore, which eats those plants), a food web aims for a more complete depiction.

The concept was pioneered by the ecologist Charles Elton in 1927.