zoology biology benno meyer rochow science blog food pyramid Florian Nock

Food Pyramid

It’s not the same as the “food web” or “food chain”

Even well-seasoned biologists, as has happened once at a conference that I attended in Makarska (Croatia), can make mistakes and confuse the two terms “food pyramid” and “food web”. Food webs can be inextricably complicated and contain all possible interactions between various plant and animal species. They not only involve which kinds of food the individuals of a species accept, but also how the food species interact with each other, what roles the enemies, parasites and disease causing organisms play, whether immature and adult individuals have different food preferences and face attacks from different organisms. Even what happens to the dead organisms enters into a food web. Such extraordinarily complex relationships are extremely hard to model, unless one focuses on a food web with very few “players” in it, for example Antarctic springtails (tiny arthropods, which co-exist with less than a handful of other species on the southern continent). —>