How would a food web be affected if a species disappeared from an ecosystem?

1 Answer
May 15, 2018

A food web would be affected to some extent, if a certain species disappeared.


Take a chain into consideration. If we break one link, the entire chain is broken.


The disappearing of one species can break an entire food chain and as a food web is a series of different, entangled food chains, it is most likely to get affected.


We have a food chain as follows:

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Now say, we kill off the hawk to the verge of extinction. It will most definitely affect the chain, but now, talking about affect on the food web:

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As the hawk plays the role of a final consumer in the web, its disappearance will affect the food web. There are other consumers, such as the mountain lion, that act similarly to a hawk in the food web. However, the extinction of the hawk can cause the populations of its prey, such as the squirrel, to increase rapidly. This can have wide-reaching impacts. For example, it might over-consume the producers, like the shrub, which is also a food source for other species. As you can see, removing one organism from an ecosystem can have hazardous and wide-reaching impacts.