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Where on a food web would you typically find humans (near the bottom with the...

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Where on a food web would you typically find humans (near the bottom with the producers, at the top with carnivores, or somewhere in between)? What are some advantages of being part of a food web rather than a food chain?

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ncchemist's profile pic

Posted (Answer #1)

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You are only allowed to ask one or one related set of questions at a time so I edited down accordingly.  A food web is the complex, cyclical series of relationships in a given ecosystem between organisms at different trophic levels that feed off each other as food.  A food chain is a linear subset of a food web that starts with a producer and follows the levels of consumers that subsequently feed off the prior level until you reach the top consumer. 

An example of a food chain in my area starts with wild weeds and grasses at the bottom of the food chain (producers).  Deer feed off these grasses and humans kill and eat the deer.  Humans are typically found at the very top of the food chain with the carnivores.  Even in ecosystems like African savannas where animals like lions and cheetahs are faster and stronger than humans, only humans have the ability to hunt with weapons which puts them at the top.  The major advantage of being part of a food web versus a linear food chain is the possibility for lateral movement.  In other words, instead of being limited to one type of food on a food chain, humans can move along numerous food chains in a web and feed off numerous trophic levels (consumers, producers, and decomposers).

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Posted (Answer #2)

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since humans are considered omnivores, we are definitely not at the bottom with the producers. We are at the top of the food chain close to the carnivores.

In a food chain, once the bottom levels population dies down, the level on top struggles to survive. Since a food web has a variety of levels and connections between organisms, its easier to survive when once species dies out. In other words food webs aren't as dependent as food chains.

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