How to Learn About Biodiversity and Food Webs

A diverse ecosystem will also be resilient, because it contains many species with overlapping ecological functions that can partially replace one another. When a particular species is destroyed by a severe disturbance so that a link in the network is broken, a diverse community will be able to survive and reorganize itself... In other words, the more complex the network is, the more complex its pattern of interconnections, the more resilient it will be. ~ Fritjof Capra

Biodiversity is referred to as the web of life because many microorganisms, plants and animals interact with each other. The relationship among species is an important part of biodiversity.


  1. Image titled Learn About Biodiversity and Food Webs Step 1
    Understand what a food chain is. A food chain is a sequence of who eats whom. The usual order of a food chain is:
    • sunlight
    • plants
    • herbivore
    • omnivore; and/or
    • carnivore.
  2. Image titled Learn About Biodiversity and Food Webs Step 2
    Use a real life example demonstrating a food chain to help you understand it better. Millions of food chains exist around the world. The following farming food chain example is one example of a simple food chain based only on green plants, goats, microorganisms and humans.
    • Green grass and wildflowers use sunlight to grow in a field maintained by a farmer. This field is called a pasture.
    • A goat (herbivore) grazes on these delicious plants in the pasture.
    • In turn, the goat provides milk, meat and wool for the farmer, his or her family, and others.
    • The goat also provides fertilizer.
    • Microorganisms decompose the goats’ poop or excrement, which provides fertilizers for the grass and flowers to grow.
  3. Image titled Learn About Biodiversity and Food Webs Step 3
    Understand the food web. Food chains that are related in an ecosystem form a food web.
    • In forest ecosystems, many types of herbivores eat the trees and other plant life. Carnivores, or meat-eating animals, such as tigers, lions, and wolves, prey on herbivores. They usually prey on wild animals. Sometimes, if the habitats or homes of carnivores are destroyed, they may also attack goats, sheep or cows for food. For example, in India, farmers may lose their goats to tigers; in Eastern Africa, cows may provide lunch for lions and in Western Canada and the US, wolves sometimes attack the domesticated sheep. Carnivores are an important part of biodiversity because they regulate herbivore populations so that they do not eat their favorite plant species to extinction.
  4. Image titled Learn About Biodiversity and Food Webs Step 4
    Prepare a class project on food chains and webs. As part of a class project, either individually, or in groups, prepare a project that demonstrates the food chain and food web in the context of biodiversity. It is a good idea to select different food chains and food webs before starting, to ensure that the class learns as much as possible about different ecosystem chains, e.g., forest, marine, mountain, desert, etc. Ideas for trying include:
    • Preparing a talk with illustrations of the food chain and web;
    • Making a model of a food chain and food web, using small models made from recycled materials or reuse your small figurines, plant life, pebbles etc.;
    • Making a film of the interaction of life in a food web. Present each film to class; or
    • Making a poster featuring a food chain to display on the classroom wall.


  • Essential terms:

    • A herbivore is an animal that eats only plants.
    • A carnivore is an animal that eats only flesh.
    • An omnivore is an animal that eats plants and other animals. Humans are omnivores, as they eat plants and animals.
  • Animals that rely on the farmer for food and protection are called domesticated


Things You'll Need

  • Project workbook, paper and writing materials
  • Modelling materials, recycled where possible or natural objects
  • Images, photos and illustrations
  • Filming equipment

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Biodiversity | Science for Kids