The Arctic Food Web

The Arctic Food Web

The Food Web

In the image below, I have drawn a food web for the Arctic. The producers are eaten by the primary consumers (portrayed by a green line). The primary consumers' are food for the secondary consumers (shown by red arrows). Some secondary consumers eat each other (shown by red arrows). The decomposers are breaking down all the dead producers, primary and secondary consumers (shown by the purple circle and arrow).

When the Food Web is Disrupted

A food web can be disturbed in many ways, some of the causes include natural disasters, sickness, invasive species, over hunting, etc. In the food web above, if one of the animals becomes extinct or dies, then the entire web would be disrupted and many of the animals would be affected.

For example, if poachers hunted the polar bears and made them become extinct, the animals that were being consumed by the bear, the beluga whales and ringed seals, would grow in population. This would then affect the cod that they eat and would cause a food shortage that would affect both the hunters and the hunted.

A food web can be disturbed by the introduction of a new species into it, one example of this being dogs on the island of Mauritius. Before humans arrived there, where the dodo birds lived, they were at the top of the food web. When the humans came, they brought dogs with them that became the new apex predators. The humans also hunted the dodos, contributing to the extinction of those birds. Because the dogs did not have anything hunting them, they started increasing in population and hunting the dodos, which in turn decreased in population. The final result of this was the dodos becoming extinct.