In natural environment or an ecosystem, the relationships between the food chains are inter-connected. These relationships are very complex, as one organism may be a part of multiple food chains. Hence, a web like structure is formed in place of a linear food chain. The web like structure if formed with the interlinked food chain and such matrix that is interconnected is known as a food web.
Food webs are an indispensible part of an ecosystem; these food webs allows an organism to obtain food from more than one type of organism of the lower trophic level. Every living being is responsible and is a part of multiple food chains in the given ecosystem. It is also referred to as a consumer-resource system.
A animal ecologist pioneer Charles Elton (1927) introduced the food web concept which he referred to as food cycle. Charles Elton described the concept of food web as : The carnivore animals prey upon the herbivores. These herbivores get the energy from sun-light. The later carnivores may also be preyed upon by other carnivores. Until a reach where an animal has no enemies it forms a terminus on this food cycle. There are chains of animals that are linked together by food, and all are dependent on plants in the long run. This is referred to as a food chain and all the food chains in a community is known as the food cycle.