Common Ecological Misconceptions

Food Webs


 

Misconception

Reference*

Varying the population size of species will only affect the others that are directly connected through a food chain. Griffiths & Grant 1985, Munson 1991
Green plants are the only producers of carbohydrates in ecosystems. Storey 1989
Plants take in food from the outside environment, and/or plants get their food from the soil via roots. Bell 1985, Smith & Anderson 1984
Food webs are interpreted as simple food chains. Munson 1991, Griffiths & Grant 1985
Organisms higher in a food web eat everything that is lower in the food web. Griffiths & Grant 1985
The top of the food chain has the most energy because it accumulates up the chain. Adeniyi 1985
Populations higher on a food web increase in size, because they deplete those lower in the web. Munson 1991, 1994
The relative sizes of prey and predator populations have no bearing on the size of other. Gallegos et al. 1994
In a food web, a change in size in one population will only affect another population if the two populations are directly related as predator and prey. Gallegos et al. 1994
More herbivores than carnivores because people keep and breed herbivores. Leach et al.1996
Plants are dependent on humans, not vice versa. Eisen and Stavy 1992
An organism cannot change trophic levels. Lavoie 1997
Humans provide food for other organisms. Leach et al. 1996
Food chains involve predator and prey, but not producers. Gallegos et al. 1994
Carnivores are big and/or ferocious. Herbivores are passive and/or smaller. Gallegos et al. 1994
Carnivores have more energy or power than herbivores do. Adeniyi 1985

 

*Complete references are available on the Resources Page.

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Last Updated: 1/28/15