Food webs: Learn about interactions between trophic levels

Food webs
Time to complete course: 30 min.

About the Food webs Virtual Lab Simulation

In this simulation, you will learn about food webs. You will be guided through the different trophic levels of a food web on the exoplanet Astakos IV, while learning about the interactions between different organisms.

Energy transfers in a food web

First, you will learn how energy is transferred in a food web, and how each trophic level interacts, during both top-down and bottom-up trophic cascades. You will also measure the respiration of an alien and calculate its energy needs.

Estimate energy transfer in a food web

You will be presented with an alien food web with grazers, omnivores and predators. By measuring respiration you will estimate the energy used by a central omnivore species. You will also be tasked with assessing the direction of the energy flow through the food web when a trophic cascade is caused by anthropogenic disturbances.

What happens when the main source of energy is removed from a food web?

Through a series of mini games you will help a group of settlers on Astakos IV asses their impact on the local ecosystem. Are you up for the challenge of figuring out how the settlers’ different constructions impact the local food web?

Get Started Now

Help reduce the impact from humans on an aquatic ecosystem on an exoplanet by using your knowledge of trophic cascades in a food web.

Techniques In Lab

  • Trophic cascades such as top down and bottom up cascades
  • Feed conversion efficiencies
  • Aquatic respirometry

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to…

  • Understand food webs
  • Explain the differences between different trophic cascades
  • Calculate the amount of energy needed for maintenance

Screenshots of Food webs Virtual Lab Simulation


Dr. Michael Angilletta

School of Life Sciences
Arizona State University

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