Food chains and also food webs display the circulation of energy through an ecosystem. Food chains are straight depictions of power flow, while food webs present the lot of interactions among the different species of organisms. Food network are typically a an ext realistic portrayal the the power flow in the system. After all, many organisms eat more than one kind of food and can be consumed by an ext than one type of predator.

You are watching: Is algae a producer or consumer


To the left is a usual food chain in a deciduous forest. Grasshoppers eat the grass; grasshopper mice eat the grasshoppers; and owls eat the grasshopper mice.

To the appropriate is a more facility portrayal that the same device as a food web. In spite of the visual intricacy of the diagram, many types and plenty of links between varieties are no shown.

In both images, the arrows show the direction of power flow.


So wherein does power come from? The an essential energy source for many of the setting is the sun. Photoautotrophs catch the sun’s energy and use it to do organic compounds v photosynthesis. The procedure of photosynthesis transforms carbon dioxide and water into an easy carbohydrates. The photoautotrophs then use the an easy carbohydrates to build other more facility organic molecule (proteins, lipids and starches) that space either offered as building blocks for your cells or are stored for later use. Photoautotrophs are often also called primary producers due to the fact that they create the basis for many other production; they produce organic product from inorganic, or non-living, sources.



How perform algae fit right into the marine food web? The photoautotrophs through which we space most familiar are the trees and also flowers that us see day-to-day on land. However, there room a substantial number of photoautotrophs in the naval environment too – many of which us can’t view without a microscope! regardless of their tiny size, these microscopic major producers, maritime algae and also cyanobacteria, are an essential to ours planet"s productivity due to the fact that they are at the basic of the maritime food web.

What happens more up the food web? each level of a food web or a food chain is called a trophic or feeding level, and the biology in the food internet are divide by even if it is they are primary producers or consumers. The consumers in food network are dubbed heterotrophs and also they consume the organic material made through the autotrophs. Heterotrophs cannot do their very own food therefore they space dependent on the autotrophs because that survival.



A simple marine food chain could look choose the one come the left. The salmon is the top consumer; the herring are the secondary consumers; and also the copepods are the major consumers. The phytoplankton room the producers.

A more complicated marine food web could look prefer the one come the right. In spite of the visual intricacy of the diagram, many types and plenty of links between varieties are no shown. Organisms may have more than one trophic role because lock eat a selection of food types.


recognize food chains and food webs acknowledge the importance of and need for main producers appreciate the interconnectedness and also interdependence that organisms understand the duty of bacteria in the food web Realize the geographic variation in food network


To receive the greatest benefit from the activity, student should have actually a straightforward familiarity v food webs. This have the right to be achieved by having the students check out the over content.

Top of the Page


The Food Web matching Game

Note to teachers: Click here to watch the printable version of the activity.

Let’s see if us can construct a food web! This is one Antarctic food web. The organisms that fit right into the internet are provided below it. The trophic table below tells you a small bit around each organism’s duty in the food web. Your project is to place the organisms in your correct locations on the food web. Remember the the arrows indicate the direction of energy flow!

Click right here to acquire started! (You will require Flash Player come play the video game on-line. If your web browser doesn"t load the player automatically, you have the right to download the cost-free player indigenous the Macromedia Website).

Trophic Type
algae primary producer --- krill, fish, blue whales
birds carnivorous consumer krill, fish seals, killer whales
blue whales planktivorous consumer algae, krill killer whales
fish omnivorous consumer algae, krill birds, seals, killer whales
killer whales top consumer blue whales, fish, birds, seals ---
krill herbivorous consumer algae fish, blue whales, birds
seals carnivorous consumer fish, birds killer whales


Top the the Page



A lacking Link

Note come teachers: Click here to check out the printable variation of this extension.

Note to teachers: This extension exercise can be done in a selection of ways. Part suggestions are detailed here: (1) division the course into 3 groups and assign each team a inquiry (1-3) from listed below (if you have much more than 3 groups, include questions around removing other organisms). Have actually the groups current their hypotheses to the entire class. Afterwards, ask and also discuss questions 4 and also 5 with the entire class. (2) carry out the questions below to overview students in composing an essay ~ above the importance of main producers in the food web.

Now let’s take a closer look in ~ the food net you created. What would take place if friend removed one of the biology from the food web? space there other organisms that might take its place? how would the organism’s predators/grazers respond? just how would the organism’s prey/food respond? Let’s begin at the height and shot a couple of scenarios:

1) What would you hypothesize can happen to the other organisms in the web, if killer whales go extinct?

2) What might happen if we worn down the fishery (through over fishing), and also fish to be no much longer a component of our food web?

3) What could happen if we removed the birds from the food web?

4) i beg your pardon scenario above affected the many organisms?

5) What go this call you about the importance of the basic of the food web?

Top the the Page

Tiny yet Mighty

Note to teachers: Click here to view the printable variation of this extension.

The food internet you created in the food internet game included producers and also consumers, but it didn’t include every one of the types of organisms that play a role in the food web. Decomposers also play really important function in the food web. What space the decomposers? Bacteria! That’s right, similar to the bacteria in every terrestrial environment, bacteria also live in the maritime environment. And also just like terrestrial bacteria, naval bacteria are all over and impact EVERYTHING! In their role as decomposers, they failure dead plant and animal matter and also release straightforward molecules that have the right to be soaked up and used by autotrophs and some heterotrophs.

Now that you recognize what the decomposers are and also what they do, place them on your food web and also draw arrows to show how they connect with the other organisms in the web.

Bacteria play various other roles in the marine environment as well. They space integral come nutrient cycling in the naval environment. Also, part bacteria room producers; they develop organic issue from inorganic matter v photosynthesis and chemosynthesis. Come learn much more about the importance of bacteria in nutrient cycling, and production, visit"s internet site, "Cycling v the Food Web."

Top the the Page

Geographic sports

Note to teachers: Click here to view the printable version of this extension.

The food net you developed in the food web game was one that is uncovered in the Antarctic. Together you might imagine, a food net in the tropics looks very different from the one friend created. Environmental problems (temperature, light, nutrients) are various in the two areas, so it would make sense that the organisms the live in those locations might be different also. What might a food net from a dry marine environment look like? How around one native a temperate coastal area?

Divide into groups to develop your very own food web games. Use books and also the net to discover information about the areas noted below or think of part on her own. Create food webs that you could find in those areas. Offer your completed game to the other groups to play. Don’t forget come come up with clues to be provided if a player guesses incorrectly!

1) The west coastline of southern Africa - This is an area often linked with phytoplankton blooms. Upwelling bring nutrient-rich water indigenous deep, dark depth to the sunlit surface. Phytoplankton are rapid to utilize these upwelled nutrients, do this amongst the many productive areas in the world. However, over there are also recurrent harmful and also toxic blooms follow me the southern African coastline that threaten part members of the ecosystem, together with the fishing and shellfish industries.

2) The center of the Sargasso Sea - The Sargasso Sea in the phibìc Atlantic is named for the sargassum seaweed that is found throughout it. As result of the convergent circulation sample of the sea, new nutrients are not upwelled from deeper waters, therefore the Sargasso is often referred to as a naval desert. Regardless of its fairly low productivity, the warm, clean waters the the sea are home to entire neighborhoods built around mats of floating sargassum.

3) A hydrothermal vent atmosphere on the east Pacific climb - uneven the food webs we have questioned thus far, hydrothermal vent neighborhoods are no dependent on solar energy. These communities are found in waters deeper 보다 1500m, whereby sunlight can not penetrate. Instead, the hydrothermal vent food web are pushed by geothermal energy. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is released in the liquid that is forced from the vents, and also is then used by bacteria to kind organic matter. This procedure is called chemosynthesis, and the bacteria that chemosynthesize space the primary producers of the food web.

4) Lake Erie - Lake Erie is a freshwater lake that has actually experienced major changes in that is food internet over the past few decades. The lake"s populations of main producers (phytoplankton and also cyanobacteria) have varied with reductions in phosphorus loading, and also the development of exotic species (i.e. Zebra mussel). Over there are also recurrent harmful and also toxic blooms that threaten some members that this freshwater ecosystem.

See more: How Long Is Salsa Good For In The Fridge: Top Full Guide 2021

Top the the Page


This table summarizes the McREL scientific research standards that room met with this lesson. To see a in-depth list of criter that this lesson addresses, you re welcome click here.