In any ecosystem, some living things are producers and some are consumers. Producers include plants, microbes and trees. Through photosynthesis, they turn water and carbon dioxide into food, such as sugar and carbohydrates. They also make protein. When animals eat plants, they use the protein and carbohydrates to build their bodies.
- Many ecosystems have producers, primary consumers and secondary consumers. In the ocean, for example, producers, such as phytoplankton make food through photosynthesis.
- Zooplankton, which are tiny animals, eat the plankton. Fish eat the zooplankton.
- What happens when animals die? Decomposers, such as bacteria and fungi, break the organisms down. Nutrients from the dead animals move back into the soil where they feed the plants.
- Pretty neat, huh! Plants help us and we help plants.
- Producer: an organism that makes products
- Consumer: an organism that uses products
- Photosynthesis: the process of transforming energy from the sun into food
- Primary: first
- Secondary: second
- Organism: a living thing
Visit National Geographic to learn more about food chains.
Question: Are all consumers carnivores?
Answer: No, herbivores gain their energy by eating only plants. Omnivores eat both plants and animals. Carnivores eat plant eaters.