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ZingPath: Energy Flow

Producer and Consumer Relationships in Ecosystems

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Lesson Focus

Producer and Consumer Relationships in Ecosystems

Life Science

Learning Made Easy

You get to see how energy flows through an ecosystem from the sun through plants and then through various types of animals. Then put that knowledge to good use as you help save a population of eagles living in a national park.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Describe producer/consumer relationships as they occur in food webs within marine ecosystems.
  • Describe producer/consumer relationships as they occur in food webs within freshwater ecosystems.
  • Describe producer/consumer relationships as they occur in food webs within terrestrial ecosystems.

Everything You'll Have Covered

What is a producer? Give an example of a producer from a terrestrial and a marine ecosystem.

~ Producers are organisms that can make their own food by using energy captured from sunlight. In terrestrial ecosystems, plants such as grass are producers. In marine ecosystems, algae such as diatoms are producers.

What is difference between first-order consumers and second-order consumers?

~ First-order consumers such as mice and rabbits feed directly on producers like grasses. Second-order consumers like eagles feed on first-order consumers.

Give an example of a second-order consumer from a freshwater ecosystem.

~ In a freshwater ecosystem carp are second-order consumers because they feed on mussels, which in turn feed on algae that are the producers.

Cacti grow in the Sonoran Desert. Javelina (which are a type of wild pig) eat the cacti. Bobcats eat javelina. What role do the javelina play in this food chain?

~ In this food chain, javelina act as first-order consumers because they feed directly upon the cacti, which are producers.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be familiar with consumer, ecosystems, and food web.
Course Life Science
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary consumer, ecosystems, food web, freshwater ecosystems, marine ecosystems, producer