Ocean Producers and Consumers

Ocean Producers and Consumers
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  • 0:00 What are Producers and…
  • 0:30 Producers in the Ocean
  • 1:50 Consumers in the Ocean
  • 3:12 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Amanda Robb
This lesson is on ocean producers and consumers. In this lesson, we'll go over the definition of producers and consumers in biology. We'll also give specific examples of each in an ocean ecosystem.

What Are Producers and Consumers?

You experience producers and consumers in your everyday life. Producers are organisms that make their own food, so anytime you're having a salad, you're snacking on some producers. Consumers are organisms that eat to gain energy, so you are actually a consumer. Your pets or loved ones are consumers, too. Producers and consumers in the ocean look a little bit different, however. Let's dive into the ocean ecosystem to see what's making and eating the food there.

Producers in the Ocean

Since the oceans on Earth are so vast, the climate varies dramatically. Warm tropical waters along the coast of the equator feel nearly like bath water. These places are home to incredible biodiversity. But, the freezing waters of the Arctic have their own ecosystem too, despite the temperature. Even the bone crushing depths of the deep sea are home to amazing types of life.

Coral reefs live in the shallow, warm waters near the coast of the equator. The producers in all oceans, including the coral reefs, are mainly algae and phytoplankton, microscopic photosynthetic organisms that produce food from water and sunlight.

Larger forms of algae, like kelp, exist in cooler waters. Massive forests of kelp are found near the coast of California, supporting consumers like sea otters and sea urchins.

Producers can even be found in the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean. Light doesn't penetrate this area of the ocean, so the producers have to use something other than sunlight to make their food. Large hydrothermal vents deep in the ocean spew chemicals from inside the earth. These chemicals allow chemosynthetic bacteria to produce food, just like green plants use sunlight. The bacteria form the base of an ecosystem with giant tube worms and bioluminescent fish.

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