Prairie Food Chains & Webs

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  • 0:01 A Grassy World
  • 0:51 The Prairie
  • 1:31 Food Chains & Food Webs
  • 2:58 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ebony Potts

Ebony has taught middle and high school physical science, life science & biology. She's also been an assistant principal and has a doctorate in educational administration.

Do you know how organisms of the prairie interact with one another? In this lesson, you will learn about these interactions. You will also get to view a visual representation of these interactions via a food web.

A Grassy World

Ugh! You hate visiting your Aunt Tasha and Uncle Terrance. You love seeing them and your cousins, but you hate where they live. Nebraska! What a boring place. Nothing but grass as far as the eye can see. At least this time your mom booked a prairie adventure ride for you and your cousins. This should be interesting. Before the ride begins, you climb into your replica covered wagon and the tour guide begins to speak: 'Today ladies and gentlemen, we will get to see some of the exciting happenings of the prairie. You will get to view some of the plants and animals and how they stay alive in our American grasslands. We will talk about the ecosystem, as well as what fits into the prairie food chain and food web. Buckle up and hold on tight, ladies and gentlemen.' That sounds quite interesting, but what exactly is a food chain and a food web, you wonder? What will we learn about the prairie today?

The Prairie

The prairie ecosystem is located in North America, South America, and Eurasia. The ecosystem has many different names; grasslands, steppes, savannah, pampas, and shrub lands, but they all share similar characteristics. Some of the shared characteristics include:

  • Many different grasses prevalent
  • Sparse tree cover present
  • Periods of drought followed by rainy season
  • Many grazing animals
  • Recurring fires

Prairie organisms have specific adaptations that allow them to live in this climate. Some prairie organisms have front legs that are able to burrow away from predators, while others have flat teeth for grass grinding and many more helpful adaptations. The prairie is a place full of life!

Food Chains and Food Webs and the Prairie

A food chain is a linear, single-direction representation of the feeding relationships between organisms of a particular area. In simpler terms, a food chain shows what gets eaten by what. A food chain is a very simplified version of what happens in an ecosystem and is not representative of the whole ecosystem. A combination of multiple food chains that show feeding relationships of an area in a multi-linear, multi-directional way is called a food web. A food web gives a better overall idea of how organisms interact in an ecosystem.

Most food chains and food webs contain:

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