- summarize the role of photosynthesis and decomposition within food chains
- distinguish between different trophic levels and describe examples of food chains in major marine ecosystems
- order organisms in a food chain by trophic levels
- list abiotic factors of ocean ecosystems
- identify and describe abiotic factors and physical processes that impact ocean ecosystems
- list ways humans interact with and impact ocean ecosystems
- create a food web display to illustrate the trophic relationships between marine organisms
- identify common organisms living in a marine ecosystem
- research ecological facts about marine organisms
- prepare illustrated cards depicting marine organisms and their predator-prey relationships
- Cooperative learning
- Hands-on learning
- Information organization
- Multimedia instruction
21st Century Student Outcomes
- Learning and Innovation Skills
- 21st Century Themes
Critical Thinking Skills
- Geographic Skills
Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices
What You’ll Need
The resources are also available at the top of the page.
- Internet Access: Required
- Internet access: Required
- Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, Projector, Speakers
- Plug-Ins: Flash
- Large-group instruction
- Small-group instruction
Before starting the activity, download and queue up the two videos.
- food webs and trophic levels
Recommended Prior Lessons
lacking or absent of life.
species at the top of the food chain, with no predators of its own. Also called an alpha predator or top predator.
organism that can produce its own food and nutrients from chemicals in the atmosphere, usually through photosynthesis or chemosynthesis.
living organisms, and the energy contained within them.
effect or impact of an organism on its environment.
non-scientific name of a species, or what the organism is usually called.
rocky ocean features made up of millions of coral skeletons.
steady, predictable flow of fluid within a larger body of that fluid.
organism that breaks down dead organic material; also sometimes referred to as detritivores
separation of a chemical compound into elements or simpler compounds.
organism that consumes dead plant material.
community and interactions of living and nonliving things in an area.
group of organisms linked in order of the food they eat, from producers to consumers, and from prey, predators, scavengers, and decomposers.
diagram of a healthy diet that shows the number of servings of each food group a person should eat every day.
all related food chains in an ecosystem. Also called a food cycle.
environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time.
organism that cannot make its own nutrients and must rely on other organisms for food.
opening on the seafloor that emits hot, mineral-rich solutions.
underwater habitat filled with tall seaweeds known as kelp.
community of living and nonliving things in the ocean.
tiny organism, usually a bacterium.
substance an organism needs for energy, growth, and life.
area of the ocean that does not border land.
chemical element with the symbol O, whose gas form is 21% of the Earth's atmosphere.
process by which plants turn water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide into water, oxygen, and simple sugars.
microscopic organism that lives in the ocean and can convert light energy to chemical energy through photosynthesis.
animal that hunts other animals for food.
animal that is hunted and eaten by other animals.
organism on the food chain that can produce its own energy and nutrients. Also called an autotroph.
the name, usually in Latin, of an organism's genus and species.
base of hard material on which a non-moving organism grows. Also called substratum.
degree of hotness or coldness measured by a thermometer with a numerical scale.
rise and fall of the ocean's waters, caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun.
one of three positions on the food chain: autotrophs (first), herbivores (second), and carnivores and omnivores (third).
moving swell on the surface of water.
For Further Exploration
- NOAA: Surface Ocean Currents
- NOAA: The Global Conveyor Belt
- National Geographic Education: National Teacher Leadership Academy (NTLA)
- Reef Education Network: Oceans—A Whole New World
- Texas A&M University: Department of Oceanography—Marine Fisheries Food Webs
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Oceans, Coasts, Estuaries, and Beaches
- NASA: Amateur Scientist’s Guide
- NASA Ocean Motion: Wind Driven Surface Currents