What is Food Chain ?
It is a series of organisms through which nutrients and energy transfer from one organism to another. In the ecosystem, organisms depend upon each other. The food chain of the ocean describes how organisms are interconnected to each other by the food they eat. The food chain starts with the producers and ends with top predators.
The ocean is the large body of salt water that covers 71% of the earth’s surface. The ocean is home to 230,000 known species and millions of unknown species. Perhaps more than two million species yet not documented. The marine environment support many kinds of plants, animals, algae, bacteria, fungi, coral reefs, etc. Marine species have diverse sizes, ranging from microorganisms to giant Whales.
Before know about the food chain of the ocean, we need to know what it contains. Let’s see the organisms in the Aquatic Culture helps to build this food chain ecosystem.
Plankton is the various collection of organisms that lives in oceans, seas, lakes, and freshwater bodies. They include microscopic plants like algae (phytoplankton) and animals like protozoans and crustaceans (Zooplankton). They are found in all aquatic ecosystems, except fast-moving waters.
Phytoplankton refers to single-celled organisms. These microorganisms can be seen only through a microscope. Some phytoplankton is bacteria, some are protists (protozoans), and most are single-celled plants. Phytoplanktons live in the upper part of the ocean and it is the starting of the food chain of the ocean ; they consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen. In addition, they convert the sun’s light energy into chemical energy through the photosynthesis process. This chemical energy helps phytoplankton grow and survive.
Zooplankton is aquatic microorganisms that can drift in oceans, seas, and freshwater bodies. Zooplankton is heterotrophic plankton present in the tropical level 2 of the food chain of the ocean. A heterotroph is an organism that didn’t produce food on its own. Zooplankton includes protozoa and crustaceans, such as copepods, rotifers, krill, and the larva of fish. However, marine zooplankton comprises many different organisms, their size range from tiny flagellates to giant jellyfish.
The ocean’s food chain shows how nutrients and energy are passed from one organism to another in the ocean. In the Ocean or Aquatic ecosystem, the food chain starts with phytoplanktons at the bottom.
Trophic Level 1
Phytoplanktons are seen at the first level of the food chain of the ocean. Phytoplanktons, a single-celled microorganism, are said to be primary producers. Producers can themselves produce their food and are also known as autotrophs.
Trophic Level 2
The second level of the ocean food chain consists of zooplankton. They are microscopic organisms, including protozoa and crustaceans such as copepods, krill, and fish larva. They drift through the water and consumes phytoplankton
Trophic Level 3
The third level of the food chain of the ocean consists of a big group of small carnivores. It includes fish like herring, sardines, forage fish, menhaden, and filter feeders. These smaller fishes consume a massive amount of zooplankton.
Trophic Level 4
The fourth level of the food chain of the ocean consists of top predators, and this is the end level of the ocean food chain. Predators are various groups. They are hunted by people, the most destructive of all hunters. Overfishing by humans can extraordinarily contract top predator populaces. Since such creatures reproduce slowly, it can require a very long time for their populaces to recuperate.
The ocean’s food chain contains series of organisms, and it describes how nutrients and energy transfer from one organism to another. In the ocean food chain, phytoplankton is eaten by zooplankton, which smaller fishes eat, and large predators eat fishes.
There are mainly two types of food chain, namely the detritus food chain and grazing food chain. The grazing food chain starts from green plants at the base, and the primary consumer is an herbivore. The detritus food chain starts from dead organic material and passes into decomposers and detritivores.