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Photosynthesis – Food Chain
What do plants and animals need to grow?
Almost all plants and animals need air, water, light and nutrition to grow. Green plants use a complex chemical process, called photosynthesis, to create energy for survival and growth. Since plants create their own energy, they are the first link in the food chain. Animals must drink water and eat plants or other animals to get energy. Therefore, they are present in the next step of the food chain. There are some animals, such as camels, that can survive for days without drinking water. Since they live in deserts with very little water, they have adapted to the particular conditions of their habitat.
How do plants get food?
Unlike animals, plants produce their own food and apart from some carnivorous plants, they do not eat other organisms. Green plants use water, nutrients and a green substance in their leaves called ‘chlorophyll’ to make their food. Normally water and nutrients are absorbed from the soil through their roots. Some plants, however, have developed other methods of obtaining water and nutrients. Many plants make funnel-shaped ‘containers’ with their leaves to catch water. Carnivorous plants use their digestive juices to convert insects caught in their folding or sticky traps into nutrients.
What happens when we keep plants in the dark?
In the absence of light, plants drop their leaves and die, leaving only their roots and stems. Plants grow late at night and in winters. Most animals are also light dependent, although some have adapted to their dark habitats. For example, moles that live underground are almost blind because they don’t need their eyes underground. We humans also need sunlight to help make vitamin D in our skin, which in turn is essential for building bones. We will also waste time if it is too dark around us for too long.
What is photosynthesis?
The chloroplast inside the green leaves of plants is the “laboratory” where photosynthesis takes place. Water is supplied to the leaves by the roots and carbon dioxide is absorbed from the air through tiny pores on the underside of the leaf. Both are broken down into the elements hydrogen, carbon and oxygen with the help of chlorophyll and sunlight. Plants create ‘glucose’ (grape sugar) from these elements and oxygen is released into the atmosphere as a by-product. Photosynthesis has been the source of oxygen in the air since the beginning of life on Earth.
How do camels survive long desert journeys?
Camels can go for about two weeks without drinking water because they can store up to 150 liters of water in their bodies. Fat is also stored in their humps and this energy store can sustain them for about 30 days without food. In addition, unlike most other mammals, camels can change their body temperature. At night they lower their body temperature enough so that during the day the body warms up slowly and they don’t sweat much. Consequently, there is no fluid loss early in the day.
What is a food chain?
In nature, there are “producers” who build the biological mass and “consumers” who eat. Producers are plants, which grow and create energy with the help of photosynthesis. They are eaten by a consumer, and that consumer is often eaten by another consumer. This chain of consumers is called a “food chain”. A short food chain is the grass-cow. A longer one is algae flea-herring-seal-polar bear: A water flea eats algae, a herring eats many water fleas, a seal eats herrings, and the polar bear eats the seal. After all, it takes a lot of seaweed to feed a polar bear. When the polar bear dies, its meat is either eaten by other animals or broken down into nutrients by bacteria. These nutrients are again used by the algae to create energy, thus completing the food chain.
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