Energy and Nature

Energy and Nature

Energy flows through food webs in one direction, from the sun to producers then to consumers and, finally, to decomposers. Continual input of energy, from sunlight, keeps the process going. At each level in a food chain, some energy is stored by the organism, but most of the energy is used by the organism to sustain itself. An organism that eats lower on a food chain is more energy efficient than one eating higher on a food chain. Eating producers is the lowest, most energy-efficient level at which an animal can eat.

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Lesson Take Away: 

Energy flows through food webs in one direction, primarily from the sun to producers then to consumers and, finally, to decomposers. 

Last Updated: January 29, 2014
In partnership with the Illinois Environmental Council, Shedd Aquarium produced three videos about how they save energy in their aquarium and similar steps that you can take in your home. These videos play during pre-shows in Shedd’s Oceanarium. The...

Food: From Our Home to Yours

In partnership with the Illinois Environmental Council, Shedd Aquarium produced three videos about how they save energy in their aquarium and similar steps that you can take in your home. These videos play during pre-shows in Shedd’s Oceanarium. The conversation continues online for people who want more in-depth action tips and teacher guides. http://interactive.sheddaquarium.org/being_green/#ixzz1tvpv78hs

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This animation shows the changes in global sea surface temperatures over the last 22 years.

22 Years of Sea Surface Temperatures in Less than 2 minutes

This animation shows the changes in global sea surface temperatures over the last 22 years.

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Phytoplankton, a tiny marine plant, makes life on Earth possible. It forms the basis of the marine food web and regulates carbon in the atmosphere. Warming waters have consequences for phytoplankton and for the planet. Video length: 5:35 min.

The Ocean's Green Machines

Phytoplankton, a tiny marine plant, makes life on Earth possible. It forms the basis of the marine food web and regulates carbon in the atmosphere. Warming waters have consequences for phytoplankton and for the planet.

Video length: 5:35 min.

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In the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, 27 named storms formed. This broke many records: most hurricanes, most category 5 hurricanes, and the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic.

27 Storms: Arlene to Zeta

In the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, 27 named storms formed. This broke many records: most hurricanes, most category 5 hurricanes, and the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic.

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Carbon forms living organisms, dissolves in the ocean, mixes in the atmosphere, and is stored in the crust of the planet. The ocean plays a critical role in the carbon cycle and is key to understanding Earth's changing climate. Video Length: 5:39...

Keeping Up with Carbon

Carbon forms living organisms, dissolves in the ocean, mixes in the atmosphere, and is stored in the crust of the planet. The ocean plays a critical role in the carbon cycle and is key to understanding Earth's changing climate.

Video Length: 5:39 min.

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Sea level rise is an indicator that our planet is warming. When ice on land, such as mountain glaciers or the ice sheets of Greenland or Antarctica, melts, that water contributes to sea level rise.

Shrinking Ice, Rising Seas

Sea level rise is an indicator that our planet is warming. When ice on land, such as mountain glaciers or the ice sheets of Greenland or Antarctica, melts, that water contributes to sea level rise.

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Oceanographer Josh Willis discusses the heat capacity of water, performs an experiment to demonstrate heat capacity using a water balloon, and describes how water's ability to store heat affects Earth's climate.

Oceans of Climate Change

Oceanographer Josh Willis discusses the heat capacity of water, performs an experiment to demonstrate heat capacity using a water balloon, and describes how water's ability to store heat affects Earth's climate.

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