Food web of the Arctic

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Information about Food web of the Arctic

Published on October 10, 2007

Author: Heather


Food web of the Arctic:  Food web of the Arctic By: Mrs. Sanders Plankton:  Plankton Plankton are microscopic organisms that float freely with oceanic currents and in other bodies of water. Plankton is made up of tiny plants (called phytoplankton) and tiny animals (called zooplankton). Phytoplankton: Phytoplankton are primary producers. As the base of the oceanic food web, they use chlorophyll to convert energy (from sunlight), inorganic chemicals (like nitrogen), and dissolved carbon dioxide gas into carbohydrates. Zooplankton: Zooplankton are microscopic animals that eat other plankton. Krill:  Krill Eat Plankton Krill are small, shrimp-like crustaceans that swim in the seas. These pink, translucent animals congregate in large, dense masses called "swarms" or "clouds," that turn areas of the ocean's surface pink. Krill are very important in the food web since many animals eat them. There are about 85 species of krill, ranging in size from under 0.5 inch (1 cm) up to 5.5 inches (14 cm) long. The dominant krill in the southern polar oceans is the Antarctic krill which is up to 2.3 inches (6 cm) long and weighs about 0.035 ounces (1 g). Antarctic krill have a life span of about 5 to 10 years. Antarctic Krill is considered to be a keystone species, an organism upon which very many Antarctic predators depend. Fish & Squid:  Fish & Squid Eat Krill The Squid is an invertebrate (animal without a backbone) that swims in the oceans. This mollusk is closely related to the octopus. Squid can change the color of their skin to mimic their environment and hide from predators. Squid range from 1 to 60 ft (0.3 to 18 m) long Fish - Antarctic cod, ice fish, crocodile fish, dragon fish, robber fish, rat-tailed fish, hagfish, skates, eel-pouts, sea snails, and many others Penguins:  Penguins Eat Fish & Squid Penguins are birds that cannot fly, but they swim very well and spend most of their lives in the sea. There are 17 species of penguin. Feathers: Penguins have shiny, waterproof feathers that help keep their skin dry. They have more feathers than most other birds - about 70 feathers per square inch. Each year, penguins molt, losing their old feathers and growing new ones. Some penguins have a feathery crest. Anatomy: The Emperor Penguin is the largest penguin. It is up to 3.7 feet (1.1 m) tall and weighs up to 65 pounds (30 kg); this is bit less than half the size of an adult person. Males and females look very similar. All penguins have a big head, a short, thick neck, a streamlined shape, a short, wedge-shaped tail, and tiny, flipper-like wings. They have webbed feet which they use for swimming. Penguins are counter shaded; they have a lighter color on the belly and a darker color on their back; this coloration helps camouflage them when they are in the water, hiding them from predators. Habitat: All penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere (south of the equator). They live in climates ranging from the warm tropics to the frigid Antarctic. These defenseless birds usually live on predator-free islands or on remote parts of a continent. Some penguins, like the Emperor Penguin, live on pack ice in Antarctica. Seals:  Seals Eat Penguins Seals have a thick layer of insulating blubber that keeps them warm in cold water. They also have more blood (per weight) than most other mammals, keeping them well-supplied with oxygen during long underwater dives. This allows these carnivores (meat-eaters) to hunt for their oceanic prey. Seals are marine mammals who live mostly in the water but spend some time on land or ice (usually to reproduce or rest). Seals include the true seals and the eared seals. Whales:  Whales Eat Seals The Beluga Whale is a toothed whale that lives in cold Arctic and sub-Arctic waters. Belugas are very social animals, congregating in pods (social groups) of 2-25 whales. They are slow swimmers who are hunted by killer whales, polar bears, and people. The Orca (commonly known as the Killer Whale) is a toothed whale, the largest member of the dolphin family. Orcas live in small, close-knit, life-long pods. Credits:  Credits Clip Art from Microsoft Clip Gallery online Information from

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