Importance of Producers


Elle Richardson

Producers are found all over the world with the most common types being bacteria and plant life.

Elle Richardson, Science Editor

Everywhere in the world there are producers. Between the trees in the equatorial rainforest to the bacteria living deep in the ocean vents, producers can be found. They are the turning point of life on Earth and allow more complex forms of life. Producers have the most energy out of all the trophic levels, are the main source of carbon for all consumers, and provide habitats for some of the animals in the food chain.

Photo via Pixabay under Pixabay License All producers create their own energy; the most common method of this is photosynthesis.

Producers are classified as organisms that can make their own food. This is done through chemical reactions, most commonly photosynthesis. This occurs when a plant takes in carbon dioxide and water and turns it into oxygen and glucose to store the sun’s energy. This energy is then passed up through the food chain as the producers are eaten by consumers. Yet only 10% of the energy from the producer is passed up to the next trophic level, meaning the primary consumer needs to eat more producers. Because of this, an abundance of producers is necessary for the survival of any food chain. Without it, the link between the direct energy source and the consumers in the food chain would be gone and the food web would crumble. Producers, like all other life forms, are carbon based, which is very important to their photosynthetic processes.

Carbon is the building block of all life on Earth. Without carbon, there would be no organisms in the food chain. Yet animals cannot simply absorb carbon, even though it is arguably the most essential element to their survival. Instead, they ingest it by eating producers. Producers pull the carbon from the soil and use it to grow. When the producer is eaten, the carbon is absorbed into the consumer. When that consumer is eaten, the cycle continues. This is how all life forms are able to get the nutrients needed to survive. It is very important not only for the producers to have this carbon, but also for the consumers as they wouldn’t be able to survive without it. Another note about producer’s interaction with carbon is that they use carbon dioxide in the photosynthesis process. This returns oxygen to the atmosphere, which improves the air quality in the surrounding area, benefiting the ecosystem and food chains involved.

Photo via Pixabay under Pixabay License Eagle-eye view of a forest ecosystem, showcasing the high levels of producer biomass.

Producers contribute the most biomass to almost every ecosystem. Even the tundra, with its dry, desert-like conditions, has more producers than consumers. This is due to energy flow. Because of the extreme amount of producers, many consumers have found it beneficial to make a habitat for them. An example of this is the rainforest. Not only do almost all of the consumers there live either in the trees or on the heavily-leaved forest floor, the change in the layers of the trees provides different environments suited for the different needs of the consumers there. A consumer that lives in the canopy of the rainforest most likely wouldn’t be able to live anywhere else due to how specialized that location is for them. Because of factors such as this, producers play a pivotal role in not only the flow of minerals and energy through the food chain, but in building the infrastructure of the food chain as well.

Highly important to the food chain as they have the most energy out of all the trophic levels, producers are the main source of carbon for all consumers and provide habitats for some of the animals in the food chain. Without producers, every food web or chain in the world would crumble relatively quickly, ruining not only biodiversity but life on Earth as a whole.