Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox.   SUBSCRIBE
The Kid Should See This

Dead stuff, the secret ingredient in our food chain

When you picture the lowest levels of the food chain, you might imagine herbivores happily munching on lush, living green plants. But this idyllic image leaves out a huge (and slightly less appetizing) source of nourishment: dead stuff. John C. Moore details the “brown food chain,” explaining how such unlikely delicacies as pond scum and animal poop contribute enormous amounts of energy to our ecosystems.

Dead stuff: The secret ingredient in our food chain from TED Ed. Bonus: Animated leafy creatures by Celeste Lai and Lisa LaBracio — excellent autumn leaf art project inspiration.

photosynthesis
food chain
brown food web
Read more in our favorite science graphic novel series: The World of Food Chains with Max Axiom, Super Scientist

File under: food chains, poop, and death! Related watching: Whale Fall (After Life of a Whale) and Feedback loops: How nature gets its rhythms.


This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

Whale Fall (After Life of a Whale)

Rion Nakaya

Gotta Eat! and Classifying Organisms – Crash Course Kids

Rion Nakaya

How do millipedes walk with so many legs?

Rion Nakaya

Soil 101 from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization

Rion Nakaya

The Burrowing Owl’s Cozy Underground Home

Rion Nakaya

The autumal patchwork of Quebec’s forest colors

Rion Nakaya

The deep-sea scavengers that feast on whale fall

Rion Nakaya

How To Decorate Cookies To Look Like Fall Leaves

Rion Nakaya

Beauty and the Feast: When Herring Come to Spawn

Rion Nakaya