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

Dead stuff, the secret ingredient in our food chain

Watch more with these video collections:

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...

Sea cucumbers are underwater vacuum cleaners

Rion Nakaya

How To Decorate Cookies To Look Like Fall Leaves

Rion Nakaya

The Edible Insects Food Movement

Rion Nakaya

Saving the Andean Bear, South America’s only bear species

Rion Nakaya

Vermicomposting with red wigglers, a time lapse

Rion Nakaya

Seacosphere: One year inside an airtight jar of seawater

Rion Nakaya

Beauty and the Feast: When Herring Come to Spawn

Rion Nakaya

Whale Fall (After Life of a Whale)

Rion Nakaya

1000s of Bugs, 100 Islands, 1 Happy Entomologist

Rion Nakaya