Southern Ocean food web

Close up of the seal nose and whiskers poking through the hole in the ice.
Seal poking its head out of a hole in the ice (Photo: Cliff)
Draw a food web for the Southern Ocean and see how animals depend on each other for food.

For detailed information and photographs of each of the Antarctic animals and their marine and terrestrial ecosystems see the About Antarctica section of the AAD site, which contains introductory information about Antarctic and sub-Antarctic animals, plants and features.

Read all about the animals that are found in the Southern Ocean (and have your students solve an Antarctic murder mystery) in the illustrated brochure Who's Eating Who?.

  • Have students draw a food web for the Southern Ocean and look at how animals depend on each other for food. Plants and animals that could be included are algae, phytoplankton, krill, squid, albatross, Adelie penguin, emperor penguin, crabeater seal, elephant seal, leopard seal, minke whale, killer whale.
  • Draw the animals to scale. What would happen if you removed one of these animals from the ecosystem? For example, what would happen if all the Adelie penguins disappeared? Or all the whales?
  • As an extension activity, students could research the animal and plant life found in the Arctic, and compare the food web with the one they have made for the Antarctic. Why are polar bears found in one place, and penguins in another?

Further information and resources

This page was last modified on January 23, 2014.