Shop Windows to the Universe

Earth Science Rocks! Select one of our four cool NESTA t-shirts from our online store, and express your love of Earth and space science!
The autotroph pictured here is algae.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of Corel Photography

Autotrophs

Organisms that are able to "make their own food" are called autotrophs, meaning "self-feeders". Some examples of autotrophs are plants and algae (shown in the picture). Both plants and algae use photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide and the Sun's energy into food for themselves. Autotrophs are the producers of the food chain.
Last modified June 4, 2010 by Randy Russell.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

"Science, Evolution, and Creationism", by the National Academies, provides fascinating background on these topics for all, and is particularly useful for the Earth and space science classroom. Check our other books in our online store.

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Photosynthesis

There are many different kinds of plants. Some have big leaves. Some have small leaves. Some even have flowers. All plants make their own food. When sunlight hits the leaves of a plant, photosynthesis...more

Carbon Dioxide - CO2

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a kind of gas. There isn't that much carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere, but it is still very important. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. That means it helps trap heat coming...more

Carbon-14 Dating

Carbon-14 dating (also called "radiocarbon dating") is used to determine the age of materials that contain carbon that was originally in living things. It is often used in archeology and some...more

Can there be Life in the Environment of Jupiter?

Jupiter's atmospheric environment is one of powerful winds, going 250 miles per hour, and temperatures from -270 degrees to +32 degrees (freezing temperature). These winds make it hard for life forms to...more

The possible discovery of Life on Mars

In July, 1996 a team of scientists said that they had discovered possible fossils of bacteria in a meteorite named ALH84001 that came from Mars. It was found in Antarctica in 1984 after having landed there...more

The Environment of Saturn

Saturn's atmospheric environment is one of powerful winds, going 250 miles per hour, and temperatures from -270 degrees to +80 degrees. With winds like these, it is hard to have peace and quiet. The region...more

Can there be Life in the Environment of Titan?

The air of Titan is a lot like the Earth's, except that it is very cold, from -330 degrees to -290 degrees! Like the Earth, there is a lot of Nitrogen and other complex molecules. There also may be an...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF