What Is the Role of Producers in an Ecosystem?

Wing-Chi Poon/CC-BY-SA 3.0

Producers are able to make their own food and do not rely on the ecosystem for nourishment. Examples of producers include photosynthetic microbes and plants.

Producers in an ecosystem provide food and nourishment for other species. For example, green plants self-feed via photosynthesis and then grazing animals use the plants for their own nourishment. Photosynthesis is a process in which an organism uses inorganic carbon to synthesize organic compounds using solar energy or light. Autotrophs are a producer because they too create their own food via inorganic substances, such as carbon dioxide. The consumers who feed on producers are heterotrophs.