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A decomposer is an organism that breaks down dead animals and plants along with their waste.
Decomposers help recycle matter in an ecosystem and release important nutrients back into the ecosystem.
Decomposers are heterotrophs which mean they use other organisms to get their energy,carbon, and other nutrients for growth and development.
Let's take a look at four different types of decomposers.
Fungi break down and recycle organic material by predigesting.
- Fungi produce enzymes that break down, and digest decaying, and dead matter, and then the fungi absorb this material.
- This process depends on water so most fungi are found in moist areas.
- Fungi can also be classified as saprotrophs which are organisms that use enzymes to help breakdown nonliving organic matter in order to absorb the nutrition.
Worms are also decomposers.
- They play an important role in producing our soil.
- Earthworms help decompose organic material, and help make nutrients like phosphate more readily available.
- Earthworms can further classified as detrivores which are organisms that feed on decomposing plants or animals along with feces.
Bacteria are tiny organisms, and they are the king of decomposition.
- Bacteria are found almost everywhere on earth.
- They help release important nutrients that living organisms have absorbed.
- Bacteria also release important nutrients like nitrogen and carbon back into an ecosystem.
- Bacteria can also be classified as a saprotroph.
Several insects like flies,dung beetles, maggots, and ants, help break down once living organisms.
There are several major groups of decomposing insects.
- Those insect that feed on dead or decaying plant tissues.
- Insects that feed on dead animals.
- Arthropods like the dung beetle, that feed on excrement of other animals.
- Most decomposing insects can be further classified as detrivores.
Decomposers are very important to any ecosystem because they help keep matter recycling, and give organisms the ability to reuse important nutrients, and elements.
Types of Decomposers