How They Help Producers
Decomposers play the important role of helping producers by providing them with useful molecules. Yes, it is true that producers can rearrange molecules into food [usually using energy from sunlight]. However, this also means producers need a steady supply of molecules for them to use and rearrange into food! Decomposer plays an important role of supplying these molecules to producers.
Because decomposers can break down waste into useful molecules for producers to use, they make sure that death is not the end in an ecosystem. Instead, decomposers help recycle dead materials back into producers to create an ongoing cycle in the food chain.
“DECOMPOSERS help recycle dead materials”
In the comic above, notice that when an animal dies, its body is broken down into smaller pieces by detritivores. Then, those smaller pieces are further broken down into useful molecules. These useful molecules are recycled back into producers. This is why some people describe nature as a “circle of life” in which materials and energy run in cycles.
Next Generation Science Standards:
HS-LS2-4 Use mathematical representations to support claims for the cycling of matter and flow of energy among organisms in an ecosystem..
HS-LS2-5 Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.
What Science Does this Comic Teach?
Detritivores are NOT consumers They are a special type of organisms which eat the leftover “crumbs” left by other animals.
Decomposers can chemically break things down into even smaller particles than detritivores.
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