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    an organism that breaks down wastes and dead organisms

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    What is an organism that breaks down dead organisms and wastes to live and grow?

    Micro-organisms decompose the dead and decaying organic matters. Micro-organisms decompose the dead and decaying organic matters. The microbes converted the hazardous organic matters into useful compounds. It is a natural process, known as biodegradation. The bacteria, fungi etc., break down complex pollutants into simpler substances.

    What is an organism that breaks down dead organisms and wastes to live and grow?

    Biology

    2 Answers

    Dr Birendra Kumar Mishra

    Nov 22, 2016

    Micro-organisms decompose the dead and decaying organic matters.

    Explanation:

    Micro-organisms decompose the dead and decaying organic matters.

    The microbes converted the hazardous organic matters into useful compounds.

    It is a natural process, known as biodegradation. The bacteria, fungi etc., break down complex pollutants into simpler substances.

    Answer link Suren Abreu Nov 22, 2016

    Decomposers are organisms that grow by breaking down dead organisms and wastes.

    Explanation:

    Decomposers are vital organisms that grow by breaking down dead and decaying matter.

    Some of these are scavengers - macro-organisms that feed on dead or decaying matter, e.g. flies, cockroaches, earthworms.

    Others are decomposers, generally microscopic bacteria and fungi, that break down wastes. These are also called saprophytes and play an important role in returning nutrients to the soil from dead and decaying matter.

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    Decomposers

    Decomposers play an important role in the circle of life—without them, waste would just pile up! These activities help students study decomposers, with particular relevance to waste cycling and sustainability. Decomposers are made up of the FBI (fungi, bacteria and invertebrates—worms and insects). They are all living things that get energy by eating dead animals […]

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    DECOMPOSERS

    Details

    Activity Length

    5 Activities

    Topics

    Animals

    Ecology and Evolution

    Fungi, Bacteria & Viruses

    Sustainability

    Activity Type

    Unit

    Language

    English

    Print

    Decomposers play an important role in the circle of life—without them, waste would just pile up! These activities help students study decomposers, with particular relevance to waste cycling and sustainability.

    Decomposers are made up of the FBI (fungi, bacteria and invertebrates—worms and insects). They are all living things that get energy by eating dead animals and plants and breaking down wastes of other animals.

    Compostable or biodegradable waste is waste from once living organisms that can be broken down and recycled by decomposers.

    In our homes, we can recycle food waste into usable nutrients using worms as decomposers.

    Decomposers are also used in industrial applications such as oil spill cleanups.

    LIST OF ACTIVITIES

    Introducing Decomposers

    Rotting Food Web Tag Composting 101 Portable Worm Farm

    Objectives

    List and identify examples of decomposers and describe their role within a simple food web.

    Differentiate between compostable waste and non-biodegradable waste.

    Explore the active process of decomposition.

    Create a worm compost farm.

    Materials

    See activities for materials.

    Background

    Energy enters the food chain from the sun.

    Producers (e.g. plants) create complex organic substances (essentially food) using energy from sunlight and other materials. Consumers (e.g. animals) get their energy by eating the producers and/or other consumers. Scavengers and decomposers get their energy by eating dead plants or animals.

    Rotting food (or food that’s gone ‘bad’) doesn’t look or smell great but it contains a wealth of nutrients, including carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous. Living organisms require these nutrients to create cells, tissues and to provide energy for life processes.

    When a plant or animal dies, nutrients would remain forever locked in the dead tissues if it weren’t for decomposers. The decomposers complete the cycle by returning essential molecules to the plant producers.

    Decomposers (fungi, bacteria, invertebrates such as worms and insects) have the ability to break down dead organisms into smaller particles and create new compounds. We use decomposers to restore the natural nutrient cycle through controlled composting.

    Decomposers are the link that keeps the circle of life in motion. The nutrients that decomposers release into the environment become part of the soil, making it fertile and good for plant growth. These nutrients become a part of new plants that grow from the fertile soil.

    Vocabulary

    Biodegradability: Biological and biochemical breakdown of organic materials by the environment. Biodegradability simply means that soil micro-organisms and natural weathering processes are capable of decomposing the material into soil nutrients without leaving any harmful residues behind. Or: something that rots.Bioplastics: Plastics made from renewable plant material or plant products like cornstarch, potato starch, or tapioca. These can biodegrade.Bioremediation: Any process that uses micro-organisms, fungi, algae, green plants or their enzymes to improve the state of a natural environment altered by contaminants.Compost: Verb: the controlled process of decomposing organic material. Noun: organic material that can be used as a medium to grow plants. Humus (mature compost) is a stable material that is dark brown or black and has a soil-like, earthy smell. Given enough time, all biodegradable material will oxidize to humus.Decomposer: An organism, often a bacterium, fungus, or invertebrate that feeds on and breaks down dead plant or animal matter, making organic nutrients available to the ecosystem. Or: ‘FBI’ (fungi, bacteria, invertebrates)Decomposition: The action or process of breaking down; the rotting or decaying of plant or animal matter.Invertebrate: An animal that lacks a backbone or spinal column.Nutrients: Organic and inorganic compounds that a living organism needs to live and grow or a substance used in an organism’s metabolism which must be taken in from its environment. Or: food.Organic waste: Waste created by or from a once-living organism. It is capable of decay and is composed of carbon compounds.Vermicomposting: Using earthworms/red wiggler worms to turn organic waste into very high quality compost.

    Source : www.scienceworld.ca

    Decomposers

    Decomposers play a critical role in the flow of energy through an ecosystem. They break apart dead organisms into simpler inorganic materials, making nutrients available to primary producers.

    RESOURCE LIBRARY

    ENCYCLOPEDIC ENTRY

    Decomposers

    Decomposers play a critical role in the flow of energy through an ecosystem. They break apart dead organisms into simpler inorganic materials, making nutrients available to primary producers.

    GRADES 5 - 8 SUBJECTS

    Biology, Ecology, Conservation

    Saved by 60 educators

    IMAGE

    Millipede Detritivore

    While decomposers break down dead, organic materials, detritivores—like millipedes, earthworms, and termites—eat dead organisms and wastes.

    PHOTOGRAPH BY ANKIT SHRIMP/EYEEM

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    When you have an empty bottle, do you recycle it so the plastic or glass can be used again? Nature has its own recycling system: a group of organisms called decomposers.

    Decomposers feed on dead things: dead plant materials such as leaf litter and wood, animal carcasses, and feces. They perform a valuable service as Earth’s cleanup crew. Without decomposers, dead leaves, dead insects, and dead animals would pile up everywhere. Imagine what the world would look like!

    More importantly, decomposers make vital nutrients available to an ecosystem’s primary producers—usually plants and algae. Decomposers break apart complex organic materials into more elementary substances: water and carbon dioxide, plus simple compounds containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and calcium. All of these components are substances that plants need to grow.

    Some decomposers are specialized and break down only a certain kind of dead organism. Others are generalists that feed on lots of different materials. Thanks to decomposers, nutrients get added back to the soil or water, so the producers can use them to grow and reproduce.

    Most decomposers are microscopic organisms, including protozoa and bacteria. Other decomposers are big enough to see without a microscope. They include fungi along with invertebrate organisms sometimes called detritivores, which include earthworms, termites, and millipedes.

    Fungi are important decomposers, especially in forests. Some kinds of fungi, such as mushrooms, look like plants. But fungi do not contain chlorophyll, the pigment that green plants use to make their own food with the energy of sunlight. Instead, fungi get all their nutrients from dead materials that they break down with special enzymes.

    The next time you see a forest floor carpeted with dead leaves or a dead bird lying under a bush, take a moment to appreciate decomposers for the way they keep nutrients flowing through an ecosystem.

    algae

    Plural Noun

    (singular: alga) diverse group of aquatic organisms, the largest of which are seaweeds.

    annelid

    Noun

    large phylum consisting of segmented worms, including terrestrial, marine, and freshwater species.

    arthropod

    Noun

    invertebrate animal with a segmented body, exoskeleton, and jointed appendages.

    bacteria

    Plural Noun

    (singular: bacterium) single-celled organisms found in every ecosystem on Earth.

    chlorophyll

    Noun

    plants' green pigment that is essential to photosynthesis.

    consumer

    Noun

    organism on the food chain that depends on autotrophs (producers) or other consumers for food, nutrition, and energy.

    decomposer

    Noun

    organism that breaks down dead organic material; also sometimes referred to as detritivores

    ecosystem

    Noun

    community and interactions of living and nonliving things in an area.

    fungi

    Plural Noun

    (singular: fungus) organisms that survive by decomposing and absorbing nutrients in organic material such as soil or dead organisms.

    macroscopic

    Adjective

    large enough to be seen without the aid of a microscope.

    microscopic

    Adjective very small.

    millipede

    Noun

    crawling insect with between 20 and 100 segments, each with two pairs of legs.

    nutrient

    Noun

    substance an organism needs for energy, growth, and life.

    organic

    Adjective

    composed of living or once-living material.

    organism

    Noun

    living or once-living thing.

    pigment

    Noun

    material that changes the color of reflected or transmitted light.

    producer

    Noun

    organism on the food chain that can produce its own energy and nutrients. Also called an autotroph.

    protozoa

    Noun

    one-celled organisms in the kingdom protista, such as amoebas. (singular: protozoan)

    termite

    Noun

    small insect that feeds on wood.

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    RELATED RESOURCES

    Food Chains and Webs

    104

    A food chain outlines who eats whom. A food web is all of the food chains in an ecosystem. Each organism in an ecosystem occupies a specific trophic level or position in the food chain or web. Producers, who make their own food using photosynthesis or chemosynthesis, make up the bottom of the trophic pyramid. Primary consumers, mostly herbivores, exist at the next level, and secondary and tertiary consumers, omnivores and carnivores, follow. At the top of the system are the apex predators: animals who have no predators other than humans. Help your class explore food chains and webs with these resources.

    Source : www.nationalgeographic.org

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