What is a decomposer?
Decomposers are the last stop on the food chain, they eat the things no
one else wants to. Decomposers many times eat dead things from the ground in
order to get nutrients. The dead things that are eaten by decomposers are called
detritus which means "garbage". Some of the most common decomposers are
bacteria, worms, slugs, snails, and
fungi like mushrooms.
[Decomposers at work]
Decomposers can be referred to as nature’s
recyclers because they help keep nutrients moving in food webs. If the
decomposers did not do their job the producers would not get the nutrients they
need and would die. What would happen if we didn't have plants…well all living
things would start to starve to death. Decomposers are very small so they can
break down large pieces of dead stuff. If they didn’t do their job the ground
would be covered with junk.
Decomposers in the Desert
In the Desert it is hard for many decomposers to stay alive because they
like moist areas. One of the only decomposers in Deserts is bacteria
because they are so small and can live in the air. Some of the other
decomposers in the desert are beetles, earth worms and millipedes.
Decomposers in other ecosystems
Decomposers in the Water
[Bacteria filled water]
There are not many types of decomposers in the water. Most types of
decomposers in the water are
different types of bacteria's. There are
like freshwater shrimp, clams, crabs, lobsters and flat worms. These
fish eat dead animals and plants in the water.
Decomposers in the Forest
In the desert there are many different decomposers some of them are
snails, slugs, earthworms, bacteria and mushrooms. Whenever something
dies in the forest these are the decomposers that break the dead
material down in order to provide nutrients for the soil.
Decomposers in the Arctic
The arctic ravens are scavengers in the arctic.
They eat carrion which are
parts of dead animals.
[Bacteria in the air]
Similar to the water the Arctic is a very hard
place to live in because of its climate. Even though most decomposers
cannot live in the Arctic, bacteria is one that can live there because
it can live anywhere.
Decomposers that hurt us
Some decomposers are harmful to
humans. When we get sick it is usually due to bacteria in our system.
When we take antibiotics to make us feel better we are injuring or
killing the bacteria in us in order to make us feel better.
Did you know?
Mold is a type of fungi that can be
found on old bread or other foods. In order for mold to survive they
like to grow in dark, moist and warm places.
[Mold on Bread]