Interdependence of Plants and Animals


Have you ever questioned yourself about what we eat? Humans usually eat Rice, Chicken Pizza or Burgers, French Fries, and many more. We all know that humans are solemnly dependent on plants and animals for many reasons. For numerous purposes, plants and animals (including humans) are interdependent.

Forest is home to many plants, animals, and several microorganisms where various organisms are together and interconnected forms a biotic community or otherwise called biota.

Either directly or indirectly, both plants and animals depend on each other. For example, rats consume grains and plants and where snakes eat a rat, which in turn, is fed by an eagle. All these main consequences happen because of the interdependence of plants and animals food chain.

How are Plants and Animals Interdependent?

The various forms in which animals and plants are interdependent in the environment depend on each other for essential survival needs such as food, shelter, protection, and propagation. Plants produce food for both humans and animals, who can not build on their own as plants do. They also provide shelter and protection for wild populations, such as bats, squirrels, and insects.

For example, during the summer, plants and trees provide shade to a huge count of animals. Birds are also building nests high up in trees away from predators. Similarly, plants also benefit from the animals in that animal by helping to spread seeds and ensuring plants' sustainability in some areas of the world. Bees also tend to pollinate plants in the environment.

Interdependence of Plants and Animals Food Chain

An illustration on interdependence of plants and animals food chain is given below.

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Observing the above illustration, plants absorb decayed soil material for their nutrients and consumed by plant-eating animals for protection. Then, the carnivores eat the lower food chain animals for their secured nutrition and survival. When living organisms perish, they decompose and form part of the soil that can be re-consumed by plants. In this manner, the cycle continues to exist.

In addition to food dependence, there is reproductive dependence between plants and animals. For instance, bees are the major pollen carriers which are transferred between the flowers. Pollination helps to reproduce certain kinds of plants. The bees also obtain the nectar of flowers as their nourishment, thereby creating a symbiotic relationship inside themselves.

Apart from pollination, different animals aid in the development of plants by serving as seed carriers. It is essential that plants grow over a sufficient area for their survival. That is because numerous plants growing in the same region don't get enough water, sunlight, and nutrients.

Forest's flora also helps to protect the animals living within them. This protection is offered both inside and outside the ecosystem. For example, trees and large bushes help protect animals from predators by supplying camouflage. Also, animals are protected from outside influences such as extreme weather and climates to a certain degree. Apart from these, it is also clear that forests are home to a variety of animals. 

Forests are an ecosystem. In all ecosystems, living organisms always act as self dependents for their continued existence.

An Example of Interdependence Between Plants and Animals

Let us discuss the example of the interdependence between plants and animals. Almost all animals are dependent on plants for the development of oxygen and glucose that the body can use to produce energy. Some special relationships, such as that between coral and parrotfish, which eat the sick part of the coral, are good examples of interdependence between plants and animals to use. We may even move down the road of describing how plants can exist and thrive without animals technically.

Plants being autotrophs make their own food. They often undergo cellular respiration where they usually intake oxygen (O2) and release carbon dioxide (CO2), which they will then use again for photosynthesizing. Plants are thus dependent on other organisms, but they can survive on their own.


Interdependence of Plants and Animals in Forest

Interdependence is a consistent relationship between organisms that lead a way of life together. 

Plants are associated with animals as they provide food in the form of fruits, leaves, stems, and roots. Plants also offer protection for the safety of the species.

In return for the services provided by the plants in the forests, the animals contribute to the dispersal of fruits and seeds, thus contributing to the colonization of specific species of the plant. Thus, it can be said that plants and animals live in a mutually symbiotic relationship.

For instance, in forests, monkeys stay in the mango trees that are sheltered as well as mangoes as their food sources. Monkeys disperse mango seeds and help to colonize mango trees in the area.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How Do Animals Differ from Plants?

All plants and animals are composed of eukaryotic cells, but they vary from each other. 

  • Animals exhale CO2 as plants are used to produce food.

  • The animal cells are smaller than the plant cells, so their cells have a different structure; the animal cells are oval, while the plant cells are box-shaped.

  • Plants rarely or even do not exhibit sensation. But, animals have evolved sensory and nervous systems.

  • Plants are often autotrophic, i.e., they cook food on their own. But animals are mostly heterotrophic; others can be parasitic. Example: Taenia solium, guy.

  •  Plants excrete through transpiration, i.e., the removal of excess water. But, animals have developed excretory systems. The excretory product in humans and most animals is urea.

  • Plant cells include cell walls, large vacuoles, and plastids that are not present in animal cells.

  • Animals show locomotives, but plants show stimuli to phototropism, geotropism, and follows.

2. What are the Differences Between the Organs of a Plant and an Animal?

Where the concept of an organ is defined as "a set of tissues adapted to perform a particular function," virtually there is a little distinction. All animals and plants have organs that meet this definition.

Plants and animals, of course, have wildly different metabolic processes and requirements. Plant organs are geared towards the collection and processing of simple inorganic molecules required for their metabolism.

On the other side, animals need organs that can supply oxygen for their muscles to move around. These organs can collect, process, and Interpret the data and instruct other organs (usually collected in one brain). Organs that can break down the compounds they eat better filter the large variety of chemicals they ingest and excrete the metabolic waste they accumulate.

Animals, which are not general producers and have more active lifestyles, strive to require a further compact setup to fit into a body whose maximum size is limited. This results in a limited organ count containing cells with a specific specialization unique to their situation. In general, plants have few same organs with tissues exceedingly similar to or shared by tissues in its other organs.