The decomposers in an ecosystem are: (a) Autotrophs (b) Microconsumers (c) Macroconsumers (d) Abiotic Component
Hint: Decomposers are saprophytic microorganisms deriving their nutrients from the organic matter present in dead remains of plants and animals. Examples of decomposers are bacteria and fungi.
Complete answer: Micro Consumers are nothing but the decomposers that scavenge on the dead plant and animal to derive nutrients. These are so-called because of their small sizes and are heterotrophic. They secrete digestive enzymes that convert complex organic matter into simpler ones. A part of the digested organic matter is assimilated by the microorganisms and the rest is broken down into simpler inorganic substances for recycling. They bring about the cyclic exchange of materials between the biotic community and the environment. They are thus, a very essential component of the ecosystem. They are also called Reducers as they are capable of degrading the organisms. These are the fungi bacteria and flagellates especially abundant in the bottom of the pond. Decomposition involves the following conversions:
$Complex\quad Organic\quad Substance\longrightarrow Simple\quad Organic\quad Substance\longrightarrow Inorganic\quad Compound$
Functions of decomposers in the ecosystem:
- They are natural scavengers as they reduce organic remains of earth.
- Replenish the soil naturally with minerals that are essential for the growth of plants and hence, maintenance of the ecosystem. Additional Information:
- Abiotic components are the non- living or the physical environmental factors prevailing in an ecosystem. They are mainly three types i.e., climatic, edaphic, and topographic factors.
- Macroconsumers are nothing but the animals that are not capable of synthesizing their food and are dependent on autotrophs for nourishment. Thus, these are called heterotrophs.
- Autotrophs are the green photosynthetic plants that entrap solar energy and synthesis of their food. Thus, these are also known as Producers. So, the answer is, “Microconsumers”.
- Some workers differentiated a few other categories of living beings amongst the biotic components of an ecosystem. They are the Scavengers, Detritivores, and Parasites.
- Detritivores digest organic material within their bodies to break it down and gain nutrients from it whereas Decomposers do not need to digest organic material internally to break it down instead, they break down matter through biochemical reactions.
- Scavengers are the first to arrive at a dead organism’s remains, they directly feed on the dead plant and animal material. Once scavengers are done, decomposers and detritivores take over and consume the parts that are left behind by the scavengers.
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