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Natural sciences

Ecosystems and the environmental balance

Educator section


Assignment 15:

1. Plants and animals die

2. Plants and animals produce waste material

3. Decomposers degrade the waste material and use some parts of it as food

4. Other parts are degraded as chemicals and then released into the air or soil

5. The chemicals are absorbed by other plants and taken up into the food chain

Leaner section


Activity: to study the important role of plants in the ecosystem [lo 1.2, lo 2.3]

Plants (producers) simply take non-living material (water, sunlight, carbon dioxide and minerals) and produce plant food. This process is called photosynthesis, of which you will learn a great deal in the next module. Oxygen is released simultaneously.

Design two more food chains with plants as the producers.

(a) The role of fungi in the ecosystem

Fungi are regarded as the “poor” family members of the plant kingdom because they do not contain green colouring. The green colouring, chlorophyll, enables green plants to produce their own food from carbon dioxide and water. Green plants are therefore self-sufficient and do not depend on other living things for food. Fungi and bacteria, on the contrary, are as dependent as animals on the food that plants have to prepare for them.

When a plant or an animal dies, the energy stored in them is not lost. Microscopic fungi and bacteria live on the dead bodies and thereby break them down. In this way, such dead material becomes part of the soil once more. Plants that do this are called decomposers because of the unique role they play in nature.

Assignment 15

Study the following diagrammatic representation of the process of decay. It shows how dead organisms are broken down and recycled by decomposers. Read the captions that are provided below and copy them into the appropriate spaces. Take note of the fact that the captions are not given in the correct order:

  • Plants and animals produce waste material, e.g. leaves.
  • Decomposers break down the waste material and use part of it as food.
  • Other parts are broken down into chemicals and are released into the air or the soil.
  • Plants and animals die.
  • The chemicals are absorbed by other plants and are again taken up into the food chain.

(i) The structure of fungi

Fungi consist of branched threads that may be divided into sections (e.g. bread mould) or may be combined in a large, solid body (e.g. mushrooms). Many fungi are edible, but some are extremely poisonous. It is much safer to eat well-known mushrooms only. The mushroom is pushed up from below the soil as a small, round button. When it grows bigger, it stretches out on a stem and eventually opens up like an umbrella.

Below the umbrella the spore-bearing gills radiate from the stem. In the common edible button mushrooms these gills are pale pink when the fungus is young and become blackish-brown as the fungus matures. None of the poisonous toadstools have this colour, so the colour provides the best indication to whether you are dealing with a poisonous toadstool or an edible mushroom. One should never eat a fungus that looks like a mushroom but has white gills, because this could lead to death.

Questions & Answers

what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
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Source:  OpenStax, Natural sciences grade 6. OpenStax CNX. Sep 16, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11079/1.1
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