WHAT IS AUTOTROPHY AND HETEROTROPHY?
Autotrophy simply is the process whereby certain organisms, e.g. plants uses sunlight or chemicals to manufacture their food from inorganic substances through a process called photosynthesis
Heterotrophy refers to the process or situation where certain organisms such as animals cannot manufacture their own food but depends either indirectly or directly on the plants for their food.
Components of an ecosystem
The following are the factors and players found in an ecosystem
AUTOTROPHS are organisms such as plants and some bacteria which use the sunlight to manufacture their own food from inorganic substances. This is the process known as photosynthesis. Autotroph organisms are capable of synthesizing their own food, hence they are called producers in an ecosystem
THE PRODUCERS IN AN ECOSYSTEM
What are the producers in the ecosystem?
The producers in an ecosystem are the green plants or autotrophs which traps the radiant energy of sunlight and converts it to chemical energy. The producers forms the starting point of the food chain in an ecosystem. The producers or autotrophs provides food for other organisms living in the habitat.
Examples of producers in the habitat are the grasses, trees, phytoplankton, shrubs, water hyacinths and sea weeds
Heterotroph are mainly animals, which cannot manufacture their own food in or within the habitat. They depends solely on the producer such as plants for their food hence they are called consumers.
So animals that feeds directly on green plants –producers are called herbivores or primary consumers while the animals that feeds on the primary consumers are called the secondary consumers.
Animals that feeds on the secondary consumers are called tertiary consumers. Heterotrophs includes all animals, carnivorous plants, fungi, most protists and some bacteria
What are the consumers in an ecosystem?
A consumer is an organism which derives its nutrients, energy and food from eating plants directly or indirectly. In other words, consumers are organisms that depends on other organisms for food.
All consumers are heterotroph and they lack chlorophyll. They either animals that derive their nutrient, energy and food from feeding directly on plants such as cow, goat, sheep and elephant and so they popularly known a herbivores or primary consumers
The animals which also feed on the primary consumers, like dog, lions, leopard and tigers are called carnivores or secondary consumers.
Primarily, consumers are heterotrophs that feed on other organisms. They include all holozoic organisms such as herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, decomposers, and parasites. The examples of heterotrophs or consumers in a terrestrial ecosystem are caterpillars, cow, lions, toad, hawk, man, lizard, dogs etc. while the aquatic heterotrophs are or include water fleas, tadpoles, larvae of insect and fishes
The composers in an ecosystem
Decomposers are bacteria or fungi which lives saprophytically or feed on dead remains of plants, animals and other organisms, leading to or breaking down of organic matters to produce soluble nutrients which is absorbed by plants. Decomposers are organisms that feeds on dead organisms. They helps to break down dead organic matters and release simple chemical compound which plants can absorb and use again. Other examples of decomposers are insect such as termite and larvae of housefly.
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