|GreenBean Says "High and low on the chain I go!" |
Every participant in an ecosystem has an important part to play and if one becomes more dominant than the others, the ecosystem can develop problems.
We'll start with the producers. These are living things which take the non living matter from the environment, such as minerals and gases and uses them to support life.
Green plants are considered producers and the are at the beginning of the food chain.
Next are the consumers. These living things need the producers to be their food.
Animals who eat plants are called herbivores. They are considered consumers and are next in the food chain. Animals who eat other animals are called carnivores. They also considered consumers and are a link farther along on the food chain since they need the herbivores for their food.
Animals and people who eat both animals and plants are called omnivores, and they are also part of the consumer piece of the ecosystem.
Finally, the last part of the ecosystem is the decomposers. These are the living things which feed off dead plants and animals and reduce their remains to minerals and gases again. Examples are fungi, like mushrooms, and bacteria.