In Defense of Scavengers and Decomposers
What happens when an animal dies in the forest? Typically, the FBI are on scene within minutes. Not the Federal Bureau of Investigations; rather the Fungus, Bacteria, and Invertebrates. Insects, such as flies, are attracted to carrion in search of a place to lay eggs. Beetles arrive and begin scavenging on the flesh, followed by vultures, opossums, crows, raccoons, and other carrion eaters. Bacteria help break down the rest of the body and the waste from the scavengers, returning the remaining nutrients back to the soil.
How does energy flow through a food web? All energy comes from the sun, which provides the initial energy that stimulates photosynthesis in plants (producers). Inside the plant, chloroplasts use energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and sugar. This sugar or carbohydrate provides the energy needed for plant growth. Plant-eating animals (rabbits and squirrels – primary consumers) ingest the sugar from the plant, obtaining necessary energy. The animal itself gets consumed by secondary consumers such as fox and hawks and the cycle continues.
About the Author
Environmental Educator and Volunteer Coordinator
Elissa has been involved with Teatown for 26 years as camper, volunteer and staff. She is a NYS Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator and an EMT. She has many interests including herpetology, travel, photography and learning new things.