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Are there any organisms that are decomposers, producers and consumers?
Question Date: 2005-10-21
Answer 1:

I think what you mean is: are there any organisms that can be all 3 things together?

Well, lets go over the definitions: Producers are organisms that produce their own energy from something that is not living. Plants are called producers because they do precisely that. Plants get their energy from the sun. They can turn the energy in light into energy to grow tall. You can remember this by thinking of the produce section in the grocery store. There are many different parts of plants there, vegetables, fruits, and leaves, like lettuce. These are also a type of autotroph. An autotroph is an organism that makes its own food from inorganic substances.

But not everyone can produce their own energy. Consumers are Organisms who have to eat other living forms (like fruit or meat) in order to get their energy. They must obtain nutrients from other organisms. Animals are called consumers because they need to eat to get their energy. There are many different types of consumers. Some eat only plants (a consumer eating a producer), others only meat (a consumer eating a consumer), and some both. This is also a heterotroph. A heterotroph is an organism that cannot synthesize their own food and must obtain it ready made.

There are also decomposers. A decomposer is an organism of decay. These are also called saprobes. They break down the remains of dead animals and plants (producer or a consumer), releasing the substances that can be used by other members of the ecosystem, turning them back into soil. Decomposers can be little tiny organisms like bacteria, or earthworms, or mushrooms and molds. Decomposers are a specific type of consumer. They need to consume other organisms, but they are different from other consumers because instead of using the energy to put into their own body they use a lot of it to break up dead matter.

So in fact there is a major difference between producers (plants) producing their own energy from something that is not living and consumers and decomposers who rely on the energy in other living matter to live. This is why a single organism cannot be all of these things. The same organism cannot produce its own energy from something that is not living, and consume it or decompose it. It cannot be a autotroph and heterotroph. Every organism has a specific role to play in nature.

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