Q:

What is a grassland decomposer?

A:

Grassland decomposers are organisms that feed on decaying organic matter, breaking it down into nutrients that are returned to the soil for more plant growth. These decomposers are insects, fungi and microorganisms.

Arthropods are small insects that live in the soil and decompose decaying matter. Arthropods shred organic material and then redistribute the nutrients throughout the soil. Furthermore, they help to stimulate the growth and activity of other decomposers such and fungi and microorganisms. Some arthropods found in grasslands include springtails, pseudoscorpions and rugose harvester ants. A common arthropod found in the African savannah grasslands are termites. Earthworms also act as decomposers, and they compete with arthropods for decaying matter.

Fungi is another decomposer found in a grassland biome. There are many types of decomposing fungi from mycorrhizae to Mycena aetites. Mycorrhizae is a type of fungus found in the roots of grassland plants. This fungus protects the plant from disease, enables it to absorb nutrients and helps it to tolerate drought conditions. In return, the plant provides the fungus with a food source. The majority of plants found in grasslands share a symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizae.

Mycena aetites is another species of fungus commonly found in grasslands. It feeds mostly on decaying grass and leaf litter.

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