... •Un-decomposed material is litter
•fully decomposed material is humus
•physical and biological process
•detritovores - detritus eating invertebrates
•microbial decomposers - bacteria/fungi
•fixed, lost and transformed nutrients
... Organization of the Biosphere
• Chemical cycling- chemicals cycle through
an ecosystem until they are returned to
the environment through death and
• Energy cycling-flows from the sun through
photosynthesizers to others in food chain
and dissipates back to the environment as
... Taphonomy is the study of the processes that
affect the decomposition, dispersal, erosion,
burial, and re-exposure of organisms after, at,
and even before death.
It is the study of the fate of human remains.
Forensic Taphonomy is a subfield of forensic
There are two branches of ...
... leaves it devoid of life.
• How it happens: When nitrates and
phosphates (namely coming from
agricultural areas as runoff) accumulate in
bodies of water, they act as nutrients, and
increase the growth of plants and algae…
... Terms to know (some are used in the readings, others you may need to look up):
Net vs. gross primary production
Water holding capacity
organic vs. inorganic nutrients (C, N, P)
labile vs. resistant
actual evapotrans ...
... The process of decomposition involves the gradual breaking down of dead material to
smaller and smaller particles and eventually to small molecules. It involves the action of
physical factors, such as weathering and leaching, and the activities of microorganisms and
detritivores. Litter within inter ...
... A fungus is an organism that obtains food by feeding on
other living or dead organisms. Some fungi secrete powerful
enzymes that break down organic structures which it can then
absorb as food. Thus fungi act as great recyclers. Fungi live
almost everywhere on Earth, and in almost every environment. ...
... •Dead plant biomass breaks down slowly
and their nutrients can remain tied up in as
organic detritus for long periods of time
•Primary production in many ecosystems
depends more on its recycling rate ie mainly
decomposition of plant detritus, than on
•Aquatic plants break down more rap ...
... Erosion, freezing and thawing, lightning,
rain dissolving rocks and minerals, plant
roots, animals burrowing, chemical
Dead organisms are decomposed into their
... put into our compost piles (leaves, kitchen
scraps, dead plant material, coffee grounds,
etc.) are completely decomposed, nutrients
like nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur that
were once locked inside are taken up by
... following questions in an expanded discussion on the role of
decomposers in an ecosystem.
a. What is an ecosystem service?
An ecosystem service is a vital function that some
organisms in the ecosystem provide for the benefit of all the
others. For instance, plants produce oxygen that other
animals n ...
... likely to be the result of an unhealthy soil. A healthy soil contains nutrients, microbes, fungi, trace elements and
mesofauna, which are all work together and form an essential system for sustainable plant growth. There are two
main groups of mesofauna living within the soil – springtails and mites ...
... matter are passed from one organism to another and
from one part of the biosphere to another through
• Matter can cycle because biological systems do not
use up matter, they transform it.
• Matter is assembled into living tissue or passed out of
the body as waste products.
... fission are called zooids, and they
regenerate missing parts after
separating from each other
A hard capsule called a cocoon
A few turberllarians have a free
swimming stage called a Muller larva
... eliminated the source of decay. They dried the
body by using a salt mixture called natron.
Natron is a natural substance that is found in
abundance along the Nile river. Natron is
p of four salts: sodium carbonate,,
sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, and
sodium sulfate. The sodium carbonat ...
Decomposition is the process by which organic substances are broken down into a much simpler form of matter. The process is essential for recycling the finite matter that occupies physical space in the biome. Bodies of living organisms begin to decompose shortly after death. Although no two organisms decompose in the same way, they all undergo the same sequential stages of decomposition. The science which studies decomposition is generally referred to as taphonomy from the Greek word τάφος taphos, meaning tomb.One can differentiate abiotic from biotic decomposition (biodegradation). The former means ""degradation of a substance by chemical or physical processes, e.g. hydrolysis. The latter one means ""the metabolic breakdown of materials into simpler components by living organisms"", typically by microorganisms.