noun, plural: decomposers

(ecology) An organism whose ecological function involves the recycling of nutrients by performing the natural process of decomposition as it feeds on decaying organisms


A food chain is comprised of trophic levels, which refer to a level or a position in a food chain or ecological pyramid. Each trophic level in a food chain or ecological pyramid is occupied by a group of organisms that have a similar feeding mode. There are three fundamental groups of living things classified based on feeding mode. These are producers, consumers, and decomposers. The producers are the ones that obtain nourishment directly from inorganic sources. The consumers are the ones that feed on organic matter. Decomposers are those that break down dead organic material and wastes.

Decomposers are organisms that break down dead or decaying organisms and wastes. Their role is ecologically essential as they recycle the nutrients through a natural biological process (decomposition). Examples of decomposers are fungi and bacteria that obtain their nutrients from dead plant or animal material. They break down cells of dead plants and animals into simpler substances, which become organic nutrients available to the ecosystem.

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