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Importance of Microorganisms in the EcosystemBY: Amna Adnan | Category: Biology | Submitted: 2010-07-09 06:51:30
Article Summary: "Microorganisms are present in every part of the earth. They can live even in the most heated areas and in most cold environment. They are beneficent for the ecosystem as they help to decompose, produce oxygen and create symbiotic relationship with higher organisms..."
Microorganisms are the important part of the ecosystem of the planet earth. They are usually unicellular and cannot be seen without naked eye. Though they are very small but they possess proper functions of life. They contain proper double stranded DNA which has the complete genetic information in it. They can be found in any habitat whether it is very cold environment or very hot environment for example, deserts, rocks, ice and many other areas. They simply divide by cell division. If there were no microorganisms on earth, the ecosystem would have died by now because they help in degradation of the dead materials.
There are many important functions of the microorganisms in the ecosystem of the earth. Some of them are as follows.
Microorganisms are the main source of decomposition. When an animal or human die, they penetrate in their bodies and deep inside, they start digesting the dead skin and other organs. When the microorganisms decompose a body, in that process many useful nutrients are released from the body which help in many processes. If there were no microorganisms then it would be impossible for the dead body to decompose and nutrients would have lost somewhere. Due to the process of decomposition, the soil becomes fertile and can be beneficent for the production of plants. The soil cannot be fertilized without microorganisms.
Production of Oxygen:-
The other area in which microorganisms play their part is the production of oxygen. The rainforests are considered to be the lungs of the world but still they provide half of the oxygen, the other half is provided by the microorganisms. It is a fact that microorganisms are the source of producing oxygen in the environment. Single celled green plants especially include in this category of microorganisms like cyanobacteria and blue green algae. The habitat of these plants is the oceans, lakes and ponds. It is not that these plants only produce oxygen but they also produce food that is why they are called as autotrophs.
Parasitic nature of microorganisms:-
Though it seems negative property of the microorganisms that they cause diseases in the living organisms due to the parasitic characteristics in them, but if we see from other aspect, they are the cause of bringing evolution of many species because weak organisms die out due to the disease and strong and beneficent organisms are left out in the ecosystem. It is their parasitic nature which kills the weak individuals from the community and leaves enough food for those who survive so that they can grow and reproduce efficiently and healthily.
One more important role of the microorganisms is that they create symbiotic relationship with higher organisms like cows and camels and sheep etc. when cow eats grass, it cannot digest it independently but there are certain microbes involved which help it to digest the food. Other benefit point is that when termites eat wood, they are not able to digest it but there is a special microorganism in their gut which helps to digest wood. When humans are concerned, they are also not able to digest their food without microbes. There is bacterial specie in our intestine E.coli which helps to digest the food properly.
Plants also create symbiotic relationships with microorganisms. For example, higher plants have fungi which live in their roots. It helps plant to grow by providing nutrients to it and in return it takes its food from the plant. Similarly some bacteria live in the legumes roots. They help them to take nitrogen that is present in the soil. Similarly there are some microorganisms which help create symbiotic relationship with the marine ecosystem.
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