Oct 03 2009
Detritivores vs. Decomposers – Question
Okay- I’m having a little troubling understanding the key differences between detritivores and decomposers. I know then definitions of these two terms (but I still do not know exactly how these two types of organisms differ in an ecosystem): a detritivore is a consumer organism that feeds on detritus and the wastes of living organisms; a decomposer is an organism that digests parts of dead organisms and wastes of living organisms by breaking down complex organic molecules in those materials to simpler inorganic compounds, and then it absorbs soluble nutrients (producers can then go on to return most of these chemcials to the soil and water for reuse). Right now my understanding (put in very simple terms) is that a decomposer is like a “recycler” and a detritivore is more like a “garbage-eater.” If someone could please clarify or correct me before the test, that would be great! Thanks!