Humans consider themselves amazingly clever and innovative, constantly developing “new” ways of altering the world around us. As material consumption has increased, many have turned to the ideas of recycling and reuse as a means to minimize some negative aspects of our modern consumerism. Mother Nature though is the ultimate innovator and, more importantly, the ultimate recycler.
Write a brief paper that summarizes the key role that protists and fungi play as nature’s recyclers. Focus your paper on your local environment or perhaps your favorite location. Emphasize their specific ecological functions, using appropriate terminology, within food webs and biogeochemical cycles. Identify at least one species of each within your paper.
Rubric: Nature’s Recyclers
|Role of fungi and protists as recyclers is discussed||Protists and fungi are identified as decomposers; the terms saprobes and decomposer are accurately applied. Specific mention is made of how these organisms serve as “recyclers.” At least 1 species of each is identified.||Protists and fungi are identified as decomposers; discussion includes why this is “recycling.” One species of each is identified.||Protists and fungi are identified as decomposers only; no specific species are named.||3 pts|
|Discussion focuses on single location||Multiple protists/fungi and their roles are identified appropriate to the specified location.||Specific role of protists/fungi is identified for a specified location.||No specific location is discussed||3 pts|
|Role of fungi/protists in food webs are discussed||Role of fungi/protists as the decomposer level of food webs is discussed in relation to other levels of food webs.||Role of fungi/protists as the decomposer level of food webs is discussed.||Role of fungi/protists as the decomposer level of food webs is not discussed.||3 pts|
|Role of fungi/protists in biogeochemical cycles is identified||Role of fungi/protists in multiple specific biogeochemical cycles is discussed.||Role of fungi/protists in at least one biogeochemical cycle is discussed.||Fungi/protists are not discussed in terms of biogeochemical cycles.||3 pts|
|Total points: 12|