An organism's role within an ecosystem depends on how it obtains its food. Plants and animals obtain their food in very different ways, so they have very different roles in an ecosystem. The way in which an organism obtains food also affects its interactions with other organisms in the ecosystem.
In this way, how do animals play a role in the ecosystem?
A predator is an animal that kills and eats another animal, known as its prey. Scavengers are animals, such as vultures and hyenas, that eat organisms that are already dead. Decomposers break apart dead organisms or the waste material of living organisms, returning the nutrients to the ecosystem.
What is the role of the consumer in the ecosystem?
Consumers are a very important part of the ecosystem. Producers are organisms that make their own energy from the sun like plants and algae. Primary consumers eat producers, and are herbivores like deer or squirrels. Secondary consumers eat primary consumers and often are carnivores like wolves or cougars.
What role does a keystone species play in an ecosystem?
A keystone species is a plant or animal that plays a unique and crucial role in the way an ecosystem functions. Without keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether. The role that a keystone species plays in its ecosystem is analogous to the role of a keystone in an arch.