Module 06: Decomposers and detritivores

Decomposer module photo 800px

Explore the often unseen world of the animals, plants and fungi that break apart and recycle the nutrients in the ecosystem. While doing this, learn practical scientific skills such as trapping, identification and building terraria.

Session 1. Rotting wood
Have a look at the millipedes, woodlice, snails, beetles and bees that make rotting wood their home. Build a small rotting wood terrarium to examine these animals up close.

Session 2. Soil
Start digging for the animals that live on and under the soil. Learn how to make pitfall traps for ground dwelling insects. Construct a small wormery to keep some earthworms.

Session 3. Leaf litter
Make collections of animals that live in fallen leaves and mulch. Learn what a Tullgren funnel is and use it to extract animals from the leaf litter.

Session 4. Microscopy and identification
Examine your leaf litter catch up close. Identify what you caught and describe a habitat based on the animals that you found.

Available from June 2019 onwards. This module is an ideal companion to Freshwater Life and Flowers and Pollinators.

Last update: 19 April 2019