• Question: What is the role of the microorganisms

    Asked by Ethan M to Zoe V, Stephanie F, Sharon M, Precious O, Louisse M, Karen A, Jordan K, John CC, Amy T on 11 Feb 2024.
    • Photo: Karen Adler

      Karen Adler answered on 11 Feb 2024:

      That’s a huge question! There are all sorts of microorganisms – some are animals, some are plants, some are fungi, some are bacteria, and some are viruses!

      Like us, what they want is just to survive and reproduce. Some just live a passive quiet life in the soil or water or air, doing just that. Some have friendly interactions, like the lichen you can find on trees and rocks – lichen isn’t an organism on it’s own, it is fungi and algae (microscopic single celled plant) living together. Sometimes, the only place these microorganisms can survive is inside a different organism: this can be bad, where the microorganisms grow at the expense of the other organism – like diseases; or, it can be good, where the microogranisms do something that benefits the other organism, and in turn gain the benefit of growing in a warm, food-rich place – like the bacteria in our gut (without them, we’d barely be able to digest our food, and we’d be very sick and weak).

      Hopefully that helps – great question!