Describe the major differences between the ecological niches of humans and cockroaches. Are these two forms of life in competition? If so, how do they manage to coexist?
Ecological niches of humans and cockroaches
Every organism in an ecosystem has a niche, a special role or function that they play. The cockroach plays the role of a decomposer which is an essential part of any ecosystem. Living organisms are interdependent; they need each other in order to survive. Therefore it is wrong to say that roaches and humans are in competition. To be in competition they both must fight to overcome the other. Roaches play a significant role as first tier decomposers. They shred dead and decaying organic matter into smaller pieces so that it would be eaten by recycling bacteria. Heaps of dirt would pile up if it weren’t for cockroaches to feed on dirt. It is true that they carry diseases because they eat rotten food, and thus pick up any nastiness was on the food to begin with. But most importantly they could serve as a reset button for life if there were a nuclear war, due to their very high tolerance of radiation. Cockroaches unlike humans live in really dirty and dark places because they can find food easily in them. Generally speaking, all life on this planet fills some ecological niche that cannot be filled by anything else, and if we wipe out that life, we may subvert earth’s fragile biological balance. Moreover, if humans decide to destroy all the roaches on earth it would be impossible to do so without opting fumigation for the entire planet, which would also kill humans. (Paige)
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