a)why is predation important in a biodiversity rich eco system ? b) give two examples of mechanism by which plants protects themselves from predators

Dear Student,

Predators play a very important role in our ecosystem. They act as conduits for energy transfer from plants to higher trophic levels. They keep the prey populations under control. If predators were absent, the prey species would reach high population densities leading to instability in the ecosystem. Also, if an exotic species is introduced into a new land (geographical area), they become invasive and start spreading fast as their natural predators are absent in the new land. Predators also help in the biological control of the pest population in the agricultural sector. They help maintain species diversity by reducing the intensity of competition among the prey population. Therefore, predators are very important in our biodiversity-rich ecosystem.

The mechanisms involved in plants to protect themselves from predators are:
  • Structural defenses - Certain structures on the body of the plants such as spines, trichomes, thick cuticle, sand or needle-like particles inside the body tissues, discourage the herbivores from consuming them. 
  • Chemical defenses - Plants produce and store chemicals which adversely affect the herbivores by making them sick, interfere with their digestive process, or directly killing them, as seen in Calotropis which produces a poisonous glycoside that acts as a cardiac poison. 


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