There are a vast amount of plants and animals that cover the globe and are essential to the overall balance of the ecosystem. Plants and Animals serve many different purposes and come in many different forms throughout their development process. The overall structures and functions of plants and animals can adapt based on the exposure within their environment. In addition, plants and animals can provide many benefits, outside of solely being a food source. These benefits can favorably impact the surrounding environment or organism that consumes them.
Plants and Animal Structures within the Environment
Cactus or Cacti are highly recognizable plants within our ecosystem. They have a thick, hard-walled, succulent stem that allows the plant to store water when it rains. Through these stems the plant can conduct photosynthesis, and the stems appear green and fleshy. The inside of this structure can either be spongy or hollow. This feature is contingent on the species of cacti (Enchanted Learning, 2016).
In addition, cacti contain a thick, waxy coating that allows the plant to keep water inside the structure so that the water molecules do not evaporate. A good number of cacti species have very long, fibrous roots and their function is to absorb moisture from the soil. Also, many species of cacti have spines or scales, which serve as a modification for the plant structure. Cacti utilize these features because they do not lose water through evaporation like regular leaves. These features also serve as a defense mechanism and protect the cactus from predators. (Enchanted Learning, 2016).
Cacti, like orchids, have features that are utilized for attracting pollinators as stated by Ibrahima Diallo. Orchids use their petals to protect the plant structure, while using them as beacons to attract pollinators (AIU, 2017). Cacti also have the ability to produce flowers, which are usually bisexual containing male and female reproductive structures called stamens and pistils, and come in different colors such as red, pink, orange, yellow, or white. These flowers do not normally appear in the color blue. These features are referred to as sepals, and are petal-like in appearance and combine with surrounding petal like structures on the cacti to form a highly scented, nectar producing flower that can attract pollinators such as hawk-moths, bees, bats, and birds. These structures commonly attract hummingbirds and small doves. They also produce a fruit that appears as a many-seeded berry (JRank, 2017).
Benefits of Animals to Society
There are many different benefits that animals provide to humans. One item is a product that is produced by bees called Propolis. Bee Propolis is a material that bees use to seal small cracks and gaps in the hive structure. This substance is created when bees collect resin from trees and a variety of other sources, and mix it with their saliva and honey. This composition has many different health benefits and can be found in human products such as toothpaste (Global Healing Center, 2014).
There are many benefits that propolis has on humans. Some of these benefits include: the discouragement of infection, natural antibiotic, helps minor burns, aids ear infections, supports immune system, helps cure nail infections, regulate blood sugar and is a carcinogen fighter (Global Healing Center, 2014).The most important benefit of animals is utilizing materials they produce to create medicines and vaccines to aid the human body. The chemical composition of the substances that animals create can be used to prevent or even cure most diseases that are prone to humans. The most effective way to cultivate these materials is the ability to obtain them without causing harm to the host. Causing harm to the animals that produce these substances can negatively impact the ecosystem and cause further destruction for humans.
There are many adaptations that animals possess that plants do not have. One adaptation is feathers. It has been speculated that feathers were originally an adaptation that was used to keep an animal warm, and is now used to aid an animal in flight. An occurrence like this can also be called an exaptation. Another adaptation that animals have is the ability to change their diets. For example Ruby – Throated Hummingbirds have adapted to become omnivores, which mean they can consume both plants and animals, such as insects, in order to obtain nutrients from a variety of sources. In humans, a common adaptation is when certain structures become useless. This is called vestigial adaptations and an example of this is the human appendix. The appendix is virtually useless and it is believed that it was once utilized by humans when they primarily had a diet abundant with vegetation (National Geographic, 2017).
Cactus-Biology of Cacti. (2017). Retrieved from JRank.org
Cactus Plants (Family Cactaceae). (2016). Retrieved from EnchantedLearning.com
What is Bee Propolis? 10 Great Uses. (2014). Retrieved from GlobalHealingCenter.com
Adaptation. (2017). Retrieved from NationalGeographic.org