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Old 01-16-2013, 09:18 PM   #1
PupThePup
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Yeast have been used to produce CO2 and alcohol for thousands of years, but what is their purpose in ecology?

 
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:25 PM   #2
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decomposition of organic matter?

 
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:35 PM   #3
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Why do they have to have a purpose? They have an abundant food supply and are very resilient and adaptive. They don't have to do anything, they just have to be good at what they do.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:42 PM   #4
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Evolution does not dictate that everything have a specific purpose.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:43 PM   #5
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They are useful in making bread and beer (so we cultivate them, which is good for their species) and in balancing out sugars in other organisms (like people), so they have a symbiotic relationship with other living things. But if we could ask them, they would probably say they have the same purpose as us all--propogation of the species.

 
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:44 PM   #6
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Well giving you my non-expert opinion since I'm not an ecologist:

Some strains can be parasitical (yeast infections), some can be symbiotic (in your digestive system).

They protect their turf by creating toxins such as alcohol and sulfites, and influencing acidity, impeding the development of other organisms in whatever medium they are fermenting.

Animals enjoy fermented materials, providing an additional inducement (beyond the sugar) to eat fruits and poop out the seeds somewhere, ensuring propagation of the plant species.

 
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:48 PM   #7
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All those things you just listed are by products of species propagation and evolution. Natural selection determined where yeast live, what they eat, and who they benefit. Yeast as a species had no say in the matter.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:53 PM   #8
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This is probably one of the best questions ever asked on here. I've honestly never given it a thought, but wow....
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:03 PM   #9
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From WikiPedia:

Quote:
The ecological function and biodiversity of yeasts are relatively unknown compared to those of other microorganisms.
An interesting read.

 
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:05 PM   #10
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The only purpose of any living thing is to reproduce and perpetuate the species.
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