Table of Contents
BIOTIC COMPONENTS OF THE ECOSYSTEM
Life is incomplete until biotic and abiotic components of ecosystem, Biotic components of the ecosystem include microorganisms (bacteria, protozoans, algae and fungi), plants and animals. These organisms exhibit interspecific as well as intra specific relationships. Because of these relationships, the organisms interact with each other. The interaction is mainly for nutritional purpose. This nutritionally requirement brings organisms close to each other. In an ecosystem, organisms on the basis of their nutritional status are of three types-Producers, Consumers and decomposers. These types have different energy status or levels. Such energy levels in an ecosystem are called trophic levels.
Producers are the organisms which carry out photosynthesis and produce food by utilizing energy from sunlight. Example, Algae and green plants.
These organisms are provided with photosynthetic pigments (such as chlorophyl).
Producers use only a small portion of the energy which 1s obtained by them. The rest amount of energy remains stored for future use.
Producers depend directly on abiotic factors such as sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. Producers occupy the first trophic level in an ecosystem. They maintain the oxygen carbon dioxide balance in the nature.
Producers may also be called as ‘transducers’ as they convert the solar radiant energy into chemical energy.
Consumers are the organisms which feed and depend on other organism’s tor the restive needs. Consumers can be of many types such as herbivores, primary carnivores’ nutritive needs. And secondary carnivores, etc.
Primar consumers (Herbivores): These consumers depend directly on producers (plants and their products) for the supply of food. They are also called herbivores. According to Elton herbivores are the key industry animals: Ex-Rabbit, deer, squirrel, grasshopper, cattle etc.
Secondary consumers (primary carnivores): These are the consumers which obtain their food directly from the herbivores (primary consumers). These are also called primary or thirst order carnivores. These include-Frog, snakes, small fishes, foxes, wolf, some birds etc.
Tertiary consumers (secondary or top carnivores): These organisms derive their food from secondary consumers (or primary carnivores). These include tiger, lion, large carnivore fishes etc.
3. Decomposers (reducers)
These are the organisms, which feed upon the dead bodies and decaying organic matter of other organisms (herbivores and consumers).
These organisms decompose complex organic matter into simpler inorganic compounds. These organisms therefore help in recycling of materials within an ecosystem. Example, Bacteria and fungi. As they feed on the dead bodies of other organisms, they are also called Scavengers or ‘detrivores’.