Ecosystem: components and types of Ecosystem

What is the ecosystem?

Primarily we can say ecosystem is also an ecological unit which includes both living (biotic) as well as non-living (abiotic) components of a particular area. Ecosystem is known as the basic and functional unit of ecology.

The term ecosystem was given by A.G. Tansley (1935). It can be defined as a basic and functional ecological unit which includes all biotic and abiotic components of a given area and involves their mutual interaction. Ecosystem is therefore a biotic community along with its abiotic surroundings. 

Ex: pond, desert, grassland, lake, forest, estuary etc.

Components of Ecosystem:

There are two types of components of Ecosystem. 

1. Abiotic components

2. Biotic components

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📖 THE COMPONENTS OF ECOSYSTEM 📖

Abiotic components:

These include the non-living components of Ecosystem. Some important abiotic factors are_

I. Light: 

Light is one of the most important abiotic factors. All plants and animals depend directly and indirectly on light. The quality of light influences living organisms in many ways. It helps in: photosynthesis, pigmentation, plant growth, photoperiodism etc.

II. Temperature: 

Organisms can survive only in a narrow range of temperature, which helps in their metabolism. Organisms are highly sensitive to temperature changes and accordingly they undergo morphological, behavioural and physiological adaptations to suit the extremes of temperature.

III. Gases: 

Atmospheric gases such as Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, and Nitrogen play an important role in biological activities.

IV. Wind:

 Wind is helpful for organisms in – transportation, soil erosion, pollination, dispersal etc.

V. Water: 

Water is the prime abiotic factor in all ecosystems. Water helps in:

* Water is essential for photosynthesis. 

* It is the main source of oxygen.

* It is essential in metabolic activities of organisms.

* Water forms the habitat for many animals and plant variety.

VI. pH 

pH of the medium refers to the concentration of Hydrogen ions. pH of the medium has direct impact on the life of organisms.

VII. Soil: 

 It is the shallow layer of earth which consists of very fine sand particles, organic and inorganic decompositions. It forms the habitat of all terrestrial organisms, many microorganisms. It helps to anchor the plants.

Biotic components:

Biotic components of the ecosystem include microorganisms, plants and animals. These organisms exhibit interspecific and intraspecific relationships.

In an ecosystem, organisms on the basis of nutritional status are of three types. 

1. Producers

2. Consumers

3. Decomposers

1. Producers: 

producers are the organisms which carry out photosynthesis and produce food by utilising energy from sunlight. 

Ex : Green plants, algae

2. Consumers;

Consumers are the organisms which feed and depend on other organisms for their nutritive needs.

3. Decomposers:

These are the organisms, which feed upon the dead bodies and decaying organic matter of other organisms (herbivores, and all consumers).

Types of ecosystem:

An ecosystem is a space on earth, which has well defined boundaries and contains biotic and abiotic factors. It can be a single drop of water, taken from a pond or it can be as big as an entire ocean.

There are mainly two types of ecosystem:

1. Terrestrial ecosystem

2. Aquatic ecosystem

1. Terrestrial ecosystem:

Land-based ecosystems are generally known as terrestrial ecosystems. On the basis of their geological distribution there terrestrial ecosystem can be divided into:

I. Forest Ecosystem

II. Grassland Ecosystem

III. Tundra Ecosystem

IV. Desert Ecosystem

I. Forest Ecosystem:

The Forest Ecosystem consists of several plants, animals and macro-organisms that live in coordination with abiotic factors of the environment.

II. Grassland Ecosystem:

 In the grassland Ecosystem the vegetation is dominated by grasses and herbs. 

Ex: Savanna grassland, Temperate grassland

III. Tundra Ecosystem;

The tundra Ecosystems are devoid of trees and are found in cold climates where rainfall is scarce. These are covered with snow most of the year.

Ex: Arctic ecosystem, mountain tops

IV. Desert Ecosystem:

These are the regions with very little rainfall. Here the days are hot and nights are cold.

Ex: Thor desert

2.Aquatic Ecosystem:

Aquatic ecosystems are ecosystems present in a body of water.

I. Freshwater ecosystem

II. Marine ecosystem

I. Freshwater ecosystem:

Freshwater ecosystems include aquatic  ecosystems like lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and wetlands etc.

II. Marine ecosystem:

Marine ecosystem includes seas and oceans. These have a more substantial salt content and great biodiversity in comparison to the freshwater ecosystem.

Important ecological concepts

Energy flow in an ecosystem:

Energy is the capacity to do work. Without energy no work can be done. According to the first law of thermodynamics, “energy cannot be created nor be destroyed”. It can only be transformed from one form to another. Therefore the whole energy of the universe is constant. The best example of energy transformation in nature is that of light energy (from sun) into chemical energy (food) by green plants through photosynthesis.

Thus the main source of energy for an ecosystem is Solar energy.

                      Sunlight

6CO2 + 12H2O _ C6H12O6 + 6O2 + 6H2O           green plant

The flow of energy in an ecosystem means it’s flow from one trophic to the next trophic level. Energy flow is always unidirectional from producer to consumer level.

Food chain:

Solar energy is utilised by green plants or producers. From producers this energy is transferred to the primary consumers ( herbivores), which directly feed on the plants. From herbivores, the energy is transferred to the next trophic level of secondary consumers (primary carnivores). The energy from secondary consumers is finally transferred to the top carnivores or tertiary consumers.Therefore, all biotic components at different trophic levels from producers to consumers are linked for their nutritive needs.

So a food chain can be defined as the chain of organisms, in which organisms are linked together for their food requirements, called food chain. Food chain can better be expressed as a sequence of eaters being eaten.

Producers_ primary consumers_ secondary consumers_ tertiary consumers

Food web:

In an ecosystem, an isolated food chain doesn’t exist. There is an interconnection of various food chains in an ecosystem. The interconnection of many food chains is called the food web. A food web expresses the pattern of energy and nutrient flow, throughout the ecosystem.

Ex:

 The plant and crops are eaten by rats, insects and also by rabbits. The rat in turn consumed by snakes and insects is eaten by a lizard. The snake, lizard and Rabbit all can be consumed by a hawk. In this way a network of interconnecting organisms is obtained which is known as food web.

Ecological pyramid:

The number, biomass and energy of the organisms in an ecosystem change gradually from producer to the top consumer level. These gradual changes can be expressed in a triangular form. Such expressions are known as ecological pyramids.  There are three types of ecological pyramids. 

1. Pyramid of number

It shows the relationship among trophic levels in terms of number of individuals.

2. Pyramid of energy

The flow of energy in an ecosystem from producer to consumer level.

3. Pyramid of biomass

The pyramid that shows their relation among different trophic levels in terms of biomass is called pyramid of biomass.

FAQ~

1. What is the ecosystem?

Primarily we can say ecosystem is also an ecological unit which includes both living (biotic) as well as non-living (abiotic) components of a particular area. Ecosystem is known as the basic and functional unit of ecology.

The term ecosystem was given by A.G. Tansley (1935). It can be defined as a basic and functional ecological unit which includes all biotic and abiotic components of a given area and involves their mutual interaction. Ecosystem is therefore a biotic community along with its abiotic surroundings. 

Ex: pond, desert, grassland, lake, forest, estuary etc.

2. What are the Components of Ecosystem:?

There are two types of components of Ecosystem. 

A. Abiotic components

B. Biotic components

3. Describe  Abiotic components:

These include the non-living components of Ecosystem. Some important abiotic factors are_

I. Light: 

Light is one of the most important abiotic factors. All plants and animals depend directly and indirectly on light. The quality of light influences living organisms in many ways. It helps in: photosynthesis, pigmentation, plant growth, photoperiodism etc.

II. Temperature: 

Organisms can survive only in a narrow range of temperature, which helps in their metabolism. Organisms are highly sensitive to temperature changes and accordingly they undergo morphological, behavioural and physiological adaptations to suit the extremes of temperature.

III. Gases: 

Atmospheric gases such as Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, and Nitrogen play an important role in biological activities.

IV. Wind:

 Wind is helpful for organisms in – transportation, soil erosion, pollination, dispersal etc.

V. Water: 

Water is the prime abiotic factor in all ecosystems. Water helps in:

* Water is essential for photosynthesis. 

* It is the main source of oxygen.

* It is essential in metabolic activities of organisms.

* Water forms the habitat for many animals and plant varieties.

VI. pH 

pH of the medium refers to the concentration of Hydrogen ions. pH of the medium has a direct impact on the life of organisms.

VII. Soil: 

 It is the shallow layer of earth which consists of very fine sand particles, organic and inorganic decompositions. It forms the habitat of all terrestrial organisms, many microorganisms. It helps to anchor the plants.

4. Describe Biotic components

Biotic components of the ecosystem include microorganisms, plants and animals. These organisms exhibit interspecific and intraspecific relationships.In an ecosystem, organisms on the basis of nutritional status are of three types. 

1. Producers

2. Consumers

3. Decomposers

1. Producers: 

producers are the organisms which carry out photosynthesis and produce food by utilising energy from sunlight. 

Ex : Green plants, algae

2. Consumers;

Consumers are the organisms which feed and depend on other organisms for their nutritive needs.

3. Decomposers:

These are the organisms, which feed upon the dead bodies and decaying organic matter of other organisms (herbivores, and all consumers).

5.What are the Types of ecosystem:

An ecosystem is a space on earth, which has well defined boundaries and contains biotic and abiotic factors. It can be a single drop of water, taken from a pond or it can be as big as an entire ocean.

There are mainly two types of ecosystem:

1. Terrestrial ecosystem

2. Aquatic ecosystem

6. Describe the Important ecological concepts and Describe the Energy flow in an ecosystem?

Energy is the capacity to do work. Without energy no work can be done. According to the first law of thermodynamics, “energy cannot be created nor be destroyed”. It can only be transformed from one form to another. Therefore the whole energy of the universe is constant. The best example of energy transformation in nature is that of light energy (from sun) into chemical energy (food) by green plants through photosynthesis.

Thus the main source of energy for an ecosystem is Solar energy.

                      Sunlight

6CO2 + 12H2O _ C6H12O6 + 6O2 + 6H2O           green plant

The flow of energy in an ecosystem means it’s flow from one trophic to the next trophic level. Energy flow is always unidirectional from producer to consumer level.

7. What is Food chain describe briefly 

Solar energy is utilised by green plants or producers. From producers this energy is transferred to the primary consumers ( herbivores), which directly feed on the plants. From herbivores, the energy is transferred to the next trophic level of secondary consumers (primary carnivores). The energy from secondary consumers is finally transferred to the top carnivores or tertiary consumers.Therefore, all biotic components at different trophic levels from producers to consumers are linked for their nutritive needs.

So a food chain can be defined as the chain of organisms, in which organisms are linked together for their food requirements, called food chain. Food chain can better be expressed as a sequence of eaters being eaten.

Producers_ primary consumers_ secondary consumers_ tertiary consumers

8. What is Food web describe briefly 

In an ecosystem, an isolated food chain doesn’t exist. There is an interconnection of various food chains in an ecosystem. The interconnection of many food chains is called the food web. A food web expresses the pattern of energy and nutrient flow, throughout the ecosystem.

Ex:

 The plant and crops are eaten by rats, insects and also by rabbits. The rat in turn consumed by snakes and insects is eaten by a lizard. The snake, lizard and Rabbit all can be consumed by a hawk. In this way a network of interconnecting organisms is obtained which is known as food web.

9. Describe the Ecological pyramid

The number, biomass and energy of the organisms in an ecosystem change gradually from producer to the top consumer level. These gradual changes can be expressed in a triangular form. Such expressions are known as ecological pyramids.  There are three types of ecological pyramids.

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