An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving, physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight.sEcosystems are functional units consisting of living things in a given area, non-living chemical and physical factors of their environment, linked together through nutrient cycle and energy flow.
Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Large marine ecosystem
Subsurface Lithoautotrophic Microbial Ecosystem
Detoxifying natural substances
The services and goods an ecosystem provides are often undervalued as many of them are without market value. Broad examples include:
regulating (climate, floods, nutrient balance, water filtration)
provisioning (food, medicine, fur, minerals)
cultural (science, spiritual, ceremonial, recreation, aesthetic)
supporting (nutrient cycling, photosynthesis, soil formation).
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(Organisation or Structural aspect of an ecosystem)
An ecosystem comprises of two basic components
i) Abiotic components and
ii) Biotic components
The relationship between the biotic components and abiotic components of an ecosystem is called ‘holocoenosis’.
Abiotic ComponentsBack to Top
These include the non-living, physico – chemical factors such as air, water, soil and the basic elements and compounds of the environment.
Abiotic factors are broadly classified under three categories.
Climatic factors which include the climatic regime and physical factors of the environment like light, humidity, atmospheric temperature, wind, etc.
Edaphic factors which are related to the structure and composition of soil including its physical and chemical properties, like soil and its types, soil profile, minerals, organic matter, soil water, soil organisms.
Inorganic substances like water, carbon, sulphur, nitrogen, phosphorus and so on. Organic substances like proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, humic substances etc.
Biotic ComponentsBack to Top
It comprises the living part of the environment, which includes the association of a number of interrelated populations belonging to different species in a common environment.
The populations are that of animal community, plant community and microbial community.
Biotic community is distinguished into autotrophs, heterotrophs and saprotrophs.
Autotrophs (Gr: auto – self, trophos – feeder) are also called producers, convertors or transducers.
These are photosynthetic plants, generally chlorophyll bearing, which synthesize high-energy complex organic compounds (food) from inorganic raw materials with the help of sunlight, and the process is referred as photosynthesis.
Autortophs form the basis of any biotic system.
In terrestrial ecosystems, the autotrophs are mainly the rooted plants.
Animal and Plant Cell Structures Instructions: Your lab report will consist of the completed tables. Label each structure of the plant and animal cell with its description and function in the tables provided. When your lab report is complete, post it in Submitted Assignment files. 1. Animal Cell: Observe the diagram showing the components of an animal cell. Using the textbook and virtual library ...
In aquatic ecosystems, floating plants called phytoplankton and shallow water rooted plants called macrophytes are the dominant producers.
Heterotrophs (Gr: heteros – other; trophs – feeder) are called consumers, which are generally animals feeding on other organisms.
Consumer’s also referred as phagotrophs (phago – to ingest or swallow) or macroconsumers are mainly herbivores and carnivores.
Herbivores are referred as First order consumers or primary consumers, as they feed directly on plants.
For e.g., Terrestrial ecosystem consumers like cattle, deer, rabbit, grass hopper, etc.
Aquatic ecosystem consumers like protozoans, crustaceans, etc.
Carnivores are animals, which feed or prey upon other animals.
Primary carnivores or Second order consumers include the animals which feed on the herbivorous animals.
For e.g., fox, frog, predatory birds, smaller fishes, snakes, etc.
Secondary carnivores or Third order consumers include the animals, which feed on the primary carnivores.
For e.g., wolf, peacock, owl, etc.
Secondary carnivores are preyed upon by some larger carnivores.
Tertiary carnivores or Quaternary consumers include the animals, which feed on the secondary carnivores.
For e.g., lion, tiger, etc.
These are not eaten by any other animals.
The larger carnivores, which cannot be preyed upon further are called top carnivores.
Saprotrophs (Gr: sapros – rotten; trophos – feeder) are also called decomposers or reducers. They break down the complex organic compounds of dead matter (of plants and animals).
Decomposers do not ingest their food. Instead they secrete digestive enzymes into the dead and decaying plant and animal remains to digest the organic material. Enzymes act upon the complex organic compounds of the dead matter.
Decomposers absorb a part of the decomposition products for their own nourishment. The remaining substances are added as minerals to the substratum (mineralisation).
Released minerals are reused (utilised) as nutrients by the plants (producers).