Ecosystem is the interconnectedness of organisms including animals, plants, and microbes with each other and their non-living environment. Examples of the non-living aspects of the environment include climate, soil, water, sun, earth, rocks, atmosphere, temperature, and humidity. In an ecosystem, every living organism has an ecological niche. Hence, what makes an ecosystem is the complex and balanced relationship between abiotic and biotic components with each other in any given location.
The definition of an ecosystem also involves the biological and behavioral interactions between living and non-living aspects that constitute the ecological system. Perhaps by considering a small pond next to your area you’ll get to notice there exists numerous sorts of living things such as plants, insects, birds, frogs, worms, bacteria, and fungi that depend on non-living things including water, sunlight, temperature and nutrients. Thus, this intricate interaction between living and non-living things is defined as an ecosystem.
Earth as an ecosystem stands out in the all of the universe. There’s no place that we know about that can support life as we know it, not even our sister planet, Mars, where we might set up housekeeping someday, but at great effort and trouble we have to recreate the things we take for granted here.
~ Sylvia Earle
According to Wikipedia,
“An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system. These biotic and abiotic components are regarded as linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. As ecosystems are defined by the network of interactions among organisms, and between organisms and their environment, they can be of any size but usually encompass specific, limited spaces (although some scientists say that the entire planet is an ecosystem).“
Table of Contents
- Components of an Ecosystem
- Abiotic Components
- Biotic Components
- Potential Threat to Ecosystems
Components of an Ecosystem
The elements of ecosystems are primarily grouped into two, which are the abiotic and biotic components. The elements of an ecosystem detail the ecosystem structure, relationship of the organisms, their distribution, and characteristics of their environments. The concept seeks to describe the non-living (abiotic) and living (biotic) features of the environment which are defined in four basic components.
The abiotic elements of an ecosystem include all the non-living things in an environment. Examples are elements such as water, temperature, air, soil, rocks, atmosphere, minerals, nutrients, humidity, and so on. Abiotic components may also depend on how much they receive the energy from the sun that will determine temperature variation or how much rain falls in an area that determines water availability.
The physico – chemical aspects such as soil may as well determine whether a water resource is fresh or salty. These are the components that the biotic factors interact with, and are widely categorized under three divisions:
- Edaphic factors which are associated with the composition and structure of the including its chemical and physical properties such as minerals, soil profile, soil organic matter, soil moisture, and soil types.
- Inorganic and organic components. The inorganic components include phosphorous, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur and so on. Substances such as lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates include the organic components.
- Climatic aspects which include the physical and climatic elements of the environment such as atmospheric temperature, wind, humidity, and water.
The biotic elements of an ecosystem include all the living things in an environment. Producers such as green plants are at the bottom produce their own energy without consuming other life forms. Next are consumers. Consumers are living organisms that prey on producers or other living organisms. There are three main types of consumers: herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. Next are Decomposers or saprobes or saprophytes. They are also the living organisms that break down on the dead protoplasm of producers and consumers.
Producers at the bottom
Producers are the autotrophic organisms, mainly green plants and the photosynthetic as well as chemosynthetic bacteria and algae. They are the producing components of the ecosystem because they use the sun’s energy to make their food and store some of the energy in the form of chemical compounds. Producers occupy the base of the food chain and are the most prominent in the ecosystem. They are also the factors that directly interact with the abiotic elements of the ecosystem during the nutrient cycles as they make their food. Because heterotrophic organisms depend on green plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria for nourishment, the amount of energy made by the producers determines the availability of energy in the ecosystem.
Consumers in the food chain
Consumers are the heterotrophic organisms in the ecosystem that acquire energy by consuming other living organisms. Consumers are of various categories and are grouped based on what they eat. The categories include herbivores that eat producers (autotrophs), carnivores that eat herbivores and other carnivores, and omnivores that eat both producers and herbivores. Humans are also grouped under consumers. Nutrient and energy is transferred from the organism being eaten to the eater thereby forming complex food chains in the ecosystem. Only 10% of the energy is received by the eater and the energy transferred becomes even less as the trend moves up the food chain.
Decomposers or Saprotrophs
Decomposers are also known as saprotrophs or reducers. They are heterotrophic organisms that break down waste and dead matter. Examples of decomposers include dung beetles, crabs, earthworms, vultures and certain species of bacteria and fungi. These organisms secrete special enzymes on dead or waste matter which digests the materials into minute particles and absorbs the obtained energy for their metabolism. As they do this, they undertake a critical recycling function of returning the nutrients in the dead organisms back into the soils where plants can take them up to manufacture food. In this process, the decomposers also release to the very last all the energy trapped from the sun by the producers. Thus, decomposers complete the cyclical ecosystem processes.
Potential Threat to Ecosystems
Air, land, water, and soil pollution simply destroy the health of crucial ecosystems. Be it as a result of natural or anthropogenic causes, pollution potentially releases noxious substances and destructive chemicals into the environment that damage the health of living things and degrades the nature of non-living things.
In an aquatic system, for instance, water pollution can disturb the ecological balance by accelerating plant and nutrient growth thereby causing the death of fish because of suffocation resulting from dissolved oxygen depletion. The various implication of pollution is the interference with natural cycles in the ecosystem such as the oxygen cycle, the nitrogen cycle, the water cycle and the food chain, which results in adverse ecosystem damage.
Over-exploitation of Natural Resources
The exploitation of the natural resources to the point of diminishing returns has significantly destroys the ecosystem. Activities such as over hunting, over fishing, over mining, and excessive logging have led to a reduction in community structures, population distributions, and species breeding. For instance, excessive fishing has led to population collapse of more than a third of all fish species and some are currently endangered.
Foreign species that find way into an ecosystem, either by human or natural initiation can wreck serious havoc on the native members of the ecosystem. Whenever this happens, the native species can be wiped out completely or may find it tough to survive.
Invasive species often compete for food with the native species and can also alter the habitat. This gradually destroys ecosystems and leads to the extinction of species. According to WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), the introduction of alien Nile Tilapia into Lake Victoria in the 1970s led to the extinction of more than half of the native cichlid fish family.
Eutrophication is the excessive concentration of chemical nutrients in water bodies to an extent that it encourages the dense growth of plant life and algae blooms. Based on the degree of eutrophication, the effects are depletion of oxygen, extensive deterioration of water quality, poisoning of seafood and degradation of recreational opportunities. As a result, it affects the survival of fish and other aquatic life forms. The presence of toxic algal blooms in water bodies has endangered aquatic life and availability of quality water thus posing a threat to ecosystems.
Climate Change and Global Warming
Climate change and global warming are leading threats to the ecosystems. Changes in climates and global temperatures directly impact the abiotic factors essential for sustaining the biotic elements. The present rate of rising global temperatures is destroying and altering the coral reefs, mountain regions, water cycles, which are vital ecosystems resources. For instance, different species requires particular abiotic factors to thrive. If global warming and climate change continue, 10% of the entire world species might go extinct by 2050.
Photo by: kimhiz
Every ecosystem has two components, namely, biotic components and abiotic components. Biotic components refer to all living organisms in an ecology while abiotically refers to the non-living things.What is ecosystem short answer? ›
An ecosystem is a geographic area where plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather and landscape, work together to form a bubble of life. Ecosystems contain biotic or living, parts, as well as abiotic factors, or nonliving parts.What are the threats to the ecosystem? ›
- Deforestation and Forest Degradation.
- Effects of Climate Change.
- Illegal Fishing.
- Illegal Wildlife Trade.
- Oil and Gas Development.
- Changes to how we use the land and waters. Both our lands and our seas contain many different ecosystems, and these are affected by business actions. ...
- Overexploitation and unsustainable use. ...
- Climate change. ...
- Increased pollution. ...
- Invasive species.
The main component of the ecosystem are biotic components include plants, animals, decomposers and non-living components include air, water, land [32, 33].What are the components of an ecosystem explain with examples Class 10? ›
All living organisms like trees, animals and microbes are the biotic components of an ecosystem. The non-living components like light, rocks, soil, water etc., constitute the abiotic components of the ecosystem.What is importance of ecosystem? ›
Healthy terrestrial ecosystems are vital for human welfare and survival, as they provide us with essential products and benefits. Over 90% of our food comes from terrestrial ecosystems, which also provide energy, building materials, clothes, medicines, fresh and clean water, and clean air.Which is an example of ecosystem? ›
Examples of ecosystems are: agroecosystem, aquatic ecosystem, coral reef, desert, forest, human ecosystem, littoral zone, marine ecosystem, prairie, rainforest, savanna, steppe, taiga, tundra, urban ecosystem and others.Which is a threat to environment answer? ›
Twenty-first century threats to our environment—including invasive species, diseases, pollution, and a warming climate—are putting wildlife populations at risk.What are 4 common threats to ecosystems? ›
The five main threats to biodiversity are habitat loss, pollution, overexploitation, invasive species, and climate change. Increased mobility and trade has resulted in the introduction of invasive species while the other threats are direct results of human population growth and resource use.
Prairies and grasslands are some of the most endangered (and least talked about) ecosystems on earth. Grassland biomes have just as much, if not more, biological diversity as any of these other ecosystems.What are the 5 threats to our environment? ›
According to the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity there are five main threats to biodiversity. In descending order these are: changes in land and sea use; direct exploitation of natural resources; climate change; pollution and invasive species.What are the main causes of threat to nature? ›
Pollution, including the use of chemicals, fossil fuels and plastics, which disrupts the earth's ecosystems, injuring species and changing their habits. Rapidly increasing climate change, which is changing growing patterns, food availability and migration patterns faster than ecosystems and species can adjust.What are 6 threats to the ecosystem? ›
Below, we discuss six of the major threats to biodiversity: climate change, habitat loss and degradation, pollution, invasive species, over-exploitation and epidemics.What is an ecosystem explain its structure & components? ›
An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the system through photosynthesis and is incorporated into plant tissue.What are 50 word ecosystems? ›
Answer: An ecosystem is a large community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in a particular area.  The living and physical components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Ecosystems are of any size, but usually they are in particular places.What are the components and functions of an ecosystem? ›
Ecosystem is the functional unit of nature that comprises biotic or living components and abiotic or non-living components. Biotic components refer to the plants and animals while that of abiotic components refers to the soil, water, air, temperature, topographic factor, etc.How the components of an ecosystem are dependent on each other Class 10? ›
Answer: All living organisms interact with each other and their growth, reproduction and other activities are affected by the temperature, water, humidity, etc., which constitute the abiotic components. Hence, biotic and abiotic components are dependent on each other.What is ecosystem Class 10 short answer? ›
An ecosystem includes all of the living things (plants, animals and organisms) in a given area, interacting with each other, and also with their non-living environments (weather, earth, sun, soil, climate, atmosphere).What are the 5 basic components that an ecosystem needs? ›
An ecosystem must contain producers, consumers, decomposers, and dead and inorganic matter. All ecosystems require energy from an external source – this is usually the sun. An ecosystem must contain producers, consumers, decomposers, and dead and inorganic matter.
Abiotic factors help living organisms to survive. Sunlight is the energy source and air (CO2) helps plants to grow. Rock, soil and water interact with biotic factors to provide them nutrition. Interaction between biotic and abiotic factors helps to change the geology and geography of an area.What is structure of ecosystem? ›
Structure of an Ecosystem: Living organisms need different types of abiotic factors and they have different capacities to adapt with those abiotic factors. Each and every abiotic factor (air, water, soil, sunlight, temperature, humidity) affects the biotic factors in the ecosystem.What is natural ecosystem? ›
A natural ecosystem is the result of interactions between organisms and the environment. For example, an ocean is classified as a marine ecosystem, which consists of algae, consumers and decomposers. A cycle occurs in this type of ecosystem that begins with algae converting energy via photosynthesis.How do ecosystems help the environment? ›
Ecosystems provide many of the basic services that make life possible for people. Plants clean air and filter water, bacteria decompose wastes, bees pollinate flowers, and tree roots hold soil in place to prevent erosion.How does the ecosystem affect human life? ›
Humans are fully dependent on Earth's ecosystems and the services that they provide, such as food, clean water, disease regulation, climate regulation, spiritual fulfillment, and aesthetic enjoyment.How many ecosystems are there? ›
There are three broad categories of ecosystems based on their general environment: freshwater, marine, and terrestrial.
An ecosystem is an ecological community comprised of biological, physical, and chemical components, considered as a unit. NOS scientists monitor, research, and study ecosystem science on many levels. They may monitor entire ecosystems or they may study the chemistry of a single microbe.What is the importance of ecosystem essay? ›
Importance of Ecosystem:
It controls essential ecological processes and promotes lives. Involved in the recycling of nutrients between biotic and abiotic components. It helps in maintaining the usual flow of energy in an ecosystem including- Carbon Cycle, Energy Cycle, Nitrogen Cycle, Oxygen Cycle, and Water Cycle.
|Threat||Meaning/Example||Related Security Property|
|Tampering with data||This includes e.g., modification of data. Either data at rest or data sent over a network.||Integrity|
|Repudiation||This means that users can deny having performed an action, e.g., sending or receiving data.||Non-repudiation|
- Climate change. ...
- Deforestation. ...
- Pollution. ...
- Loss of biodiversity. ...
- Oceanic dead zones. ...
- Overpopulation. ...
1 The major environmental issues are pollution, environmental degradation, resource depletion, and climate change. Besides, there are several other environmental issues that also need attention.What are the most important threats to the environment globally? ›
Global warming due to CO2 emissions — which according to the UN have increased by almost 50% since 1990 — is accelerating climate change and threatens the survival of millions of people, plants and animals by causing meteorological events like droughts, fires and floods, which are becoming increasingly frequent and ...Which is the greatest threat to the survival of ecosystems? ›
These results make clear that the direct destruction and use of habitats (excluding indirect damage from climate change, pollution, etc.) is, by far, the greatest threat to species.How does environmental issues affect business? ›
Increased costs – Producing goods in an environmentally friendly way can often mean spending more money initially, as it can require research and investment in new production methods. Time consuming – Becoming environmentally friendly can take up a lot of time, particularly in large businesses.How can we prevent nature destruction? ›
- Start Your Own Initiative or Volunteer With Environmental Organizations. ...
- Reduce/Recycle Paper. ...
- Recycle More Often. ...
- Save Resources. ...
- Buy Sustainable Products. ...
- Decrease Meat & Dairy Consumption. ...
- Only Buy What You Need.
Humans and wild animals face new challenges for survival because of climate change. More frequent and intense drought, storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and warming oceans can directly harm animals, destroy the places they live, and wreak havoc on people's livelihoods and communities.What are the 7 major threats to biodiversity? ›
- Habitat Fragmentation. ...
- Exotic Species Introductions. ...
- Pollution. ...
- Global Climate Change. ...
- Corridors and Connectivity.
Solution to Environmental Pollution
- conserving energy at home,
- use of safe and non-toxic products.
- using public transport.
Five main threats to biodiversity are commonly recognized in the programmes of work of the Convention: invasive alien species, climate change, nutrient loading and pollution, habitat change, and overexploitation.What are the components of ecosystem? ›
An ecosystem can be categorized into its abiotic constituents, including minerals, climate, soil, water, sunlight, and all other nonliving elements, and its biotic constituents, consisting of all its living members.
Ecosystem is made up of two types of components - biotic and abiotic components. Abiotic factors include light, temperature, water, air, soil, inorganic nutrients, etc. They are the non-living components of any habitat. Biotic factors are the living components of any habitat.What are the major components of ecosystem Class 7? ›
Q.3 The major components of an ecosystem are
It consists of two major components, biotic or living components and nonbiotic or nonliving components. Biotic components include plants, animals, decomposers. Nonliving components include air, water, land.
The living organisms in an ecosystem can be divided into three categories: producers, consumers and decomposers. They are all important parts of an ecosystem.What is an ecosystem example? ›
Examples of ecosystems are: agroecosystem, aquatic ecosystem, coral reef, desert, forest, human ecosystem, littoral zone, marine ecosystem, prairie, rainforest, savanna, steppe, taiga, tundra, urban ecosystem and others.What is an ecosystem list its two main components Class 10? ›
- Ecosystem is a self sustaining system where the biotic and abiotic organisms of various communities interact with each other.
- (a) The two components of the ecosystem are - Biotic and Abiotic. ...
- (b) Ponds are the example of natural ecosystem whereas the aquarium is an example of artificial ecosystem.
An ecosystem is a community of both living and non-living entities of a particular region, that is in constant interaction with each other, maintaining the ecological balance.What are the biotic and abiotic components of an ecosystem Class 10? ›
The biotic factors refer to all the living beings present in an ecosystem, and the abiotic factors refer to all the non-living components like physical conditions (temperature, pH, humidity, salinity, sunlight, etc.) and chemical agents (different gases and mineral nutrients present in the air, water, soil, etc.) in an ...What are the two components of ecosystem explain with example? ›
Abiotic component: The components that are non-living are called Abiotic components. Example: stones, rocks etc. Biotic Components: The components that are living are called Biotic components. Example: Autotrophs,heterotrophs,decomposers.What are the two main functions of the components of an ecosystem? ›
Detailed Solution. The correct answer is Nutrients cycling and energy flow.What is an ecosystem Class 7 short answer? ›
(i) What is an ecosystem? Answer: The system formed by the interaction of all living organisms with each other and with the physical and chemical factors of the environment in which they live, all linked by the transfer of energy and material is called an ecosystem.
The lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere are the three main components of the environment. The solid component of the earth is known as the lithosphere. The atmosphere is made up of gaseous layers that surround the earth. Oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and other gases make up the atmosphere.