STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF ECOSYSTEM
Introduction to Ecology and Ecosystem
Classification of Ecosystem
Attributes of Ecosystem
Structure of Ecosystem
Function of Ecosystem
We had earlier defined ecology and ecosystem. To enhance our understanding of ecology and ecosystem, we shall have a small review of these terms.
Ecology comes from the greek words oikos (house or place where one lives) andlogos(study of). It can be surmised as the Study of the “House” in which We Live.This term was introduced by Ernst Haeckl in 1869. Ecology can be defined morespecifically as the study of the interactions between organisms and the nonlivingcomponents of their environment. ecology involves collecting information aboutorganisms and their environment, looking for patterns, and seeking to explainthese patterns.The Biosphere is composed of smaller units called ecosystems. An ecosystemincludes all the organisms and the nonliving environment that are found in aparticular place. Ecosystems can be as large or as small as we decide. Anyarea you decide to Study can be considered an Ecosystem. For example youmay choose to study your back yard, a multi storeyed apartment, a mountainrange or a forest/zoo. Any of these would be considered an Ecosystem. In anecosystem, there are various levels of organisation.The simplest level of organization in Ecosystem is that of the organism. Anorganism refers to a particular organism in an ecosystem, say cat, dog etc. Apopulation includes all the members of the same organism that live in one placeat one time. All the different populations that live in a particular area make up acommunity. The physical location of a Community is called the habitat.Ecosystem is in turn a level of organisation and has one higher level of organisation called biosphere.
The photograph on the next page derived from aforeign ecology book would clearly illustrate the various levels of organisation.