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Our Environment Ecosystem and Its Components Name: Janki Patel Class: XA Bright Day School

Contents Ecosystem and Its Components Types of ecosystems Components of ecosystem Example of an ecosystem

Ecosystem and Its Components

All living organisms (microorganisms, algae, Fungi, plants, animals and human beings) regularly interact with the non-living (abiotic) physical surroundings to maintain a balance in nature. All these interacting organisms, in an area. Together with the non-living constituents of the environment form an ecosystem. The term ecosystem was introduced by Tansley in 1935.

Ecologically, an ecosystem may be defined as a structural and functional unit of the biosphere comprising living organisms and their non-living environment that interact by means of food chains and chemical cycles resulting in energyflow, biotic diversity and material cycling to form a stable, self-supporting system.

Classification of ecosystem is on the basis of: A. Nature B. Duration C. Size

A.

Nature. On the basis of nature, ecosystems may be classified as: a. b. Natural ecosystems Artificial ecosystems

1. Natural ecosystems: These ecosystems operate in the nature by themselves without any human interference. Common egs., are: a pong, a meadow, a desert, a grassland, a forest etc. 2. Artificial ecosystems: These are maintained by man and hence are also termed man-made or man-engineered ecosystems. In these

ecosystems, man maintains/disturbs the natural balance by the addition of energy and planned manipulations. Eg., orchards, gardens, aquarium etc.

B.

Duration. On the basis of duration, ecosystems, may be classified as: a. b. Temporary ecosystems Permanent ecosystems

1. Temporary ecosystems: These are shortlived ecosystems which may be natural or manmade. Common egs., include rainfed pond and laboratory culture of protozoan. 2. Permanent ecosystems: These are selfsupporting natural ecosystems that maintain themselves for relatively long duration. eg., a lake, a forest, a desert etc.

C. Size 1. Small ecosystems

2. Large ecosystems 1. Small ecosystems: Small-sized ecosystems are also termed micro ecosystems, eg., a flowerpot, water in a dish, a site under a stone etc. 2. Large ecosystems: Very large-sized ecosystems are also termed macroecosystems, e.g., an ocean, a forest, a desert etc.

Components of Ecosystem The various components of an ecosystem may be grouped into two main types: A. Abiotic components B. Biotic components

A. Abiotic components: These include the nonliving physico-chemical factors of the environment. These components not only affect

the disturbance and structure of organisms but also their behavior and relationships. Abiotic factors include: 1. Inorganic substances 2. Organic compounds 2. Climatic factors

1. Inorganic substances: Inorganic substances, e.g., nitrogen, oxygen, calcium, phosphorus etc. and their components constitute the main abiotic component. These occur either in the form of components dissolved in the water in the soil or in Free State in the air. 2. Organic compounds: This includes carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, nucleic acids etc. These are present in living organisms and dead organic matter. The dead organic matter is broken down by the action of decomposers into inorganic substances for their recycling.

3. Climatic factors: This includes light, temperature, humidity, wind, rainfall, water etc. and also edaphic factors (e.g., soil, topography, minerals, pH etc.)

B. Biotic components: The living organisms present in an ecosystem form the biotic component. Regarding the mode of obtaining food, the organisms occurring are classified into three main categories: 1. Producers 2. Consumers 3. Decomposers

1. Producers: These include all green plants, blue algae. Some bacteria and free-floating autotrophic microorganisms called phytoplankton. All these organisms possess photosynthetic pigments. These organisms can utilize solar energy with the help of

photosynthetic pigments to form glucose from simple inorganic substances, namely, carbon dioxide and water. This process is called Photosynthesis. It may be briefly represented by the following equation: 6CO2 + 6O2
Carbon dioxide Glucose

+ 6H2O
Water Oxygen

Sunlight

Chlorophyll

C6H12O6

Oxygen is also released. From the basis organic glucose, the plants then form complex organic compounds such as starches, proteins and lipids. As green algae etc. prepare their organic food themselves with the help of sunlight, they are known as photoautotrophs or simply autotrophs.The organic compounds constitute the food not for the autotrophs but also for the hetertrophs. In this way, produces utilize solar energy and convert it into chemical energy of organic of organic compounds. The producers, therefore, are also termed as transducers.

2. Consumers: These are mainly the animals. They are unable to synthesize their food. Therefore, they utilize materials and energy stored by the producers. These also take other organisms. They are known as the heterophs. The consumers are of following types: (i) Primary consumers: These include the animals which eat plants or plant products. They are called herbivores or primary consumers. As the herbivores feed on plants/plant products and convert them into animal matter, they are often called key industry animals. Cattle, deer, goat, rabbit, rats, mice, grasshoppers are the common herbivores in terrestrial ecosystems, and snails, mosquito larvae, tadpoles etc. are common herbivores in the aquatic ecosystems.

(ii)Secondary consumers: These include the animals which feed on the flesh of herbivores. They are called primary carnivores or secondary (second order) consumers. Cats, dogs, foxes etc are secondary consumers in the terrestrial

ecosystems and water bugs, frogs, small fish etc are secondary consumers in the aquatic ecosystems.

(iii)Tertiary consumers: These are the largest carnivores which feed on secondary carnivores. They are not eaten by other animals and are also called top carnivores. Tigers, lions and eagles are examples in land ecosystems and sharks, crocodiles are examples in aquatic ecosystems.

3. Decomposers: These include bacteria and fungi of decay. They obtain food from the organic materials of dead producers and consumers and their waste products. The decomposers degrate dead remains of plants and animals and waste organic matter into (i) Simple small organic molecules which they utilize themselves

(ii) Inorganic substances that are released into the environment for reuse as raw materials by the producers. They provide space for new life in the biosphere. Decomposers, therefore, are essential components of ecosystem. Without them, all life will ultimately cease to exist as dead remains and waste organic matter. The decomposers are also called saprotrophs.

Examples of an Ecosystem In a garden we see various living components. Plants like grasses, flower bearing plants and trees are all producers. And the animals such as frogs, insects and birds are all consumers. All these living organisms interact with ecosystem. Decomposers are microorganisms present in the soil. These can not be seen with naked eye. These provide raw materials back to the environment, by decomposition of dead,

decaying matter, for their reuse by the producer.

Main points
1. In any area, all living organisms regularly interact with each other and with the non-living physical surroundings to maintain a balance in nature.

2. All these interacting organisms, in an area, together with the non-living constituents of the environment from an ecosystem.

3. Ecosystems may be classified on the basis of their nature, duration and size. On the basis of their nature, ecosystems may be classified as

natural or artificial; on the basis of size, these may be classified as small or large ecosystems.

4. Each ecosystem is comprised of six components which are grouped into two main types: (a)Abiotic component (b)Biotic component

5. Abiotic component of an ecosystem includes (i) Inorganic substances (ii) Organic compound (iii) Climatic factors

6. Biotic component of an ecosystem includes producers, consumers and decomposers. Producers utilize solar energy of sun to form organic compounds from simple inorganic substances by photosynthesis. Green plants are,

therefore, called photoautotrophs or autotrophs.

7. Consumers are mainly the animals. They are unable to synthesis their food and utilize materials and energy stored by the producers. They are known as heterotrophs. These may be herbivores, various categories of carnivores, omnivores and parasites.

8. Decomposers include bacteria and fungi of decay. These decompose dead remains of plants and animals and waste organic matter into simple substances that are released into the environment for reuse as raw materials by the producers.