Ecosystems: Patterns, components

  • Ecosystem is self regulatory and self sustaining structures and functional unit of biosphere, where living organism interact among themselves and also with the surrounding physical environment, or it represents the sum total of interaction between lining and nonliving components which is capable of independent existence.
  • A.G.Tansley (1935) coined the term ecosystem.
  • Every ecosystem has both structure and function. The structural component includes all the living organisms and their inter-relationship. The functional components include exchange of materials, energy flow, nutrient cycling etc.
  • Abiotic components (Nonliving) involves
    (i)Edaphic (inorganic nutrients, organic debris, soil)
    (ii) Climatic (Air, water, temperature, gases, precipitation)
    (iii)Topographic (mountains, slopes)
  • Biotic components include
    (i) Producers (Autotrophs)
    (ii) Consumers (Heterotrophs) → 1° consumers, 2° consumers, 3° consumers
    (iii) Decomposers (saprotrophs, scavengers, micro consumers)
  • Incomplete ecosystem lacks one or more structural components eg: deep sea, freshly formed rain water pond ecosystem.
  • Artificial ecosystem are man made ecosystem which have simple food chain, high productivity, little cycling of nutrients and little diversity. eg : Modern agriculture, dams, zoological parks, aquaculture, plantation, etc.

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