An ecosystem is a community of both biotic or living and abiotic or non-living components in a specific area. Due to the nutrients cycle and energy flows, there is an interaction between living and non-living things and hence they coexisted in this space called the ecosystem. The ecosystem can be large like the rainforests or small like a hot spring. The most essential components of an ecosystem are water, soil and its minerals, air, energy, and nitrogen. For an ecosystem to thrive, apart from these essential components, topography, time and climate have a major impact.
How do External Factors Affect the Ecosystem?
There is a major impact on both living and non-living things of an ecosystem if any of the ecosystem components are affected. Take for example the effect of climate changes, a small temperature variation can affect the soil moisture which impacts the microorganisms that live in the soil which in turn has an impact on the plants that grow. If the plants don’t grow well there is an imbalance in the food chains which affects humans and animals too.
There is no clear boundary to define an ecosystem and thus it is complex. They are sometimes based on topography such as mountains, lakes, etc. It is defined by the specific characteristics that are shared and based on patterns observed by scientists. It can also be defined based on boundaries made by people. What is essential to know is that ecosystems can overlap and can be subgroups of one another.
Types of Ecosystems:
It is broadly classified into three types:
Ocean Ecosystems: Most of the earth is covered by this type of ecosystem and
has numerous plants and animals living in them. It is also the abode of plankton and bacteria which are the smallest living organisms. This ecosystem produces about 70% of the oxygen required for breathing and 40% of the photosynthesis happens in the ocean. It includes oceans, seas, saltwater bays, inlets, shorelines, and marshes.
Freshwater Ecosystems: It is a small area which is about 1.8% of fresh water found
in the earth and has various flora and fauna.
Terrestrial Ecosystem: It consists of 7 types of the ecosystem, the deserts, grasslands, tropical rainforests, coniferous and deciduous forests, tundra and the savannas. The place where it is found and the climate has a major impact on the terrestrial ecosystem.
There is a complex relationship between the living and non-living components in an ecosystem. Decomposers, consumers, and producers are three components that are present in the ecosystem and these along with the abiotic factors work together which helps the environment to flourish. Though, the abiotic factors are essential in the ecosystem they can also cause harm to it. Take for example; intertidal zoning in the ocean shoreline which is under stress during low and high tides. The marine plants and animals have to develop adaptive features to survive in these conditions. Another classic example is that of a forest having an unstable environment due to human interference.
A Balanced Eco-system is the need of the hour and we are working towards achieving the same for our future generations.
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