In order to have an in-depth understanding of an ecosystem, you should first learn your basics. Though you have learnt it like several times in your lower grades, we will still start from the scratch, for the benefit of the people who slept in their science classes.
What is an ecosystem?
An ecosystem is a place where the organisms get in contact with their physical environment. The concept of organism interacting with the environment is collectively called as the ecosystem. The next thing we have to get to is the word ‘interaction’. In science terms, the word interaction refers to any kind of contact that you have with the environment you live in. The plants that you grow, the food that you eat or the animals that you depend on, all these are activities that a form a part of the ecosystem.
Once you have an idea of what an ecosystem is, to better understand the term ‘Interaction’ you should know what the components of an ecosystem are.
Components of an ecosystem:
The components of the ecosystem are broadly classified into Biotic and abiotic components. Biotic components are further classified into various other factors, so we will first stick to learning what abiotic components are.
Abiotic components are lifeless but life-providing agents of the ecosystem, you will simply understand that one-liner means when I give you examples. There are tons of components I the ecosystem apart from the living creatures that form a part of it. These abiotic factors are basically the non-living ones. For instance, air, water, sun, soil, the celestial bodies of the universe, mountains and other things provide life, but they are as per science lifeless. We depend on them for existence.
The biotic factors are classified based on the work they do in the ecosystem. Components in the ecosystem give, take or do both. So the classification goes as under:
Any component that takes energy from the abiotic component of the ecosystem and supplies food for the other biotic components are known as the producers of the ecosystem. These producers are basically plants that form the base of the ecosystem and that of the food chain.
As the word self-explains, the factors that depend on the producer base and feed on them are known as consumers.
The process of production and consumption is not complete if the system lacks the waste management facility, this is where the decomposers come in. The break down the residual bio-wastes and help the soil in decomposing them into nothing or if possible manure. If not for decomposers the whole world will be nothing more than a big garbage.
The different ecosystems that form a part of the earth are the freshwater ecosystems, the ocean ecosystems and the terrestrial ecosystems. This is general and the larger classification of how the whole world is separated into. However, there are smaller sections of ecosystems within these larger bifurcations. While most of us do not know, when a special breed or an exotic species enters this ecosystem, it can completely disrupt the functions of the ecosystem and sometimes can even lead to the death of the native beings. This simply helps us understand that ecosystems are quite sensitive in nature.