The term ” ecosystem ” was coined by an English botanist namely Sir Arthur George Tansley in the year of 1935. According to Fitzpatrick, a group of organisms interacting among themselves and with their environment is called an ecosystem. The ecosystem is essentially a technical term for nature. Hope you have understood the definition of an ecosystem. Let’s now move forward to explore the components of the ecosystem.
An ecosystem has two basic components – abiotic components and biotic components. Let’s shed detailed light with examples on both of these components of an ecosystem.
1. Abiotic Components
These are the nonliving components that affect the distribution, number, metabolism, and behavior of the organism in an ecosystem. These include:
- An inorganic substance like carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and water.
- Dead organic matter containing proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, humic substances, etc.
- Atmospheric factors like temperature, moisture, sunlight.
- Edaphic factors such as soil texture and topography.
2. Biotic components
These include all living beings present in ecosystems like producers, consumers, and decomposers. The components are connected through food, its contained energy, and a web of interrelationships.
They are autotrophs that manufacture organic compounds from inorganic raw materials with the help of solar energy. Producers are also called transducers as they convert solar radiations into chemical energy. Besides food, producers give out oxygen and take in carbon dioxide.
They are heterotrophs, mostly animals which feed on other organisms. Consumers are also called phagotrophs as they ingest food. The consumer’s are of four types, namely:
1.Primary Consumers (Herbivores)
They are the animals, which feed on plants or the producers. They are called herbivores. For example: Rabbit, dear, goat, cattle, grasshopper etc.
2. Secondary Consumers (Primary Carnivores):
The animals which feed on the herbivores are called primary Carnivores. For example: Cats, dogs, foxes, snakes etc.
3. Tertiary Consumers (Secondary Carnivores):
These are the large carnivores which feed on the secondary consumers. For example: Wolves.
4. Quaternary Consumers (Omnivores):
These are the largest carnivores, Which feed on the tertiary consumers and are not eaten up by any other animals. For example: Lions and Tigers.
They are saprotrophs which decompose the organic remains by secreting extracellular digestive enzymes. Due to degradation of organic remains, decomposers are also called reducers. They are also known as mineralisers as they release minerals trapped in organic remains. Detrivores are decomposers, as well as scavengers. Scavengers are consumers of dead bodies. For examples: Vulture, Carrion Beetle, Parasites are consumers that feed on small part of living beings.