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.
There are two basic components of an ecosystem – abiotic components, and biotic components. Let’s shed an in detail light on both of these components of a typical ecosystem with some simple examples.
1. Abiotic Components
Abiotic technically means devoid of life. While abiotic components have no life, they affect the distribution, number, metabolism, and most importantly the behiour of an organism in an ecosystem. Abiotic components includes
- Inorganic substances like carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and water.
- All dead organic matter which contain carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, etc.
- Atmospheric factors such as temperature, mositure, and sunlight.
- And even soil texture and topography, collectively referred as edaphic factors.
2. Biotic components
Biotic is a biological terms reffering to living beings. These include all living beings present in ecosystems like producers, consumers, and decomposers. The biotic components have a food, and energy relationship with each other within an ecosystem.
Producers are also called as autotrophs since they produce organic compounds from inorganic materials with the help of solar energy. Since producers transform solar energy into chemical energy, they are also called as transducers. Besides the production of food, producers give out oxygen and take in carbon dioxdie. All green plants are producers .
Consumers, also known as heterotrophs, feed, and derive food from other organisms. Since, consumers ingest food, they are also called as phagotrops.
They are heterotrophs, mostly animals which feed on other organisms. Consumers are also called phagotrophs as they ingest food. The consumers are further divided into four types:
1.Primary Consumers (Herbivores)
Animals which attain energy by eating grass, and plants or producers are called primary consumers. Herbivours is the other name given to them since they eat herbs. Rabbit, dear, goats, and other forms of cattle feeding on plants are all herbivours.
2. Secondary Consumers (Primary Carnivores)
Animals feeding on primary consumers or herbivours for food, and energy are called primary carnivores. For example: cats, dogs, foxes, snakes etc.
3. Tertiary Consumers (Secondary Carnivores)
Tertiary consumers are animal which obtain food from eating secondary consumers. For example: wolves.
4. Quaternary Consumers (Omnivores)
Quaternary consumers are the largest type of carnivores which obtain food by feeding on terititary consumers. The other distinctive chractertic of quanternary consumers is that they can’t be eaten by other anaimals. For example, lions, and tigers.
Decomposers are also called saprotrophs, a name given to them on the basis of their nature of decomposing organic remains. These decomposers secrete extracellular digestive enzymes while decomposing organic remains. Decomposers are called mineralisers as well based on their activity of releasing minerals from organic remains.
Detritivores are both decomposers, and scavengers since they consume plant detritus as well as dead bodies. Scavengers are consumers of dead bodies. For examples: vulture, carrion beetle, parasites are consumers that feed on small part of living beings.