What is an Ecosystem?
The ecosystems are composed of living and non-living or inert living in a particular area. Living beings are also known as biotic, while the inert as abiotic .Examples of living micro-organisms, fungi, plants and animals including human beings.
Abiotic factors are: water, air, soil and the sun and the combination of abiotic factors form the climate in ecosystems.
There are ecosystems in different sizes; some may be as large as a forest and others as small as those formed under a rock. Besides the size, an ecosystem can be distinguished from another by the weather and climate or the type of organisms that are living in its environment. However, regardless of size, climate or type of organisms, ecosystems has a common factor: the exchange of matter and energy.
The main energy source is the sun. The plants take advantage of that energy to perform photosynthesis to prepare their food.
Animals that eat plants get energy from them and use it to perform their vital functions.
According to the way in which all living creatures get energy, it can be grouped into three categories:
1. Producers are those who can make their own food, whether terrestrial or aquatic. Because of this feature, producers are called autotrophs.
2. Consumers include all animals, that being unable to produce their own food. They have to get into the environment to feed themselves. Depending on the type of food, consumers can be categorized as:
- Primary consumers: Includes herbivores, animals that eat plants.
- Secondary consumers are carnivores, which are the animals that eat herbivores.
- Tertiary Consumers are animals that eat both herbivores and carnivores.
The animal who seeks and attacks another to feed itself, called predator , and the animal to be eaten called as prey .
3. Decomposers are the organisms those take advantage of dead and decaying organisms and thus contributing to the recomposition process of the nature by returning the materials to the environment, such as fungi and bacteria.
Both consumers and decomposers are organisms heterotrophic.
The energy is transferred within the ecosystem constantly between living beings and the environment:
- From the Sun to the producers.
- From producers to consumers.
- From the producers or consumers to decomposers.
- From decomposers to the environment.