The earth is made of different biotic and abiotic factors like soil, air, living organisms, forest, etc. They live together on this earth. They are interactive and interrelated directly or indirectly with eachother. A delicate and dynamic balance which exists between the biotic and abiotic environment is called ecosystem. The ecosystem may be natural or artificial, temporary or permanent.
Plant and animals live on this earth along with its surroundings or environment. They are directly or indirectly affected by the various biotic and abiotic factors of the environment. The ecosystem consists of two major components. They are abiotic and biotic components.
Abiotic components of ecosystem consist of non-living components such as air, water, solar energy etc.
Air: It consists of oxygen (21%), nitrogen (71%) and carbon dioxide (0.03%). The major gases have important functions in the life of an organism. During the process of photosynthesis, plants give out oxygen which is used by animals for respiration. Similarly, carbon dioxide is liberated by animals during respiration which is again used by green plants for photosynthesis.
Solar energy: Sun provides energy in the form of heat and light. Light is essential for photosynthesis in plants. Similarly, the temperature is essential for productivity, growth, flowering, breeding etc. for all organisms.
Soil: Soil is a natural habitat for different organisms. The soil provides water, minerals and fossil fuels. The type of soil and its water retention, aeration, and mineral contents determine the distribution of plants and animals.
Water: Water is essential for the maintenance of life activities of the organism. Plants meet their water requirement from soil and animals meet their water requirements from various sources of water such as a lake, river, etc. The plant absorbs water from the soil, animals take water from various sources of water like lakes, rivers, etc.
Biotic component of ecosystem consists of living components. The different biotic components are connected through food and a number of other relations. It is of the following three types:
Producers: Autotrophic organisms are called producers. They are green plants and certain bacteria. They are capable of synthesizing organic food from inorganic raw materials with the help of solar energy. They provide food, shelter and oxygen to the living organisms. Some of the examples of the producer are herbs,shrubs,grasses and trees.
Consumers: They are animals that feed on other organisms. They are also called heterotrophs. They are divided into two types, herbivorous and carnivorous. Herbivores obtain their food directly from green plants or producers. So, they are also known as a primary consumer. For examples, deer feed on grass. Here, deer is a primary consumer and grass is a producer. Carnivores feed on herbivores. For example, jackal feed on herbivorous animals like deer, goat etc. Here, the jackal is a primary carnivorous or secondary consumer. Here again, these secondary consumers are eaten by top consumers like the lion, tiger etc. This are known as top consumers because they are not eaten by other animals.
Decomposers: They feed on dead bodies of organisms and organic wastes of living organisms. They absorb some of the product while releasing most of the inorganic compounds into the environment. These inorganic compounds are used by the producers to produce food. Some of the examples of decomposers are maggots, bacteria, slugs, etc.
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