As you read this article on what are the parts of an ecosystem, look around your own environment. There must be air firstly but also different things in your room made of wood. If we look outside, probably a bird could be spotted on trees.
Therefore, you are part of an ecosystem too. Just like this, the entire ecosystem consists of parts. Let’s study in detail the parts of an ecosystem and what does the ecosystem consists of.
Different Parts of An Ecosystem
Let us first understand the parts of this word – ‘ecosystem.’ If we break this down, we get two words: eco + system. Eco means the environment, and system means a functional unit. Therefore, an ecosystem is the functional unit of the environment. It is common to confuse the word ecosystem with the environment. Therefore, we should understand that ecosystem is just a unit of the environment that helps us in understanding how things work.
The ecosystem consists of many things such as air, water, forest, animals, soil, microorganism, humans, and many more things. However, when we talk about the parts or components of an ecosystem, they are majorly divided into two. It is called Biotic parts and Abiotic parts of an ecosystem.
The Biotic parts are the living things of an ecosystem. It consists of entities like bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals. The Abiotic parts are the non-living things of an ecosystem. They are composed of things like temperature, air, soil, salinity, water, light, minerals, humidity, etc. Let’s look into the different parts of an ecosystem in more detail.
Biotic Parts of An Ecosystem
These are the components that make Earth habitable. These components give us nutrition to survive and help the growth of organisms. The biotic factors participate in the food chain or the food web. They help each other survive. The health of an ecosystem is decided based on the health of the biotic factors. They are a determining factor in ensuring an environment remains productive.
The biotic parts of an ecosystem can be broken down into three main sub-components:
Producers In the Biotic Parts of An Ecosystem
Producers are the food providers of an ecosystem. These are mostly plants both on the land and in the marine ecosystem.
These generate their own energy through the sun. Whatever they require is produced by themselves.
The sun helps in the process of photosynthesis, and chlorophyll is a very important factor in this.
The most important function of biotic parts is in maintaining a balance in the ecosystem. And, the producers play a major role in this function.
Let’s take the example of an aquatic ecosystem. The plants in it are called planktons. These become food for the zooplankton, which feed the fish and other small creatures.
The small fish then go on to become food for the bigger fish and other marine organisms, which are ultimately eaten by humans and animals such as bears etc.
Therefore, we can see that the producers continually provide energy to the other part of the abiotic ecosystem. Any kind of major change, be it overpopulation or under-population amongst the producers, will disturb this fine balance.
Consumers In the Biotic Part of An Ecosystem
Consumers are the living organisms that feed on other living beings. They are also further divided into three types- carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores.
Herbivores are the type of consumers who eat the producers –plants. They get their energy sourced directly from them. Animals like cows, deer, goats, etc., come under this category.
The next are carnivores. They feed on the herbivores and omnivores. This means they eat other consumers from outside their species. Animals like Lion, tigers, sharks, etc., come under this.
And lastly. Omnivores are the kind of consumers that eat both animals and plants. Humans come under this along with some other animals like dogs, cats, etc.
The role of consumers in an ecosystem is also very important. They help in creating a balance as well. An overpopulation of consumers will lead to a shortage of producers in the ecosystem.
This overpopulation will have a negative impact on the survival of those animals that depend directly on producers for food. Therefore, resources will start depleting from the lower level onwards and, in an extreme situation, might result in the destruction of the entire ecosystem.
Decomposers In the Biotic Part of An Ecosystem
Decomposers are those living organisms that feed on dead organic matter. So, when plants or animals die, they are eaten by microorganisms like fungi and bacteria.
It is impossible to imagine that Earth would even exist without the decomposers. Imagine if there was no dustbin in your house and whatever waste got produced had to stay inside your house. After a time, it would become impossible to stay in the house, right?
Decomposers play an important role in the growth of plants. They break down the dead remains of living beings and convert them into gases like Nitrogen and Carbon dioxide.
The release of these gases plays a part in the formation of the atmosphere on Earth. It also provides plants with nutrition in the soil required for their growth.
Abiotic Parts of An Ecosystem
These are the factors that help in the survival of the abiotic factors. The existence of an atmosphere on Earth happened because of a combination of these factors acting up at once. The abiotic parts of an ecosystem are the parts that are not alive. However, they play an equally important role. Let’s look at some of them one by one.
Soil is one of the most important factors for plant growth. Without soil, it is impossible for us to have plants.
The type of soil is also important, but this is decided by the type of microorganisms living in it. Therefore, soil also becomes the abode of microorganisms in the ecosystem.
Soil gives nutrition to the plants and therefore, food to us indirectly.
It consists of minerals that are required by plants like magnesium, nitrogen, etc.
We have life on Earth because of water. The earliest known form of living being originated in water. Therefore, it is not possible to have life on Earth without water.
Water is such an important abiotic factor that we are trying to look for it on different planets too. The discovery of even a trace of a water molecule makes scientists so happy because of the immense possibility of life within it.
The productivity, growth, and life cycle of plants are decided by the amount of water available in that region.
Water can be both freshwater or saline. Regardless of this, it stores various life forms within it.
Temperature and Humidity
The climate of any region determines the kind of soil it will have and the amount of rainfall it will receive. Both these factors are dependent upon the temperature and humidity of that region.
The temperature on earth changes with the change in season and geography. Life can’t exist in all temperatures. Therefore, we see that the most populous regions of the world are in areas where there is balanced temperature and humidity.
Humidity affects the rate of transpiration in plants. Also, we see the variations in size, shape, and color of human beings and animals as we move from areas of different humidity.
Animals found in areas with more humidity are darker, and their reproduction rate is also different from colder regions.
This is another significant factor among the abiotic parts of an ecosystem. Without the sun’s light, plants can’t have photosynthesis and therefore can’t prepare food.
Light also plays a role in the reproduction of birds. Birds and animals follow a certain pattern for their activities based on the duration of day time.
The availability of light also creates a difference in how marine living being’s function. We can see more green plants in areas that receive light while the other areas don’t have that many plants.
Therefore, in conclusion, we can say that the parts of an ecosystem are crucial for us to have life on this planet. Without them functioning properly, we wouldn’t have the kind of planet that we do.