Summary

  • An ecosystem is a functional unit of nature and comprises abiotic and biotic components.
  • Abiotic components are inorganic materials- air, water and soil, whereas biotic components are producers, consumers and decomposers.
  • Each ecosystem has characteristic physical structure resulting from interaction amongst abiotic and biotic components.
  • Species composition and stratification are the two main structural features of an ecosystem.
  • Based on source of nutrition every organism occupies a place in an ecosystem. Productivity, decomposition, energy flow, and nutrient cycling are the four important components of an ecosystem.
  • Primary productivity is the rate of capture of solar energy or biomass production of the producers. It is divided into two types: gross primary productivity (GPP) and net primary productivity (NPP).
  • Rate of capture of solar energy or total production of organic matter is called as GPP.
  • NPP is the remaining biomass or the energy left after utilisation of producers. Secondary productivity is the rate of assimilation of food energy by the consumers.
  • In decomposition, complex organic compounds of detritus are converted to carbon dioxide, water and inorganic nutrients by the decomposers.
  • Decomposition involves three processes, namely fragmentation of detritus, leaching and catabolism.
  • Energy flow is unidirectional. First, plants capture solar energy and then, food is transferred from the producers to decomposers.
  • Organisms of different trophic levels in nature are connected to each other for food or energy relationship forming a food chain.
  • The storage and movement of nutrient elements through the various components of the ecosystem is called nutrient cycling; nutrients are repeatedly used through this process.
  • Nutrient cycling is of two types. gaseous and sedimentary. Atmosphere or hydrosphere is the reservoir for the gaseous type of cycle (carbon), whereas Earth’s crust is the reservoir for sedimentary type (phosphorus).
  • Products of ecosystem processes are named as ecosystem services, e.g., purification of air and water by forests.
  • The biotic community is dynamic and undergoes changes with the passage of time.
  • These changes are sequentially ordered and constitute ecological succession.
  • Succession begins with invasion of a bare lifeless area by pioneers which later pave way for successors and ultimately a stable climax community is formed.
  • The climax community remains stable as long as the environment remains unchanged.

Related posts

Leave a Comment