Ecosystem- Definition, Types, Examples, Structure and Functions

As we know, an ecosystem is a system consisting of biotic and abiotic components. It plays a very important role. Let us know more about it in detail.

Ecosystem- Definition, Types, Examples, Structure and Functions

All the organisms living and non-living along with the geographical area interact with each other to constitute an ecosystem. In this article, we will discuss the different types of ecosystems, their definition, their examples, and lastly, the structure and function of ecosystem.

Author – Parisa Gupta

An ecosystem is a system with a structure consisting of biotic and abiotic components that function together as a unit. The biotic components consist of all the living things whereas the abiotic components are the non-living things. Furthermore, ecosystem biodiversity attributes to the variety of ecosystems, by their nature and number, where living species interact with their environment and with each other. So, let us learn more about it.

What is Ecosystem ?

“An ecosystem is the structural and functional unit of ecology that consists of biotic and abiotic components.”

Furthermore, within an ecosystem, the living organisms interact with each other and the surrounding environment. Also, we can define, an ecosystem as a chain of interaction between organisms and their environment.

In addition, the term “Ecosystem” was first coined by an English botanist, named A.G.Tansley,  in 1935.

Types of the ecosystem

There are two types of ecosystem, namely:

  1. Terrestrial Ecosystem
  2. Aquatic Ecosystem

Let us now learn about each one of them, in detail.

1. Terrestrial Ecosystems

They are exclusively land-based ecosystems. Further, we can divide the terrestrial ecosystem into:

  1. Forest Ecosystems
  2. Grassland Ecosystems
  3. Tundra Ecosystems
  4. Desert Ecosystem

So, let us discuss them one by one.

(i) Forest Ecosystem

A forest ecosystem consists of several plants, animals, and microorganisms that live and interact to set up the coordination with the abiotic factors of the environment. Also, forests play a major role as carbon sinks. Moreover, they help in maintaining the temperature of the earth.

Forest Ecosystem image
Forest Ecosystem

(ii) Grassland Ecosystem

Furthermore, the vegetation of the grassland ecosystem mainly consists of herbs and grasses. For example, Temperate grasslands, Savanna grasslands.

grassland ecosystem image
Grassland Ecosystem

(iii) Tundra Ecosystem

There are many trees in tundra ecosystems. Moreover, they are found in cold climates or where the rainfall is limited. Furthermore, most of the year they are covered with snow. Consequently, this type of ecosystem is mostly found in the Arctic or mountain tops.

tundra ecosystem image
Tundra Ecosystem

(iv) Desert Ecosystem

Finally, desert ecosystems are regions with a very little amount of rainfall and they are found throughout the world. Furthermore, the days are hot and the nights are cold in deserts.

desert ecosystem image
Desert Ecosystem

2. Aquatic Ecosystem

Aquatic ecosystems are the ecosystems in the water bodies. We can further divide them into two parts, namely:

  1. Freshwater Ecosystem
  2. Marine Ecosystem

Let us discuss them one by one.

(i) Freshwater Ecosystem

An aquatic ecosystem that includes lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and wetlands is a freshwater ecosystem. Furthermore, the water is fresh and there is no salt concentration present in the water of this ecosystem.

freshwater ecosystem image
Freshwater Ecosystem

(iv) Marine Ecosystem

A high amount of salt concentration is present in the marine ecosystem. It includes seas and oceans. The biodiversity present in the marine ecosystem is also more as compared to the freshwater ecosystem.

marine ecosystem image
Marine Ecosystem

Let us now discuss the structure and function of ecosystem.

Structure of the Ecosystem

The structure of an ecosystem includes the distribution of energy in the environment and is characterized by the level of organization of both biotic and abiotic components. However, it also balances the climatic conditions of the environment.

Components of Ecosystem

Main components of the structure of the ecosystem:

  1. Biotic Components
  2. Abiotic Components

Functions of Ecosystem

An ecosystem plays an important role. There are many functions of ecosystem, such as:

  1. Regulates the essential ecological processes, renders stability, and also supports life systems.
  2. It is also responsible for the nutrient cycling between biotic and abiotic components which are interrelated.
  3. Maintains a balance among the various trophic levels (producers, consumers, decomposers) in the ecosystem.
  4. The non-living components (abiotic) help in the synthesis of organic components that involves the exchange of energy within the environment and biotic components.

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