Ecosystems and environment 1.1 Principles of ecosystem, 1.1.1 Ecosystems: Ecosystems are functional units that result from the interactions of abiotic & biotic components at a particular area with in the environment. Like all other systems they are a combination of interacting processes within biotic components & between biotic & abiotic components. Ecosystems may be micro-ecosystem (as small as a drop of water) or macroecosystem (as large as ocean). It may be either temporary (ex: field of cultivated crops) or permanent (ex: a forest or ocean). The boundaries are not fixed in any objective way, although sometimes they seem obvious, as with the shoreline of a small pond. Usually the boundaries of an ecosystem are chosen for practical reasons having to do with the goals of the particular study. An ecosystem‘s character changes as community members and physical contexts change, sometimes crossing a threshold of tolerance within the system that results in its inability to return to its previous form. Components of an Ecosystem Abiotic Components: Structurally abiotic components include: Physical factors such as light, temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind, soil, etc Inorganic substances include minerals and gases. Organic substances such as carbohydrates, proteins , lipids and humans Biotic Components: They include the entire living organisms. They may be divided into two groups. Autotrophs or producers: They are self nourishing green plants and certain photosynthetic or chemosynthetic bacteria which convert the light energy into chemical energy in the form of organic compounds needed by the plants for their growth and development. Heterotrophs or Consumers: Organisms which feed directly or indirectly on producers are called consumers. An organism that feed upon the producers is called primary consumer or herbivores and the organisms which feed on the primary consumer is called a secondary consumer or carnivore. Animals that feed both on plants and animals are known as omnivores. Structure of an Ecosystem:
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