All living organisms sharing the same environment or habitat need to interact with each other as a means for survival. In fact, living organisms do not only interact on the living, but also on the non-living as well. This environment and interaction of living organisms with the non-living ones forms what we called an ecosystem.


What is an Ecosystem?


An ecosystem is an environment where biological entities (living organisms) coexist with the non-living components of the environment in which the living organisms interact such as the air, sunlight, soil and water. An ecosystem is made up of two main components: the biotic (living organisms) and the abiotic (nonliving organisms) components.


Biotic component includes all the living organisms interacting on a given environment. Normally, organisms in biotic component are divided into producers and consumers. Plants are categorized as primary producers producing food for herbivorous animals. Herbivorous organisms (plant feeding organisms) belong to primary consumers because they depend on the primary producers for their food. Carnivorous organisms are secondary consumers which rely on primary consumers for food.


Abiotic component on the other hand includes all the non-living elements found in the ecosystem such as the soil, water, sunlight, temperature, and other physical and chemical components found in the environment. They might look like useless, but abiotic components play a critical role on the ecosystem survival.


The flow of energy within an ecosystem is represented through a food chain or food pyramid. That is, as one organism depends on other organisms as food source, the food chain creates what we called food web. The number of organisms, the ecosystem’s biomass and energy is represented by a pyramid, with the first level represents the primary producer; second level is the primary consumers and so on.


Types of Ecosystem


Though there are millions of ecosystems in the earth of different sizes, there are only two general types of ecosystem: natural ecosystem and man made ecosystem.


  • Natural Ecosystem – ecosystems that are created from natural phenomenon without any human interference are called natural ecosystems. Huge ecosystems are usually natural ecosystems such as forests, deserts, oceans, seas. Other examples of natural ecosystem include grasslands, pond, swamp, lake, rivers and more.
  • Man-Made Ecosystem – also known as “artificial ecosystem” man-made ecosystems are ecosystems created and maintained by humans. Artificial ecosystem’s interactions are usually manipulated, and the natural balance is regularly disturbed. Examples of man-made ecosystems are aquariums, orchards, cities, dams, villages and more.

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