• Sunday August 7,2022

Ecosystem

We explain what ecosystems are and what types of ecosystems exist. In addition, how they are composed and some examples.

Within each ecosystem the food or food chains take place.
  1. What is an ecosystem?

An ecosystem, in biology, is called the complex gearing of relationships between the different communities of living organisms (referred to as biocenosis ) and the physical environment in which they live (called a habitat or biotope ). In this concept, the relations of mutual dependence between the species of living beings in question have a place, as does the flow of energy and matter that occurs in the environment; processes that for their study are understood as a structured and organized whole.

However, the concept of ecosystem should not be confused with that of biome . The latter refers to the different geographical areas or regions of the planet Earth, classified according to their climate, topography and also their presence of life, unlike ecosystems, biomes they are considered homogenous geographical units. Thus, the same biome can contain several different ecosystems .

Within each ecosystem the food or traffic chains take place, also understood as cycles of transmission of matter, as they consist of a food circuit that includes producers (vegetables, plants, phytoplankton, etc.) that feed on the physical environment, consumers who feed on them or other consumers (both herbivores, primary and secondary predators) and finally decomposers (fungi, bacteria, etc.) that recycle the residual organic matter.

Many ecosystems are currently in a state of check due to human industrial activity . Pollution, overexploitation, deforestation and the effects of climate change often involve extinctions, overpopulations, mutations and movements of life of all kinds, undermining planetary biodiversity and natural balance.

See also: Flora and Fauna.

  1. Ecosystem types

There are several types of ecosystem, classified according to the habitat in which they are located:

  • Aquatic ecosystems The most abundant, almost 75% of all known ecosystems take place underwater. That is to say: in seas, oceans, rivers, lakes and deep underwater niches.
  • Earth Ecosystems They take place on the earth's crust and out of the water, in its possible relief variations: mountains, plains, valleys, deserts, etc. This implies important differences in temperature, oxygen concentration and climate, so the diversity of life in these ecosystems is huge, mostly of insects and birds.
  • Mixed ecosystems . Those in which the aquatic and terrestrial (amphibious) are combined, since the animal life of these ecosystems is mostly in one of the two, but they require the other to rest, feed or procreate.
  • Microbial Ecosystems It is that of microscopic organisms that inhabit virtually all environments, both aquatic and terrestrial, and even within larger organisms, as is the case with intestinal microbial flora.
  1. Components of an ecosystem

An ecosystem is composed of two types of elements, different in nature: biotics and abiotic:

  • Biotic elements are those linked to life in its many forms and trends, such as trophic relationships, plant presence, population balances, etc.
  • The abiotic elements, on the other hand, are those referring to climatic conditions, relief, or other chemical and / or physical variants that concern the environment, such as the variation of pH, the presence of sunlight, etc.
  1. Ecosystem examples

  • Coral reefs . Of the largest concentrations of life in the underwater world, it takes place in and around the coral structures that form a natural barrier. There are numerous small species (fish, crustaceans, mollusks) due to the abundance of organic matter, serving in turn as food for predators.
  • Abyssal underwater areas . Extreme ecosystems, with little animal presence and no plant presence, since the absence of sunlight prevents photosynthesis. Life, however, adapts to the enormous water pressure and the low amount of nutrients. Much of it is sustained by a constant rain of organic matter coming from the surface, or through chemosynthesis.
  • Polar Ecosystems It is characterized by very low temperatures and low atmospheric humidity. Despite this, it has a sea rich in plankton and animal life adapted to icy waters: hairy bodies, dense layers of fat, etc.
  • Ethical ecosystems. They take place inside and at the margins of the rivers, streams or springs that are on the earth's surface. Life in them adapts to the flow of water, which carries with it nutrients, chemicals, living species or simply very hydrogen peroxide in its movement.

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