Components of an ecosystem

By John

At any given point of time do you find yourself to be surrounded by nature, with all its beauty in the form of trees, plants, lakes, rivers, animals, insects etc.? Do you think there is some form of contact or collaboration between the living and the nonliving components of ecosystem? Read along to know more.

What is an Ecosystem?
Living organisms seem to interact amongst themselves and with the physical environment. This, in short, can be called an ecosystem. There can be different types of ecosystems. The biosphere, for example, can be a global ecosystem. It all depends on the different components and the extent to which you want to define the space, to consider it as an ecosystem. And hence to be able to learn more about them, ecosystems are generally divided into smaller forms.

Ecology or environmental biology is the field that studies this complex set of relationships between the living organisms and their surrounding environment. The scope of this field is very large and covers things like global warming, environmental pollution, plant and animal extinctions etc.

Components of Ecosystem
There are two main components of an ecosystem which are in constant communication with each other. They are the biotic components and the abiotic components.

Biotic Components of Ecosystem
The living components of an ecosystem are called the biotic components. Some of these factors include plants, animals, as well as fungi and bacteria. These biotic components can be further classified, based on the energy requirement source. Producers, consumers, and decomposers are the three broad categories of biotic components.

Producers are the plants in the ecosystem, which can generate their own energy requirement through photosynthesis, in the presence of sunlight and chlorophyll. All other living beings are dependent on plants for their energy requirement of food as well as oxygen.
Consumers include herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. The herbivores are the living organisms that feed on plants. Carnivores eat other living organisms. Omnivores are animals that can eat both plant and animal tissue.
Decomposers are the fungi and bacteria, which are the saprophytes. They feed on the decaying organic matter and convert this matter into nitrogen and carbon dioxide. The saprophytes play a vital role in recycling the nutrients so that the producers i.e. plants can use them once again.