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Each organism lives in an ecosystem. So, what is an ecosystem?
Living organisms interact with each other and with non-living things in a living environment called biotopes. It is, in simple words, an ecosystem.
The biotic community cannot be separated from the biotope. An ecosystem is interdependent and a stable, self-supporting system. Energy flow and material cycling in an ecosystem are what make it stable.
An ecosystem is neither a separate nor a closed system. It is an open system.
Classification of ECOSYSTEMS
Ecosystems can be classified based on size, nature, and duration.
Depending on the size – small ecosystem and large ecosystem
A small biotope ecosystem.
Case 1: Consider an aquarium — there are small molluscs like fishes and shells. When food is provided for fish, shell feeds on microbes. Artificial air is provided for the organisms. The water is purified and the surroundings are cleaned at once.
Case 2: A kitchen garden or flowerbed in the backyard
Case 3: Pot of houseplant – Plants are allowed to grow into pot biotopes. They are provided with incense and water is poured for their growth. For plants, nutrients are provided. Example: Planting a bean plant grows in a nitrogen-rich environment so that Rhizobium bacteria that liquefy nitrogen in the air grow on their roots and convert the air into a liquid form and provide it to the plant.
Which is also called a simple or micro-ecosystem.
Ecosystem with a large biotope.
Case 1: Oceans – There are creatures here — fishes (bony and cartilaginous), turtles, snakes, molluscs, ectoderms, zoplankton, and so on. They live in water and breathe air. They feed on small organisms such as fishes, microbes, and phytoplankton, and so on. There are rocks and caves to provide shelter to some creatures.
Case 2: Forests – Plants, herbivores, carnivores and omnivores live here. Rivers, lakes, and rainwater provide. They breathe. Plants live in soil etc.
Based on nature – natural ecosystem and man-made ecosystem
This ecosystem develops on its own. There is no human intervention or human support provided.
Examples are forests, deserts, regions, oceans and seas, grasslands, and so on.
Surgical / Man-Made ECOSYSTEM
This type of ecosystem is developed and maintained by humans.
Examples are the aquarium, a flower-pot and so on.
On the basis of duration – temporary ecosystem and sustainable ecosystem
This ecosystem has a short life span. It can be natural or artificial.
Examples are laboratory culture of protozoans, a rain-fed pond and so on.
This ecosystem is a self-supporting natural ecosystem. It maintains itself for a relatively long period.
Examples are forests, oceans and so on.
To summarize, an ecosystem is an interaction between the biological community and its environment. They can be divided on the basis of size, nature and duration.
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