What is an ecosystem?
It is a term used to describe the living things on earth that includes plants, animals, fungi and bacteria. It is made up of different types of living things and each one is part of a chain reaction that links all other living things. You can say that the ecosystem is like a whole that runs its course without interference or intervention from any outside source.
What is the ecosystem made of?
An ecosystem is made up of all of the organisms and their respective physical environment which they interact with. All the organisms are part of a complex network and interconnected in such a way that they provide services to each other. Photosynthesis helps to break down food for the other organisms which in turn are useful to us. These living organisms are connected by energy flows and nutrient cycles. Energy is absorbed by the system and is incorporated into living organism tissue. Nutrients are used by the organisms for growth and maintenance while other substances are excreted as waste.
Some examples of the many organisms in an ecosystem are vascular flora that include fish, birds, amphibians and mammals; non living microbial communities that include bacteria and fungi; and vegetation that includes both trees and plants. Each of these organisms has a specific function to help maintain the balance in the ecosystem. There are many factors that control the ecosystems such as temperature, precipitation, sunlight, wind and biological load. Oceans can also be a source of pollution due to shipping, pharmaceuticals and chemicals.
A natural environment is considered to be one in which everything is in equilibrium. This means that there is a balance of chemical and biological activity between all organisms within the ecosystem. Natural equilibrium is brought about by processes such as circulation, hydrology, and structural geology.
There are several ways to understand what an ecosystem is. One example is to imagine that you are watching a river flow with several tributaries flowing past. The smaller tributaries are being pushed by the large upstream river and are gradually gaining in weight until it eventually becomes a waterfall. This is one example of an ecosystem where there are living organisms, food for the living organisms, minerals and other nutrients for the food and energy needs of the other organisms and finally, a net gain for the upstream river.
Today we live in a world in which there are literally billions of different living organisms. These include both plants and animals. We rely on the ecosystems that we have to maintain our way of life by keeping everything within a very small space. There are a number of ways in which the modern day environment can affect this balance. If we are to create a new eco-friendly society one of the primary objectives will be to restore the natural order of the earth so that ecosystems can once again stabilize and become self-sustaining.
In many respects, a sustainable ecosystem is much more important than an abiotic one. An abiotic ecosystem is one in which life relies upon another organism or, in the case of some bacteria, on the earth’s surface for its food. It is a sort of the “canary in a coal mine” situation because, even though life might survive, ultimately the planet will die because it will no longer have the right combination of organisms to maintain its environment. In contrast, a sustainable ecosystem can flourish indefinitely because it is self-sustaining. It is not dependent upon any outside intervention and is capable of bringing in and using organic resources from the surrounding environment.
So, if you wish to know what an ecosystem is and how it works, why not try looking at the earth’s surface for a while? Then sit down and think about whether there are any ecosystems on other planets in our solar system. Perhaps we need to learn more about how they work and what role they play in maintaining the health of our bodies and our environment. Consider this in 2021.