Structure And Function Of An Ecosystem Pdf

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An ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment, interacting as a system. By feeding on plants and on one another, animals play an important role in the movement of matter and energy through the system. They also influence the quantity of plant and microbial biomass present. By breaking down dead organic matter , decomposers release carbon back to the atmosphere and facilitate nutrient cycling by converting nutrients stored in dead biomass back to a form that can be readily used by plants and other microbes.

Ecosystem: Structure, Functions & Components

The functional attributes of the ecosystem keep the components running together. Ecosystem functions are natural processes or exchange of energy that take place in various plant and animal communities of different biomes of the world. For instance, green leaves prepare food and roots absorb nutrients from the soil, herbivores feed on the leaves and the roots and in turn serve as food for the carnivores.

Decomposers execute the functions of breaking down complex organic materials into simple inorganic products, which are used by the producers. Fundamentally, ecosystem functions are exchange of energy and nutrients in the food chain.

These exchanges sustain plant and animal life on the planet as well as the decomposition of organic matter and the production of biomass. All these functions of the ecosystem take place through delicately balanced and controlled processes. The order of living organisms in a community in which one organism consumes other and is itself consumed by another organism to transfer energy is called a food chain.

Every living being irrespective of their size and habitat, from the tiniest algae to giant blue whales, need food to survive. Food chain is structured differently for different species in different ecosystems.

Each food chain is the vital pathway for energy and nutrients to follow through the ecosystem. Food chains were first introduced by the African-Arab scientist and philosopher Al-Jahiz in the 9 th century and later popularized in a book published in by Charles Elton.

A food chain starts with a producer such as plants. Producers form the basis of the food chains. Then there are consumers of many orders. Consumers are organisms that eat other organisms. All organisms in a food chain, except the first organism, are consumers. Plants are called producers because they produce their own food through photosynthesis. Animals are called consumers because they depend on plants or other animals for food to get energy they need.

In a certain food chain, each organism gets energy from the one at the level below. In a food chain, there is reliable energy transfer through each stage. All the energy at one stage of the chain is not absorbed by the organism at the next stage.

Trophic levels are different stages of feeding position in a food chain such as primary producers and consumers of different types. Organisms in a food chain are categorized under different groups called trophic levels. They are as follows. They form the first level of every food chain. Plants and one-celled organisms, some types of bacteria, algae, etc. Virtually, almost all autotrophs use a process called photosynthesis to prepare food. They are called herbivores.

Deer, turtle, and many types of birds are herbivores. They are both carnivores meateaters and omnivores animals that eat both animals and plants. In a desert ecosystem, a secondary consumer may be a snake that eats a mouse. Secondary consumers may eat animals bigger than they are.

Some lions, for example, kill and eat buffalo. The buffalo weighs twice as much as the lions do. The secretary bird in Africa and the King Cobra specialize in killing and eating snakes but all snakes are carnivores. The leopard seal eats mostly other carnivores - mainly other seals, squids, and penguins, all of which are carnivores. These organisms break down dead organic material and wastes. Fungi and bacteria are the key decomposers in many ecosystems; they use the chemical energy in dead matter and wastes to fuel their metabolic processes.

Other decomposers are detritivores—detritus eaters or debris eaters. Understanding the food chain helps us know the feeding interrelationship and interaction between an organism and the ecosystem. It also enables us to know the mechanism of energy flow in an ecosystem. A food chain cannot stand isolated in an ecosystem. The same food resource may be a part of more than one chain. This is possible when the resource is at the lower tropic level.

A food web comprises all the food chains in a single ecosystem. It is essential to know that each living thing in an ecosystem is a part of multiple food chains. A single food chain is the single possible path that energy and nutrients may make while passing through the ecosystem. All the interconnected and overlapping food chains in an ecosystem make up a food web. Food webs are significant tools in understanding that plants are the foundation of all ecosystem and food chains, sustaining life by providing nourishment and oxygen needed for survival and reproduction.

The food web provides stability to the ecosystem. The tertiary consumers are eaten by quaternary consumers. For example, a hawk that eats owls. Each food chain ends with a top predator and animal with no natural enemies such as an alligator, hawk, or polar bear. Functions of Ecosystem Advertisements.

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1.3. Structure and Function of Ecosystem

To enhance our understanding of ecology and ecosystem, we shall have a small review of these terms. Ecology comes from the greek words oikos house or place where one lives and logos study of. This term was introduced by Ernst Haeckl in Ecology can be defined more specifically as the study of the interactions between organisms and the nonliving components of their environment. The Biosphere is composed of smaller units called ecosystems. An ecosystem includes all the organisms and the nonliving environment that are found in a particular place. Ecosystems can be as large or as small as we decide.

Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. DOI: Cortina and Fernando T. Maestre and R. Vallejo and M.

What is an Ecosystem?

An organism is always in the state of perfect balance with the environment. The environment literally means the surroundings. The environment refers to the things and conditions around the organisms which directly or indirectly influence the life and development of the organisms and their populations. Organisms and environment are two non-separable factors.

The functional attributes of the ecosystem keep the components running together. Ecosystem functions are natural processes or exchange of energy that take place in various plant and animal communities of different biomes of the world. For instance, green leaves prepare food and roots absorb nutrients from the soil, herbivores feed on the leaves and the roots and in turn serve as food for the carnivores. Decomposers execute the functions of breaking down complex organic materials into simple inorganic products, which are used by the producers.

Ecosystem : Structure and function. Organisms interact with each other and also with the physical conditions that are present in their habitats. Tansley

Global Change and River Ecosystems - Implications for Structure, Function and Ecosystem Services

Ecosystems: Concept, Structure and Functions of Ecosystems (with diagram)

It seems that you're in Germany. We have a dedicated site for Germany. Editors: Stevenson , R. Jan, Sabater , Sergi Eds. Rivers around the world are threatened by changes in land use, climate, hydrologic cycles, and biodiversity.

An ecosystem, a term very often used in biology, is a community of plants and animals interacting with each other in a given area, and also with their non-living environments. The ecosystem relates to the way that all these different organisms live in close proximity to each other and how they interact with each other. For instance, in an ecosystem where there are both rabbits and foxes, these two creatures are in a relationship where the fox eats the rabbit in order to survive.


Ecologists use the terms ecosystem structure and ecosystem function in diverse ways in ecological publications (Jax, ; Electronic supplementary material 1).


A pond, lake, desert, grassland, meadow, forest etc. The non living factors or the physical environment prevailing in an ecosystem form the abiotic components. They have a strong influence on the structure, distribution, behaviour and inter-relationship of organisms.

4 Response
  1. Xochilt N.

    An ecosystem consists of an assembly of mutually interacting organisms and their environment in which materials are interchanged in a largely cyclical manner.

  2. Priyanka W.

    Evaluacin de proyectos gua de ejercicios problemas y soluciones pdf evaluacin de proyectos gua de ejercicios problemas y soluciones pdf

  3. Bingham R.

    Ecosystem constitutes a dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment, interacting as a functional unit (e.g., a lake, grassland, or a forest ecosystem). ii. Ecosystem structure is a network of interactions between abiotic and biotic components of the system. iv.

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