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Interaction within the Environment – Ecosystem

Aug 20, 2022
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 Key Concepts

  • Ecosystem
  • Biotic and abiotic factors
  • Importance of abiotic factors
  • Population
  • Community
  • Biomes
  • Biosphere
  • Interactions in the environment

Introduction: 

In a forest, many animals like the lion, deer, mouse, bird, etc., live together. We can also see different plants in a forest, like shrubs, herbs, trees, etc. Along with these, non-living things like rocks, soil and water can also be found. All these living and non-living things together form an ecosystem. Studying the ecosystem helps us understand how the living and non-living things are connected to each other. 

For example, we are dependent on the farmers for vegetables; you are dependent on your teachers for education, etc. All living things are dependent on their environment for their needs like water, protection and nourishment.  

Explanation: 

Ecosystem: 

We can define a system as a group of things that work together as a whole. For example, our bodies contain many different organ systems. Planets are part of a solar system. In every case, the system is made up of parts that interact with each other and affect one another. 

The living things and non-living things in an area make up the ecosystem. The living things interact with each other as they depend on the same resources and are affected by the changes that involve them. The living things also interact with their surroundings, i.e., the non-living components. The non-living components like water, soil and air provide nourishment to the living things and allow them to survive in that particular environment. 

The two parts of an environment: 

An organism’s environment consists of all the factors that affect the organism. These factors can be divided into two groups. 

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The non-living factors such as soil, rocks, water, air and temperature make up the abiotic factors of the environment. 

Whereas living things like plants, animals, humans, bacteria, etc., make up the biotic factors of the environment. 

Even though the abiotic factors are non-living, they are the parts of the ecosystem that makes life possible. For example, sunlight provides warmth and energy. Water is important for the survival of living things. Rock provides shelter. 

The biotic and abiotic factors of an ecosystem

Importance of abiotic factors: 

  1. Sunlight: 

Some areas of the earth receive more amount of sunlight and have a higher temperature. The equator receives the most direct and highest amount of sunlight. Areas around the equator have lush green vegetation and a great diversity of living things. The north and the south poles receive the least amount of sunlight and, as a result, have very limited vegetation. The polar regions also have low diversity of living things. Plants also carry out photosynthesis with the help of sunlight, and animals are dependent on plants for nourishment. As a result, it is an important abiotic factor. 

Fig. 2. The distribution of sunlight on Earth
  1. Temperature: 

Temperature change also affects living things. In some regions, the temperature changes are very little. For example, in tropical rain forests, the temperature stays around 80 0 F most of the time. Plants and animals thrive in places where temperature changes are not much in a day. As a result, the biodiversity in tropical rainforests is high. In places like deserts, the temperature changes from day to night. The plants and animals in a desert are able to survive these sudden changes in temperature. Seasonal changes in temperature also affect organisms. Most organisms survive better in warm, mild summers than in cold, icy winters.

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  1. Water: 

Without water, life would not exist on earth. In animals, water acts as a transportation system by carrying nutrients, oxygen and other substances. It also helps regulate body temperature. Animals need water for their survival. In plants, water transports minerals and nutrients. Plants need water to grow. However, the desert plants have certain adaptations that help them survive in little to no water. Like plants, animals living in the desert areas also have adaptations that help them to survive the heat. 

  1. Soil: 

Soil carries water and nutrients in it and supplies them to plants. Hummus is the material in the soil formed due to the breakdown of animal and plant remains. Minerals that are required for the growth of plants are also present in the soil. 

Every organism plays an important part in the ecosystem. The study of the ecosystem is called ecology. Scientists who study ecology are called ecologists. 

Parts of an ecosystem: 

Population: 

All organisms of the same species living in a particular area make up a population. For example, the bacteria living in your mouth or the zebras living in an African savanna. A habitat is a place where the population lives. Your home is also a habitat. 

Different types of ecosystems support different types of populations. Some populations of species are unique to a particular habitat. For example, we cannot find polar bears in an African desert or a cactus at the South Pole. If populations lack the adaptations that help them to survive in their ecosystems, they may disappear from that area or die. 

Population of zebras

Community: 

Many populations are found in an ecosystem. All populations living together in the same place makes up a community. A community consists of many populations of different species. For example, populations of frogs, perch, minnows, algae, dragonflies, and other organisms that live inside or near a pond make up a pond community. Similarly, various communities can be seen in our environment, like the forest community or the salt marsh community. 

Pond community

Organization in the environment:  

The environment can be arranged into six levels: 

  1. Individual: any one organism in the environment is considered as an individual. For example, a fish, a tiger, a lion, etc. 
  1. Population: a group of individuals of the same species living in one area. For example, a population of tigers. 
  1. Community: all of the populations of organisms living and interacting in one area. For example, a pond community or a forest community. 
  1. Ecosystem: It is made up of a community of organisms and their abiotic environment. 

Energy and other resources flow in an ecosystem between the organism and its physical environment. 

  1. Biomes:  It is made up of many ecosystems. A biome can be defined as an area where the climate determines the plant community, which supports the animal community. Examples of biomes include deserts, grasslands, etc. 

A desert biome receives very little rainfall, is hot during the day and cold at night. Plants and animals found in a desert are adapted to these conditions. They cannot survive in a region that has snowfall. 

  1. Biosphere:  It is the portion of the earth where life exists. It includes the deepest parts of the oceans as well as the tallest mountains. Living organisms interact with their environment for food, water and shelter. The abiotic factors like rocks provide shelter, and water is provided by water bodies. 
Organization in the environment

Interactions with the environment: 

Plants obtain nutrients and water from abiotic components and produce food. This food is consumed by animals, and energy flows into the ecosystem. Organisms interact with each other for mating, protection, predation, etc. As a result, we can say that the interactions in the environment are important for the survival and growth of organisms. It helps grow biodiversity.  

Summary

  • A system is made up of parts that interact with each other and affect one another.
  • The living things and non-living things in an area make up the ecosystem.
  • The living things interact with each other as they depend on the same resources and are affected by the changes that involve them.
  • The living things also interact with their surroundings, i.e., the non-living components.
  • The non-living factors such as soil, rocks, water, air and temperature make up the abiotic factors of the environment.
  • The living things like plants, animals, humans, bacteria, etc., make up the biotic factors of the environment.
  • The study of the ecosystem is called ecology. Scientists who study ecology are called ecologists.
  • All organisms of the same species living in a particular area make up a population.
  • All populations living together in the same place makes up a community.
  • Biomes are made up of many ecosystems. A biome can be defined as an area where the climate determines the plant community, which supports the animal community.
  • Biosphere is the portion of the earth where life exists.

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