Ecosystem – WorldAtlas

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Coral reef ecosystem
  • An ecosystem includes all living and non-living factors in a specific area /
  • An ecosystem is based on a careful balance, where each factor directly or indirectly affects everything else.
  • Earth is made up of various different ecosystems, each one connecting to form a balanced planet.

An ecosystem is the term used to describe all organisms – plants, animals, etc., as well as all environmental factors – such as landscape, weather and climate, that exist in a given area to create an interconnected system of life. and functional. This ecosystem is a specific geographic area, but includes all factors, living and non-living, that exist within that area.

Biotic and abiotic

The living parts of a given ecosystem are called biotic parts. Biotic, as in biology, includes all living things. It means all the animals, plants, insects and even tiny bacteria and organisms that exist in this environmental bubble. Abiotic factors include landscape and climate, which would more specifically include weather, water sources, rocks, and temperature.

Scale and size

Tidal basin ecosystem
A tidal basin is one of the smallest ecosystems.

An ecosystem may seem like a great term, but these systems can vary greatly in size. The entire Earth is made up of connected ecosystems, each coming together with the others around it to form a much larger biome, and more importantly, a healthy and balanced planet. The ecosystems themselves, however, could be very small.

Animal tidal pools
Sea creatures of the tidal basin.

One of the smallest examples of ecosystems is found in tidal pools. Tidal puddles occur when ocean water recedes from a beach or shore, but leaves behind puddles or ponds in footprints on the shore. These pools form complete tiny ecosystems. They contain photosynthetic plants, like algae and algae, which make their own food. Plant-eating animals like abalone feed on this algae, and clams and starfish in turn eat abalone. Changes in the tide affect every aspect of the ecosystem differently. Algae grow best in deeper water, while crabs need shallow areas to prevent drowning. The continuous influx and receding tide allows all of these animals to thrive in the ponds, as they work with the changing abiotic environmental factors.

Connectivity

All of the life forms that make up an ecosystem are connected through the food web.

All parts of an ecosystem are connected and work together to keep this system balanced and healthy. For example, herbivorous animals in an ecosystem depend on the specific vegetation of that area for food. Plants, in turn, can only thrive in certain climates and with specific amounts of precipitation or at certain temperatures. A change in climate could lead to the disappearance of a plant species, which would then directly affect the animal that eats it. Indirectly, this would affect all animals that eat these prey, leading to more significant indirect consequences. Plants also provide shelter in many cases and are used for safety and protection. If these plants no longer existed in their ecosystem, animals or insects would have to adapt, otherwise the ecosystem would be unbalanced.

Importance of maintaining balance

While ecosystems are resilient, they are also so deeply connected that any major change to one element can spell disaster for that system. This is why conservationists, scientists and activists are so deeply concerned with both climate change and human industry and its effects on our planet. While removing a plant – say, a particular type of tree for lumber – might seem relatively harmless, the effects can be extensive. Many animals can use these trees for shelter, homes, or even as a food source, and removing one item could easily threaten the entire ecosystem. Likewise, the introduction of external species, poaching or overfishing can remove a key part of an ecosystem that can ultimately lead to its total collapse.


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