Structure and function of an ecosystem
The two important aspects of an ecosystem are:
- Structure and
Structure of an ecosystem consists of
- Composition of biological community (eg: plants, animals and microbes), biomass, life cycles and distribution in space.
- Quantity, distribution and cycling of non-living materials (macro and micro nutrients, trace elements and water)
- Variation of conditions like temperature, rainfall, sunlight, relative humidity, wind and topography.
- Rate of biological energy flow (production and respiration rates)
- Rate of nutrient cycles
- Ecological regulation (Environment regulation in the form of photoperiodism and Organism regulation in the form of nitrogen fixation by organisms)
From the trophic stand-point, an ecosystem has two components
- Autotrophic component and
- Heterotrophic component
Autotrophic component involves
- Fixation of light energy
- Use of simple inorganic substances like carbon and water
- Synthesis of hexose sugars (glucose) to complex substances such as polysaccharide carbohydrate (starch), fat and protein synthesis.
Heterotrophic component involves
- Rearrangement and Decomposition of complex substances
- Herbivores, Carnivores and Omnivores (Phagotrophs) and microconsumers (decomposers, osmotrophs and saprotrophs) comprise the heterotrophic component.