Ecosystem 101

By ecosystem we mean the community of living beings whose vital processes are interrelated. The development of these organisms occurs depending on the physical factors of the environment they share.

Ecosystems bring together all the biotic factors (that is, plants, animals, and microorganisms) in a given area with the abiotic factors of the environment. It is, therefore, a unit made up of interdependent organisms that form trophic or food chains (the flow of energy and nutrients established between the species of an ecosystem in relation to their nutrition).

The notion arose in the 1930s to explain the complex interaction between living beings, energy currents, material resources, and the community in which they develop.

An ecosystem is made up of biotic factors and abiotic factors. According to Abbreviationfinder, SE stands for Strategic Ecosystem.

How an ecosystem is studied

It is important to underline that there are several ways to carry out the study of an ecosystem, more specifically three are the usual methods. Thus, in the first place, its analysis can be carried out through the food relations that are produced in it, which translates into speaking of the energy that reaches the Earth from the Sun so that it passes from some organisms to others. This in turn would give rise to the so-called, as we have mentioned before, food chains where the plants, the primary consumers or herbivores, the secondary consumers or carnivores, and the necrophages are.

The second way to study an ecosystem is through the cycles of matter. With them, what is expressed is how the different chemical elements (oxygen, hydrogen, carbon…) that form the different living beings go from one trophic level to another.

And the third form of analysis is to focus on the so-called flow of energy that goes from one level to another and is responsible for the functioning of the ecosystem. In this case we have to underline that said energy always follows the same direction.

In an aquatic environment there are also ecosystems.

Habitat and ecological niche

The concept of habitat is associated with that of ecosystem. The habitat is the physical place of the ecosystem, a region that offers the necessary natural conditions for the subsistence and reproduction of the species.

The ecological niche, on the other hand, is the way in which an organism is linked to the biotic and abiotic factors of the environment through different physical, chemical and biological conditions.

Balance, contamination and recovery of an ecosystem

It is important to bear in mind that an ecosystem is a balanced situation that changes over time and that implies the constant adaptation of the species that inhabit it. The greater the number of species (that is, the greater the biodiversity), the ecosystem usually presents a greater capacity for recovery. This is possible thanks to the better possibilities of absorption and reduction of environmental changes.

In addition to all of the above, we cannot ignore the fact that currently one of the problems that most worries world society is that of the contamination of the ecosystem. It manifests itself through water as well as soil and air. For this reason, various initiatives and projects are being encouraged with the clear objective of curbing it, protecting the environment and, therefore, ensuring that living beings have a better quality of life.


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