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Chapter 10 : Ecosystem

Topics covered in this snack-sized chapter:

Ecosystem arrow_upward

  • An Ecosystem is a community of living things in a conjunction with the nonliving things of their environment.
  • An Ecosystem is a complex set of relationship among the living resources, habitats and residents of an area
  • It includes plants trees, animals, fish, birds, micro-organism, water, soil and people
  • Ecosystem varies greatly in size and elements that make them up, but each is a functional unit of nature.
  • Everything that lives in an ecosystem depends on the other species.
  • If the element which is also a part of the ecosystem gets damaged or disappears, it has an impact on entire ecosystem.
  • When an ecosystem is healthy all elements live in balance and are capable of reproducing themselves.
  • An ecosystem is made up of plants, animals, microorganisms, soil, rocks, minerals, water sources and the local atmosphere interacting with one another.
  • Matter from one organism is moved and converted into matter in another organism
  • Energy also flows in an ecosystem.
  • An ecosystem has two components abiotic and biotic components.

  • Abiotic Component arrow_upward

  • Energy, water, nitrogen and soil minerals are other essential abiotic components of an ecosystem.
  • The energy that flows through ecosystems is obtained primarily from the sun.
  • The way in which plants and animals grow and carry out their different activities is a result of several abiotic factors.
  • These factors are light, temperature, water, atmospheric gases, wind as well as soil (edaphic) and physiographic (nature of land surface) factors.
  • Solar energy provides practically all the energy for ecosystems.
  • Inorganic substances, e.g., sulfur, boron, tend to cycle through ecosystems.
  • Organic compounds, such as complex molecules (protein), form a link between biotic and abiotic components of the system.
  • The abiotic components of a grassland ecosystem are the non-living features of the ecosystem that the living organisms depend on.
  • Sun is the major source of energy
  • All the living organisms directly or indirectly take energy from sun.

  • Biotic Components arrow_upward

  • Biotic components are the living things that shape an ecosystem.
  • A biotic factor is any living component that affects another organism.
  • It includes animals that consume the organism in question, and the living food that the organism consumes.
  • Biotic factors include human influence.
  • Biotic components are contrasted to abiotic components, which are non-living components of an organism's environment, such as temperature, light, moisture, air currents, etc.
  • Biotic components usually include:
    • Producers, i.e. autotrophs: e.g. plants; they convert the energy (from the sun, or other sources such as hydrothermal vents) into food.
    • Consumers, i.e. heterotrophs: e.g. animals; they depend upon producers for food.
    • Decomposers, i.e. detritivores e.g. fungi and bacteria; they break down chemicals from producers and consumers into simpler form which can be reused.
  • Living things are biotic components of ecosystem.
  • Biotic components can be classified according to their mode of energy acquisition.
    • Autotrophs
    • Heterotrophs
  • Autotrophs
    • An autotroph is a self-feeding organism that produces complex organic compounds (carbohydrates) from (water and CO2 ) using energy from light.
    • Autotrophs are fundamental to the food chains of all ecosystems in the world.
    • Plants are basically the autotrophs they produce primary food for all other living creatures.

  • Heterotrophs
    • Heterotrophs cannot produce their own food directly from sunlight + inorganic compounds.
    • They require energy previously stored in complex molecules.
    • All animals are heterotrophs.
    • Lions eat wildebeest and zebras.
    • Green sea turtles eat sea grasses.
    • In all of these cases, the animal's carbon comes from ingesting other organisms.

    Food Chain arrow_upward

  • A food chain shows the different organisms that live in a habitat, and what eats what.
  • A food chain always starts with a producer.
  • They are the organisms that make their own food.
  • They are usually the green plants, because plants make their own food.
  • A food chain ends with a consumer.
  • They are the organism that eats a plant or other animal.
  • Classification of consumer:
    • A consumer that eats plants is called herbivores.
    • A consumer that eats other animals is called carnivores.
    • The consumer that eats both plants and animals are called omnivores.
  • Predators and Prey
    • Predator is an animal that eats other animals.
    • The Prey is the animal that gets eaten by the predator.

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