Ecosystem Components

Ecosystem Definition

According to the Biological Sciences an ecosystem is the highest level of organization that can reach a community of living beings. It can also be defined as a biological unit made up of interdependent organisms that interact, develop and share the same habitat.

The development of this concept and its formal study began to develop from the first decades of the twentieth century (1923-1930) when science realized the interdependence that existed between biological units that shared a common environment.  Above all, the branch of Ecology has been devoted to the study of how a group of plants, animals, insects, bacteria and fungi can develop and need in the same habitat.

In this sense, science has also defined the components that make up an ecosystem. On this occasion we will show each of them, accompanied by a short definition, so that all the components of this advanced biological organization system are better visualized. However, before naming what are the elements that make up an ecosystem it would be good to define certain biological concepts.

Main concepts

For example, we could start with the concept of Population, which would be pointing to a group of individuals of the same species living in a given place. We can also highlight that a population of individuals also forms a biological unit, which can be analyzed according to the characteristics of the individuals: species, age, sex, etc.

It is also important to note that just as no individual can actually live isolated on the planet, biological units do not either, but share their habitat with other biological units or populations, giving rise to what is known as Community Biocenosis. While the habitat or medium inhabited by these communities is known as a biotope. According to this we can then outline the following concept map:

Biological Unit: a group of individuals of the same species that inhabits a particular place, and which is also known as the population.

Biocenosis: Biological community made up of the sum of populations or biological units that inhabit a specific place.

Biotope: a geographical place that is shared by a unit or biological community.

Thus we could shed another concept of Ecosystem where it can be defined as the biological unit formed by the biocenosis of a specific biotope.

Ratio between volume units and capacity units

Once these concepts are defined we can then really point out what are the components of an Ecosystem, which would be made up of biotic elements and abiotic elements, among which there is a constant flow of matter and energy, produced by interactions between living organisms and the environment in which they develop

Expanding these elements, we can find that abiotic elements are basically made up of inorganic substances found in the habitat where the Biological Community develops, such as Nitrogen, Phosphates, Water ( H2O) or Carbon Dioxide (CO2).

Equally within the abiotic components of ecosystems can be found the elements synthesized through the biotic phases, that is, the elements processed by the organisms of the biological unit such as proteins, lipids or glycides. Thirdly and lastly, climate, temperature and specific factors of a given place are also one of the elements of the abiotic components of an ecosystem.

On the other hand there are the biotic elements, which can be classified as follows:

Autotroph organisms: also called producers, would be made up of the elements capable of processing or synthesizing complex organic materials into simple inorganic substances.

Fagotrophs: also known as macro-consumers or heterotrophs, they would be made up of animals ingesting other animals, organisms or elements of organic matter in a given biotope.

Sapotrophos: also called micro-consumers and also classified as heterotrophs, they are made up of fungi and bacteria, which would be responsible for absorbing the elements in a decaying state, to process the inorganic nutrients, which will then be used by producers.

It is also important to note that the abiotic elements of a given biotope (light, ambient temperature, water, soil and nutrients) have specific incidences in the biotic factors that coexist in it, being essential both for its sustaining in time as for the development of their lives.

However, the interaction between these biotic and abiotic elements keeps perfect balance, translating into a controlled and stable growth of populations. That is to say, for example in a given climate there is a time of drought that results in the death of certain macro-consumer individuals, however, that fact, however cruel it may seem, allows other elements such as sapotrophs to have matter to process for the producers from which macro and micro-consumers will feed, thus generating what is known as the food chain and which is the engine or axis of an ecosystem.

Then it may come a rainy season where animal and plant lives are also lost, but it is the cycle that meets a certain biotope and that in the long run marks the functioning of the ecosystem or ecosystems that develop in it.

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Bibliography ► (August 28, 2019). Ecosystem Components. Bogotá: E-Cultura Group. Recovered from