Tuesday, July 14, 2009



The two components of nature, viz. organisms and the environment are not only complex and dynamic, but also interdependent, mutually reactive and inter-related. Ecology deals with the various principles which govern such relationship between organisms and their environment.

The various communities of living organisms like plants and animals along with soil, air and water of that region form a self-sustaining or functional ambient of the living world. This functional unit or system made up of living and non-living components which is capable of independent existence is called an ecosystem.

All ecosystems are made up of two components i.e. abiotic components and biotic components. Abiotic components of an ecosystem includes the physical environment like soil, water and air along with the inorganic substances like carbon dioxide, nitrogen, oxygen, water and elements present in them. The physical factors or climatic factors like light, temperature, pressure and humidity are considered abiotic component of ecosystem.
The biotic component of ecosystem is a community of organisms (like plants, animals, microbes) which is made up of many different inter-dependent populations. The biotic community of ecosystem includes three types of organisms:
1) Producer organisms (or Autotrophs), which synthesize their own food. All the green plants are producers.
2) Consumer organisms (or Hetrotrophs), which are dependent on others of food. All the animals are consumers.
3) Decomposer organisms (or saprophytes), which consumes the dead remains of the other organisms. Certain bacteria, fungi and blue green algae are decomposers.
Thus, producers trap the solar energy and then provide the basic food or energy for all other life in ecosystem. The consumers (animals) derive their energy needs, directly or indirectly, from producers (plants). When the producers (plants) and consumers (animals) die, then the decomposer organisms act on their dead bodies to return the various elements back to the nutrient pool (soil, water, air), etc.
The natural ecological grouping of the plants and animals on the basis of climates are called “biomes”. The examples of biomes are: deserts, grasslands, tropical forests, temperate forests, etc. a biome is a very large ecosystem, having same type of climate, same type of plants and animals throughout. So, biomes are also termed as major ecosystems of the world.
A zone consisting of land, water and air, where life exists is called a “biosphere”. Biosphere includes all the living organisms of earth and all the life supporting regions of the earth.
Thus the biosphere consists of four parts: Lithosphere (land surface or soil); Hydrosphere (water bodies); Atmosphere (air); and living organisms (like animals and plants).
Food chains and food webs: the sequence of food from producers (green plants) to the ultimate consumer (human being) to transfer food energy unidirectionally is called food chain. A number of food chains are interconnected by organisms which occur in more than one food chain.
Biodiversity is the number of species of different organisms present in an area including all plants, animals and micro-organisms.
The aim of this aritcle is to create awareness for environment and to introspect that:
“Human activities are the root cause of global environment change. Unless we change many of our lifestyle patterns, the world will face unacceptable level of environment damage and human sufferings.”

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