I know this sounds like a boring topic but, ecosystems are really interesting. Did you know one of the most mind-blowing ecosystems is the Namib Desert located in Namibia & Angola.
Okay, let’s start from the beginning! According to Google, Ecosystems are a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment. In other words, ecosystems are also communities like the ones we live in except, everything is different. Ecosystems can be really tiny or really huge. These ecosystems make up biomes. There are five main types of biomes: Forest, Grassland, Tundra, Desert and Aquatic. These biomes are different from each other except for the fact that they are all a complex community of organisms.
Ecosystems contain both biotic and abiotic factors. Biotic factors are living things (such as trees, animals and birds.) Abiotic factors are nonliving things (like, water, soil, sunlight, air and the atmosphere.) These abiotic and biotic factors interact together to create ecosystems.
Effects of change
Even a little change can affect the whole ecosystem. Let’s start with the Forest ecosystem, this one’s really interesting and complex because there are lots of organisms living in a forest. For example, say in an ecosystem, a river dries up. All the animals, plants and insects which live there depend on water. Some use it for shelter, some for a basic need to live, and others for both. Because of a drought, these animals and plants will have to either move out or die.
Many different ecosystems live within the same place. The whole Earth is made up of these communities of organisms. Animals, and plants which live depend on others and each other to live. Even if one species of animal or plant dies in that region, the whole ecosystem will be broken and destroyed. But these ecosystems can recover when the missing species of animal or plant is replaced or returned.
How they help us and what we’ve done to them
Humans have destroyed many ecosystems on Earth. From cutting trees, to hunting animals, humans have hurt 97% of Earth’s unique communities. As human population grew, we have also endangered many species of animals and plants by taking over their land. We can all protect these communities by leaving them untouched and recreating them. These different communities are also important for human life, for example, many cures for diseases are found from plants, or animals. Trees clean the air and provide oxygen, plants give food, and pollination by insects helps us grow food.
An example of a simple ecosystem is algae. Algae provides oxygen for mammals to survive in the oceans, help coral reefs live and are part of the food web. Algae helps many microsystems like oysters, clams, and us. Yes, it does help us. Algae blooms provide more productivity, in turn providing us with seafood, and ultimately, purification of the air. There are many more types of ecosystems in the five main biomes, which we will go over in another post.
Actually, when we think about it, we are also part of the huge land environment and large ecosystems in them. We depend on both biotic and abiotic factors to live. To conclude for today, here are some cool and interesting facts about ecosystems you might have not known about.
- There are ecosystems even in big cities – From squirrels to birds living in a tree, they have all adapted to live in the city.
- The tundra is a really difficult place to live – The cold temperature and ice makes it impossible for plants and trees to grow there, one of the main things in an ecosystems. But, animals like the polar bear and other animals have still found a way to live.
- More than half of the world is made up of aquatic ecosystem- 70% of the Earth is covered in water, and more than half of the ecosystems survive in freshwaters, oceans, rivers, lakes and ponds.
- Different species of animals compete for the same thing- Many animals fight for the same needs they all need, like the same species of plants, or the same species of prey.
- Plants are the most important in biomes- Lots of herbivores, omnivores, insects and birds depend on plants, their fruits, leaves and vegetables for food. But, plants also provide housing for birds, insects and other organisms.