Functioning Ecosystem

Autotrophs, Heterotrophs and Food Relationship


Am Ecosystem consists of abiotic components which interact amongst themselves and are linked by different chemical, biological and physical processes.

The biotic components of an Ecosystem is made up of Autotrophs, heterotrophs and decomposers.

Energy and nutrients are transferred in a step-wide manner among organisms along a undirectional feeding pathway (producer >>> one or more consumers >>> decomposers).

Each step in a feeding pathway is a trophic level, the order in which the levels are arranged gives the path of energy (food) flow.

A food chain shows who eats who in an Ecosystem. This means that a food chain shows how energy and nutrients are transferred from organism to organism along a feeding pathway. A food Web consists of several interconnected food chains.

Energy Flow and Transformation


Energy flow is undirectional in an Ecosystem.

Ecological pyramids show feeding relationships and are constructed by using the number of energy content of organisms at each trophic level.

When living organism convert energy from one form to another, some energy is lost as heat in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics.

The primary producers in any Ecosystem are not efficient in converting light energy into chemical energy. Primary consumers are less efficient energy consumers than secondary consumers.

Nutrients Cycling


In contrast with energy flow which is undirectional, nutrients are recycled.

Carbon is important in nature, being the main element of complex organic carbon compounds rich in energy.

The water cycle carries many chemical nutrients through the Ecosystem.

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