Imagine an ecosystem as a tiny world within our world. Here, living things, like plants and animals, interact with non-living elements, including water, rocks, soil and temperature. Every portion of the ecosystem influences everything else. An ecosystem exists within a larger area called a biome.
Here's an example of an Ecosystem: The Sonoran Desert in Arizona is a harsh landscape. Within the desert, though, there are streams and creeks. Here, fish, birds, turtles and snakes live. There are trees and plants. This is one type of an ecosystem. In other parts of the desert, there is little water. Here, only a few plants, such as cactus can survive. The animals that live here – snakes, ground rats, and scorpions – must adapt to harsh conditions. This is a different ecosystem within the same biome.
There are two main components of the ecosystem, the biotic components and the abiotic components. The living components of an ecosystem are called as the biotic components. The biotic components can be further classified based on their source of energy requirement, into producers, consumers and decomposers. Producers are the plants in the ecosystem which can fulfil the food and energy requirements on their own through photosynthesis. Consumers include herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. They depend on others for their food and energy requirements. Decomposers consists of bacteria and fungi. They feed on decaying organic matter and convert it into nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
Fun Facts About Ecosystems for Kids
Animals and plants within an ecosystem depend on each other for their survival. If conditions change, the animals and plants have to adapt.
Plants can’t migrate when conditions change. During drought and heat, they might die. If they die, then herbivores won’t have anything to eat.
They must either find new plants to eat or move to a new place. If they move, then carnivores have no food. They must move too.
Sometime ecosystems change because of a climate change or a natural disaster. Sometimes, ecosystems are destroyed by humans.
Think about the ecosystems that might exist in your neighbourhood or even in your own yard. If you have a vegetable garden, the plants attract plant-eating insects.
The insects attract birds, snakes and frogs. These animals might attract predators, including fox, raccoons, coyotes and owls.
Who knew there was so much going on right outside your door! A vegetable garden is a man-made ecosystem, but you get the idea.