Amongst all living entities, humans are the most evolved as they are highly structured and organized species. Humans follow a particular hierarchy that can be easily interpreted on a scale from the smallest to the largest.
Levels of Organization
There are six major levels of organization as per ecologists, they are:
An ecosystem is a biological system that occurs naturally and is functional. It has multiple species dwelling in it. These species are influenced by one another due to constant interaction. They are also affected by abiotic factors of the ecosystem, such as temperature, pressure, nutrients etc. A species is a basic unit of classification. It is a type of entity in which different individuals can interact and reproduce offsprings of a similar kind. They exhibit similar characteristics and are hence capable of interbreeding.
Interspecies interaction or reproduction is either not possible or results in infertile offspring. A population is a group of individuals or species that live in a specific time in a particular region. They are individuals of the same species across multiple ecosystems if a population migrates to a different land area. Some population differ in the characteristics they exhibit, such as the colour of the eye, hair, height, complexion so on, due to changes in the genes. A community is an intercommunication between entities from different species except for the interactions with abiotic factors. In a given place, a community often shares a specific geographical area.
Species in a community can interact in three ways – predation, mutualism, and competition. Major communities are self-regulating and self-sustaining, while minor communities depend upon other communities and form the building blocks for major communities.
Let us see some important differences between the species, population and community.
These are a group of interbreeding individuals that do not breed with other organisms. The different kinds of organisms found on earth constitute the species.
It comprises all the organisms of a given species in a particular region at a particular time. A population contains genetic variations among themselves.
This refers to all the populations in a particular area at a given time. The structure involves different types of interactions among species.
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|Ecology: Organisms and Their Environment|
|Organisms and Population Attributes|