An ecosystem consists of living things (plants, animals, and other organisms) and non-living things (weather, soil, sun, atmosphere) in a given area that interact with each other. In an ecosystem, every organism has its role. An ecosystem does not have any fixed boundary. It can be as small as a pond or as big as a forest or desert.
The primary characteristic of an ecosystem is that it comprise of every kind of requirement (food, water, and shelter) of an organism. Every organism is inter-dependant. The two primary processes of the ecosystem ecology are energy transformation and biochemical cycling. The transfer of energy generally takes place by eating the fellow creature or the plants. Energy utilized by the Living Organisms can be generally of two types: Radiant energy and fixed energy. Fixed energy is the energy stored in the organic compounds and are broken down in order to release the energy content. Radiant energy is the energy obtained from the sunlight.
Living organisms that can utilize inorganic substances and radiant energy to produce organic molecules are known as autotrophs. Organisms that cannot produce energy on their own but depend on autotrophs and other living creatures for their survival are known as heterotrophs. Consumers are the organisms which obtain energy from living organisms. Organisms which feed on dead organisms for energy content are known as decomposers. In general, there are two main components of ecosystem: Abiotic substances and biotic substances.
When humans eat plants or fellow creatures it goes into the stomach and enzymes present in the body helps in the breakdown of food particles to form chemical constituents. For example: When we eat burger, the carbohydrate found in the burger is burnt in the body cells. Oxygen is mixed with it to produce energy content. The energy produced is utilized in various metabolic activities. The flow of energy depends on who eats whom in the ecosystem. A linear network showing how living creatures get food, and how the minerals and energy are transferred from one organism to another is known as food chain. The graphical representation for the inter-connection of food chains is known as a food web. The structure of ecosystem depends on the food chain.