Ecosystem: What is an Ecosystem?

len Alfred Ajibola - Tue, 10th December, 2019 @ 9:31 AM

Topics in Biology

Tropical savanna explained with its characteristics Ecological pyramid explained with its importance and limitations Hindbrain: Medulla Oblongata and its features Food web explained with examples Biology Scheme of Work, SS1, First Term Biology Scheme of Work, SS1, 2nd Term Biology Scheme of Work, SS1, 3rd Term Male accessory sex organs: Seminal vesicles and bulbourethral glands Scrotum and its contents: Testicles Brain: Introduction to the human brain Forebrain: Lobes of the cerebrum and their functions Cerebellum: Parts and functions of the cerebellum Midbrain: Division and functions of the midbrain Negative feedback mechanism in homeostasis Arterial disorders explained with their causes Types of desert and their characteristics Characteristics of tropical rainforest Swamp forest: What are swamp forests? Characteristics of swamp forests Savanna biome: Concept of the savanna

Academic Questions in Biology

Please check out our Test Your Knowledge page to see all Questions and Answers

In a food chain, the primary consumers are classified under trophic level  _____.

  • A. Zero

  • B. One

  • C. Two

  • D. Three

  • E. Four

  • F. Five

Cold blooded animals are referred to as _____.

  • A. Homeotherms

  • B. Endotherms

  • C. Poilokitherms

  • D. Ectotherms

  • E. Thermotherms

  • F. None of the above

All reptiles are vertebrates.

  • A. True

  • B. False

_____ cells are responsible for the formation of osteoblasts.

  • A. Osteocytes
  • B. Chondrocytes
  • C. Chondroblasts
  • D. Osteoclasts
  • E. Osteoprogenitor cells
  • F. Osteoblastic

_____ is a bone that constitute the axial skeleton.

  • A. Clavicle
  • B. Scapula
  • C. Patella
  • D. Radius
  • E. Sternum
  • F. Femur

Which of the following is false concerning cartilages and bones?

  • A. Cartilage does not have a direct blood supply while bones have direct blood supply
  • B. The process of ossification replaces a cartilage to bone
  • C. The protein that makes up cartilage is called chondrin while that that makes up bone is called ossein
  • D. Cartilage grows from both ends while bones grow from one of its epiphysis
  • E. They both have living cells within them
  • F. Haversian system is absent in cartilage but present in bones

A diagram showing the movement of energy through a food chain is called a _____.

  • A. Food Chain
  • B. Food Web
  • C. Food Energy
  • D. Food Link
  • E. Food Flow
  • F. Food Pyramid

Which of the following is NOT a part of the wrist bones (or carpal bones)?

  • A. Cuboid
  • B. Scaphoid
  • C. Hamate
  • D. Triquetral
  • E. Pisiform
  • F. Trapezium



Read more on its smart academic features here

Concept of the Ecosystem:

To better understand the concept of an ecosystem, we need to first realize that living organisms cannot exist in isolation (alone). For instance, you live among other humans. Apart from this fact, other domestic animals (and even insects) may also be found around you.

Together; you, other people and the domestic animals within your area forms a community of living organisms.

As a student, understanding the concept of a community and other ecological concepts will aid you to better comprehend the ecosystem.

Please read on various ecological concepts here.

Note: The term community emanates from the diversity of organisms living in a particular area. You can think of a community as the population of all species of organisms living in a particular area.

As an instance, the community of organisms in the savanna will include all the populations of grasses, lions, snakes, zebras, buffaloes and other organisms present there in.

Please read more on savanna here.

Always remember that a community will only consist of the living organisms in a particular area. Non-living things are not a part of the community.

What is an Ecosystem?

An ecosystem can be defined as the community of living organisms (plants and animals) interacting and functioning together with their living and non-living environment. This definition is illustrated below:

Ecosystem - Len Academy

It is the function of an ecologist to study the ecosystem, defining it's boundaries and limitations.

Please read on ecology and branches of ecology here.

Unlike a community which comprises of only living organisms, an important point to understand is the fact that an ecosystem consists of both living and non-living factors. For this reason, it's safe to say that the ecosystem isn't just a community. Rather it has everything to do with the interaction of both the living and non-living parts of the environment.

Consider the instances below.

From the above instance, we will observe that the savanna is composed of a variety of organisms. These organisms present therein make up the grassland (or savanna) community. In this case, the community of organisms are the grasses, zebras and lions.

Also, we will discover that the grasses requires a good climate, soil, sunlight, nutrients and organic matter to grow. Notice that all of these requirements are non-living; and they play an important role in the normal functioning and balance of the savanna ecosystem. In fact, without these non-living factors, the ecosystem will cease to exist.

An ecosystem is made up of 2 components. These are:

  1. Living or Biotic Components.
  2. Non-Living or Abiotic Components.
  3. Please read on the components of the ecosystem here.

An ecosystem can be small is size, for instance, a small pond. Conversely, it can be very large in size, for example, an ocean. In addition, various ecosystem exists on the lithosphere (land) and hydrosphere (water).

According to statistics, the salt water (seas and oceans) ecosystem makeup about 70% of the earth's surface. Fresh water ecosystem like rivers, streams, lakes and ponds occupy about 1.8% - 2% while the terrestial ecosystem accounts for approximately 28%.

The terrestial ecosystems can be divided into biomes.

Please read on the tropical rainforest biome and its importance here.

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Alfred Ajibola is a Medical Biochemist, a passionate Academician with over 10 years of experience, a Versatile Writer, a Web Developer, a Cisco Certified Network Associate and a Cisco CyberOps Associate.

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Amazing facts in Biology

Panda eating bamboo - Len Academy

99% of a panda's diet is bamboo. They may eat fish or other small animals occasionally

When attacked by insects, lima beans plant will often command parasitic wasps to their defence.

When the leaves of the lima bean's leaves are eaten by insects, the plant gives off a substance that signals parasitic wasps to swam in, destroying its enemies (the leaf-eating insects) in the process

Frogs drink water through their skin

Armadillos - Len Academy

Armadillos are western mammals known for their unique armor-like shell which are bulletproof

Polka-dotted zebra - Len Academy

Although zebras are known for their characteristics black and white stripes, we still have some polka-dotted zebras

Charles Darwin is a British naturalist and biologist who contributed greatly into the study of evolution. According to research, he frequently ate the animals he studied

Lungs are the only human organ that can float on water

Unlike most snakes that lay eggs, anacondas give birth to live babies

Shrimp - Len Academy

A shrimp's heart is in its head

Women have more pain receptors than men


For a thing to be considered living, it must possess all the basic characteristics of life. These include:

  1. Movement

  2. Respiration

  3. Nutrition

  4. Irritability or Sensitivity

  5. Growth

  6. Excretion

  7. Reproduction

  8. Death

  9. Adaptation

  10. Competition

Please read the explanations on all the basic characteristics of life here

During strenuous exercises like sprinting or running, your body may actually work in the shortage of oxygen. During this time, your body owes oxygen (called oxygen debt) and it must be replenished or repayed after the exercise is stopped. This is why you breathe excess of oxygen after you stopped the exercise.

This is the concept of anaerobic respiration

Food Chain - Len Academy

A food chain is a diagram that shows the relationship between plants and animals within a habitat on the basis of how they rely on each other for food.

Note: Habitat is a place where an organism live. It is of three types:

  • Terrestrial (Land)
  • Aquatic (Water)
  • Arboreal (Treetops)

You can read on food chain here

The term Biology originated from two Greek words. They are:

  • Bios: means life.

  • Logos: means knowledge or to study.

Biology can therefore be defined as the study of life

Anything that has life is generally considered as a living organism (or organism). All living organisms must be able to carry the following activities:

  1. Movement

  2. Respiration

  3. Nutrition

  4. Irritability or Sensitivity

  5. Growth

  6. Excretion

  7. Reproduction

  8. Death

  9. Adaptation

  10. Competition

The above listed points are often regarded as the basic characteristics of life. You can memorize them using the acronym -> MR. NIGER DAC.

You can read on the introduction to biology and the basic characteristics of life here

The gas used in the manufacture of food by plants is Carbon dioxide or Carbon(IV)oxide or CO2

Plants manufacture food through a process called photosynthesis.

Please read on photosynthesis here

It is noteworthy to state that plants are the only orgnisms that take away CO2 from the atmosphere