What Is An Ecosystem?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,286
    Science expert Emerald Robinson explains what an ecosystem is and why they are important.

    Emerald Robinson: Hi I'm Emerald Robinson and in this What is? video we're going to investigate Earth's ecosystems. An ecosystem is a community of living things interacting with the non-living parts of their environment.

    There are two primary parts of an ecosystem. The biotic part is made up of all the living things like plants and animals fungi and bacteria and viruses. The abiotic part is made of non-living things like rocks and minerals, water and energy. Ecosystems can be almost any size. While most of us think of communicates like a coral reef or a forest, an ecosystem can be a small pond or even the area beneath a large rock.

    Ecosystems need energy, in most cases this energy comes from sunlight. Producers like plants take light energy and convert it into usable sugar energy through photosynthesis. As animals consume the energy from plants they are eaten my other animals and ultimately decompose back into the soil. The energy moves through the ecosystem via a food web.

    Two of the most important concepts in the study of ecosystems are niche and habitat. A habitat is a place where an organism lives. Organisms must get nutrition, shelter, water and the other things they need to survive from their habitat.

    Niche is an organism special role in the ecosystem. One how something eats, how it behaves, where it lives, all of these things define an organisms niche. Two organisms cannot occupy the same niche for very long. Eventually one will occupy the other for food and other resources forcing the other to move or to go extinct.

    Many of the Earth's ecosystems are threaten due to climate change pollution and the human destruction of habitats. Scientist called ecologists study and monitor the health of ecosystems and continually work to discover new ways to protect these precious organisms and environments.