An ecosystem is a community of animals, plants and microbes that sustain themselves in the same area or environment by performing the activities of living, feeding, reproducing and interacting. It is a relationship that exists between all the components of an environment. It includes plants, animals, fish and micro -organisms, including soil, water and people.
Role of Plants in the Ecosystem
Organisms are grouped into producers or consumers. Ecosystems study the flow of energy through it. Energy from sun usually enters the ecosystem through the plants or producers. Producers convert energy from the environment into sugar or glucose.
Plants are the most important producers; plants use energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into glucose (or other sugars). Algae and cyanobacteria are producers, like plants that produce food through photosynthesis.
Bacteria living around deep-sea vents are the other producers. These bacteria use the energy from chemicals from the Earth’s interior to make sugars. Another word for producers is autotrophs.
Role of Animals in the Ecosystem
Every little animal within the ecosystem has a vital role in the well-being of the planet. If one species is rendered extinct due to some imbalance, it can have significant cascading effects throughout the rest of the chain. For example even a small bee is in fact a crucial worker in the factory of nature.
Plants, flowers and grasses do not bloom without their pollen carrying role . Even man’s ability to grow certain crops is affected by the presence or absence of bees in certain cases. When the numbers of bees become low, people rent out hives and install them on sites to aid in pollination.
Role of Predators in Ecosystem
Another important part of the chain are predators. Carnivores are usually seen as a threat and usually hunted for safety or even sport. However, we notice that when their numbers are reduced, the populations of deer, rabbits and other fast reproducing species quickly gets too large in numbers causing problems.
Predators are important to ecosystem since they help in keeping other animal populations in check. Some animals work in balance with one another in the quest for survival. When one of the pair is taken to extinction or their numbers get too low, the other animal population suffers.
The Balancing Act
Each animal plays a role to help keep the balance in nature. Animals that feed primarily on plants bring about a balance in the plant world. Certain plant species that can be harmful to the growth of other organism may be the favorite food of a particular animal.
If the plant is left to grow unchecked, it could spread and this could bring about a damage to the ecosystem. Birds, like turkey vultures, are often despised and hated.
But, we should remember that they help to remove the bodies and carcasses of other animals that have died. This helps in keeping the natural habitat healthy. Even if one species of animals around us today becomes extinct, we can end up with a serious imbalance in nature.