What are ecosystems?

An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows.

Energy enters the system through photosynthesis and is incorporated into plant tissue. By feeding on plants and on one another, animals play an important role in the movement of matter and energy through the system.

What are the different types of ecosystems?

An ecosystem can be as small as an oasis in a desert, or as big as an ocean, spanning thousands of miles. There are four types of ecosystems:

  • Terrestrial Ecosystem
  • Aquatic Ecosystem
  • Mixed Ecosystem
  • Artificial Ecosystem

Within each type, there are even more types. Within the terrestrial ecosystem, you’ll find forests, grasslands, tundras, and deserts. Within the aquatic ecosystem there are freshwater and marine ecosystems. The mixed ecosystem typically falls between two different terrains. And artificial is just that, unnatural.

Watch the video below to learn about different types of ecosystems.

As you watch the video, note the answers to the following questions in your interactive notebook:

  1. Why is it important to learn about (or study) ecosystems?
  2. Who established the term “ecosystem” and when?
  3. What were the different types of ecosystems discussed (and their definitions)?