The complex system in which interaction between the different components of environment occurs is referred to an ecosystem. The word ecosystem was introduced by A.G. Tansley in 1935. Son other terms are also used for ecosystem, which include biocoenosis by Karl Mobiuss in 1877, holocoen by Friederich, in 1930, biosystem by Thienemann in 1939 etc.
The word ‘eco’ means environment. The theme of ecosystem concept is that at any place where organism live, there is a continuous interaction between the living and non-living components i.e., plants animals and their environment.
Function of Ecosystem: The function of an ecosystem involves the volume and the rate at which various materials circulate and the rate at which energy flows through it. The study also includes the processes by which living organisms change the abiotic environment the processes by which non-living environment affect living organisms and the events by which population levels of organisms are regulated.
The function of ecosystem describes the flow of energy and the cycling of nutrients. This includes the several aspects of an ecosystem.
(i) Energy flow
(ii) Food chain
(iii) Diversity pattern in time and spax
(iv) Nutrient cycles
(v) Development and evolution
The solar energy is converted into chemical energy through photosynthesis by plants. These green plants are grazed by heterotrophs. This shows not only the chemical energy in the form of carbohydrates, fats and proteins but a host of other nutrients are transferred into herbivores. Such a process continues upto the decomposer level through the carnivores.
The energy trapped by green plants when transferred from one food level or trophic level to another depicts the loss of energy at each transfer along the chain.