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  • Ecology is the analysis and study of interactions among organisms and their environment.
  • Ecology consists of biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) components.
  • Abiotic components include sunlight, precipitation, wind, topography, humidity, soil, temperature, etc.
  • Biotic components refer to living organisms. Biotic components can be classified as:


  • Autotrophs are called so because they produce their own food.            ECOLOGY-BASIC
  • They have the ability to synthesise carbohydrates from water and carbon dioxide in the presence of sunlight, for example, green plants, algae, etc.


  • Heterotrophs do not produce their own food. They consume either plants (primary consumers) or animals (secondary consumers).
  • Heterotrophs are further of two types—Phagotrophs and Osmotrophs.


  • Phagotrophs digest their food either derived by plants or animals or both. Phagotrophs are also called macroconsumers.
  • Phagotrophs are further classified into three types:
  1. Herbivores: Animals that feed on plants.
  2. Carnivores: Animals that feed on other animals.
  3. Omnivores: Animals that feed on both plants and animals.


  • Osmotrophs are those organisms which convert their food into simple substances and absorb those substances. Osmotrophs are also called microconsumers.
  • Osmotrophs include bacteria and fungi which decompose organic matter to gain nutrients from dead organic substances.
  • The decomposed organic waste is called detritus.                ECOLOGY-BASIC
  • Earthworm and certain soil organisms are detritus feeders. These organisms which feed on detritus are called detritivores.

Heterotrophs can also be classified into biophages and saprophytes.

  1. Biophages: Organisms that derive nourishment for its existence from other living organisms.
  2. Saprophytes: Organisms that derive nourishment by feeding on dead organisms.                ECOLOGY-BASIC


Environment & Biodiversity

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