- 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:
PRIMARY PRODUCERS (AUTOTROPHS)
- 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:
- Herbivores: Animals that feed on plants.
- Carnivores: Animals that feed on other animals.
- 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.
- Biophages: Organisms that derive nourishment for its existence from other living organisms.
- Saprophytes: Organisms that derive nourishment by feeding on dead organisms. ECOLOGY-BASIC