There are three main categories for ecosystems. The three categories are:
- Terrestrial Ecosystems // Ecosystems found only on landforms. Tundra, taiga, temperate deciduous forest, tropical rain forest, grassland and desert are the six primary terrestrial ecosystems.
- Marine Ecosystems // Ecosystems made up of salt water. Marine ecosystems include oceans, coral reefs, estuaries and coastal areas such as lagoons and kelp beds.
- Freshwater Ecosystems // Ecosystems in freshwater (i.e. lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, reservoirs)
This is a tundra, which is an example of a terrestrial ecosystem. Terrestrial ecosystems are only found on land.
This it part of the Great Barrier Reef. It is a marine ecosystem located in the Pacific Ocean of the coast of Australia.
This is a pond, which is a freshwater ecosystem.
Levels In An Ecosystem
There are four levels of an ecosystem. They are organism, population, community, and ecosystem.
- Organism is the simplest level of organization in an ecosystem. An organism is any living thing. Each organism is a member of a species. A species is a group of organisms that share most characteristics and can breed with one another.
- The second level of organization is population. All the organisms of a species that live in the same place at the same time make up a population. A example of a population is all of the frogs in a pond.
- A community is made up of all the populations that live in an area at the same time. An example of a pong community would include frogs, fish, turtles, snakes, etc. It would also include all the grasses and other plants.
- The last level of organization is ecosystem. An ecosystem is made up of one or more communities and their nonliving environment. The parts of any ecosystem can be classified as either biotic factors or abiotic factors.
Habitats and Niches
An organisms habitat is where it lives. A sea star finds food and comfortable temperatures in shallow ocean water, so that would be it's habitat. How an organism acts within its ecosystem is called its niche and can be thought of as the organism's role. For example, the niche of a bee is pollinating flowers and other plants.