What is an ecosystem?
- An ecosystem consists of a community of organisms together with their physical environment.
- Ecosystems can be of different sizes and can be marine, aquatic, or terrestrial. Broad categories of terrestrial ecosystems are called biomes.
- In ecosystems, both matter and energy are conserved. Energy flows through the system—usually from light to heat—while matter is recycled.
- Ecosystems with higher biodiversity tend to be more stable with greater resistance and resilience in the face of disturbances, disruptive events.
What are ecosystems like?
Energy and matter in ecosystems
- Matter is recycled; the same atoms are reused over and over.
- Energy flows through the ecosystem, usually entering as light and exiting as heat.