Ecosystem: Definition, Components and Types

sinaumedia Literacy – The branch of biology that studies the interactions between living things and their environment is called Ecology. Ecology comes from the Greek, namely oikos which means home and residence and logos which means science. Therefore, it can be concluded that the ecosystem is a functional unit between living things and their environment in which there are very close relationships and interactions and influence each other. Let’s learn more about Ecosystems, see a more complete explanation below, Sinaumed’s!



An ecosystem is an ecological system formed by an inseparable reciprocal relationship between living things and their environment. Ecosystem as a complete and comprehensive unitary arrangement between all elements of the environment and influence each other. Ecosystem as a combination of each biosystem unit. Involves reciprocal interactions between organisms and the physical environment so that the flow of energy leads to a certain biotic structure and material cycles occur between organisms and inorganics. The sun as the source of all energy, in the ecosystem, organisms in the community develop together with the physical environment as a system. The organism then adapts again to the physical environment, otherwise the organism also influences the physical environment for its survival.

In existing life, there will be no interaction with the environment that supports balance in life. In the book Principles of Ecology for Ecosystems and the Environment and Their Preservation, the definitions, processes, elements of ecosystems, and much more are discussed.



An ecosystem is an ecological system formed by an inseparable reciprocal relationship between living things and their environment. The following are some definitions of ecosystems according to Sinaumed’s experts:

A.G. TANSLEY (1935)

Ecosystem as an ecological unit in which there is structure and function. The structure in the ecosystem is related to species diversity or in English is species diversity. In an ecosystem that has a complex structure, there will be a fairly high diversity of species. While the intended function is related to the cycle of matter and the flow of energy through ecosystem components.


Ecosystem according to Woodbury is a complex unitary order in an area that contains habitats, plants and animals. This condition is then considered as a whole unit, so that everything can be part of the material cycle chain and energy flow.

ODUM (1993)

A set of basic functional units in an ecology that includes organisms and the environment. The environment in this case is the biotic and abiotic environment, where both of them will then influence each other. In addition, in an ecosystem there are also components that completely have complete ecological niches and complete ecological processes, so that in these units material cycles and energy flows occur based on ecosystem conditions.


The ecosystem as a unitary structure is a very complete and comprehensive way between all elements of the environment to influence each other. These environmental elements can also be called biotic and abiotic elements, both in living things and inanimate objects in them. Everything is arranged into a single unit in an ecosystem, each of which cannot stand alone, but must interact with each other, influence each other, so that they cannot be separated.



Biotic, means “Life”. The biotic components in an ecosystem are the living things themselves, because an ecosystem will never form without living things in it. The existence of living things then forms a food chain in an ecosystem. Some examples of biotic components in our environment include:

  • Autotrophic or Producer organisms are referred to as producers because these organisms are able to make their own food, they even make food for other organisms living in the ecosystem. Producers will then make food by absorbing compounds and inorganic substances which will be converted into organic compounds through a process known as photosynthesis.
  • Heterotrophic organisms (Consumers) have different properties from the first organism. These heterotrophic organisms obtain food from autotrophic organisms or producers and will eat other heterotrophic organisms. So it can be concluded that heterotrophic organisms are organisms that use organic materials from other organisms that are used as a source of energy and food. For example, humans and animals. The three are further divided based on their food into herbivores, carnivores and omnivores
  • Decomposers or Decomposers, are the last group of biotic components in an ecosystem. These decomposers or decomposers are organisms that decompose the remains of living things (heterotrophs or autotrophs) that have died. In other words, decomposers are organisms that work to change organic matter from dead organisms into inorganic compounds through a process called decomposition. Decomposers or decomposers will occupy important positions in a food chain on earth, because their final role is the key to the sustainability of the food chain. Some examples of decomposers or decomposers around the environment where we live are algae, fungi, bacteria, worms, and so on.
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The second component in the ecosystem is the abiotic component or non-living component. In other words, the abiotic component is a component that consists of things that are not living things but are around us, and influence our survival. Several types of abiotic components, namely temperature, sunlight, water, wind, air, humidity, and many other inanimate objects that play a role in the ecosystem. Here are some of them:

  • Temperature: A biological process that is affected by changes in temperature, for example mammals & birds as living things that can regulate their own body temperature.
  • Water: An availability of water can affect the distribution of an organism. For example, organisms can adapt and survive by making use of the availability of water in the desert.
  • Salt: Concentration of salt will affect the water balance in organisms through Osmosis. For example, some terrestrial organisms can adapt to their environment and their salt content is quite high.
  • Sunlight: Intensity & Quality of Sunlight will affect the process of photosynthesis, because water is able to absorb light so that the process of photosynthesis can occur around the surface of the sun.



Aquatic ecosystems are ecosystems in which the abiotic component mostly consists of water. Living things (biotic components) in aquatic ecosystems are further divided into:

  • Freshwater ecosystems: The characteristics of freshwater ecosystems include subtle variations in temperature, less light penetration, and are affected by climate and weather. The most common types of plants are algae, while the other are seed plants. Almost all animal phyla are found in fresh water. Organisms that live in fresh water have generally adapted.
  • Seawater Ecosystems: Marine (oceanic) habitats are characterized by high salinity (salt content) with CI- ions reaching 55%, especially in tropical marine areas, due to high temperatures and large evaporation. In the tropics, the sea temperature is around 25 °C. The temperature difference at the top and bottom is high, so there is a boundary between the hot water layer at the top and the cold water at the bottom which is called the thermocline area.
  • Estuary Ecosystem: Estuaries (estuaries) are places where rivers and seas join. Estuaries are often enclosed by extensive intertidal mudflats or salt marshes. Estuarine ecosystems have high productivity and are rich in nutrients. The plant communities that live in estuaries include salt marsh grasses, algae, and phytoplankton. Its animal community includes various worms, shellfish, crabs, and fish
  • Beach Ecosystem: It is so named because the plant Ipomoea pes caprae grows on the sand dune which is resistant to waves and wind. The plants that live in this ecosystem are spreading and have thick leaves.
  • River Ecosystem: A river is a body of water that flows in one direction. The river water is cold and clear and contains little sediment and food. The water flow and waves constantly provide oxygen to the water. The water temperature varies with altitude and latitude. The river ecosystem is inhabited by animals such as cat fish, carp, turtles, snakes and crocodiles.
  • Coral reef ecosystem: Consists of corals that are near the shore. The efficiency of this ecosystem is very high. The animals that live in coral eat microscopic organisms and other organic remains. Various invertebrates, micro-organisms and fish live among corals and algae. Herbivores such as snails, sea urchins, fish, become prey for octopuses, starfish and carnivorous fish. The presence of coral reefs near the beach makes the beach has white sand.
  • Deep sea ecosystems: More than 6,000m deep. Usually there are sea catfish and sea fish that can emit light. As producers there are bacteria that are symbiotic with certain corals.
  • Seagrass ecosystem: Seagrasses or seagrasses are the only group of flowering plants that live in the marine environment. These plants live in shallow coastal waters. Like grasses on land, they have erect leafy shoots and creeping stalks that are effective for reproduction. Unlike other marine plants (algae and seaweed), seagrasses flower, bear fruit and produce seeds. They also have roots and an internal system for transporting gases and nutrients. As a biological resource, seagrass is widely used for various purposes.

In the marine ecosystem, there are various living things in it. As an example, we can see in the book Exploring Coral Reefs-Jailolo Bay, Mouth of the Halmahera Island Marine Ecosystem.



Zoning in terrestrial ecosystems is determined by temperature and rainfall. Terrestrial ecosystems can be controlled by climate and disturbance. Climate is very important to determine why a terrestrial ecosystem is in a certain place. Ecosystem patterns can change due to disturbances such as lightning, fire, or human activities. Here are some of them terrestrial ecosystems:

  • Tundra: Found in the northern hemisphere in the northern polar circle and found on high mountain peaks. Plant growth in this area is only 60 days. Examples of dominant plants are sphagnum, lichen, annual seed plants, shrubs, and reed grass. In general, the plant is able to adapt to cold conditions.
  • Karst (limestone / cave): Derived from the name of the area of ​​limestone in the territory of Yugoslavia. Karst areas in Indonesia on average have almost the same characteristics, namely, the soil is less fertile for agriculture, sensitive to erosion, prone to landslides, is vulnerable with low aeration pores, slow permeability forces and is dominated by micro pores. . Karst ecosystems experience their own uniqueness, with a variety of biotic aspects that are not found in other ecosystems.
  • Tropical rainforest: Found in tropical and subtropical regions. Its characteristics are 200-225 cm of rainfall per year. There are relatively many tree species, the types differ from one another depending on their geographical location. The main tree height is between 20-40 m, the tree branches are tall and have dense leaves to form a canopy. In wet forests there is a change in microclimate, namely the climate that is directly around the organisms. The hood area gets enough sunlight, temperature variations and humidity are high, the temperature throughout the day is around 25 °C. In tropical rain forests there are often typical plants, namely lianas (rattan) and orchids as epiphytes. Animals include monkeys, birds, rhinos, wild boars, tigers, owls, and many more that you can learn about in the Animal Habitats: Tropical Rainforest Series.
  • Deciduous forest: Found in temperate climates that have four seasons, the characteristics of which are evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year. Few tree species (10 to 20) and not too dense. Animals found in deciduous forests include deer, bears, foxes, squirrels, woodpeckers, and raccoons (a fellow mongoose).
  • Taiga: Found in the northern hemisphere and mountainous tropics, characterized by low temperatures in winter. Usually taiga is a forest composed of one species such as conifers, pines, and the like. Shrubs and wet vegetation are scarce, and the animals include moose, black bears, ajag, and birds that migrate south in the fall.
  • Savanna: The savanna of the tropics is found in areas with 40 – 60 inches of rain per year, but temperature and humidity still depend on the seasons. The world’s largest savanna is in Africa. Animals that live in the savanna include insects and mammals such as zebras, lions and hyenas
  • Grasslands: Found in areas that extend from the tropics to the subtropics. The characteristics of grasslands are rainfall of approximately 25-30 cm per year, irregular rainfall, high porosity (water infiltration), and fast drainage (water flow). The existing vegetation consists of herbs and grasses, both of which depend on moisture. The animals include: bison, zebras, lions, wild dogs, wolves, elephants, giraffes, kangaroos, insects, rats and snakes which Sinaumed’s can learn about in Toddlers Want to Know: Grassland Animals.
  • Desert: Found in tropical areas bordering grasslands. The characteristics of the desert ecosystem are arid and low rainfall (25 cm/year). The temperature difference between day and night is huge. Annual plants found in the desert are small. In addition, in the desert there are also perennial plants with leaves such as thorns, for example, cacti, or those that are leafless and have long roots and have tissues to store water. Animals that live in the desert include rodents, ants, snakes, lizards, frogs, scorpions, and several other nocturnal animals that Sinaumed’s can see through the book Knowing Animal Habitat Series: Deserts.
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Rice fields are one example of an artificial ecosystem. Artificial ecosystems are ecosystems created by humans to meet their needs. These artificial ecosystems then get energy subsidies from outside, plants or pets that are dominated by human influence, and have low diversity. Examples of artificial ecosystems include:

  • Dam
  • Production forest plantations such as teak and pine
  • Agroecosystem in the form of rainfed rice fields
  • Irrigated fields
  • Palm plantations
  • Settlement ecosystems such as cities and villages
  • Space ecosystem.

City ecosystems have a high metabolism so they need a lot of energy and have excessive expenses such as pollution and heat. The space ecosystem is not a closed system that can meet its own needs without depending on input from outside. All ecosystems and life have always depended on the earth.

That’s the Understanding of Ecosystems According to Experts, Components and Types! Hope this is useful Sinaumed’s, enjoy learning!