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20.6: Ecosystem

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    Learning Objective

    Describe the difference between a community and an ecosystem

    Communities are composed of living organisms and their interactions with one another and include biotic (living) components. Ecosystems are communities that include the abiotic (non-living) components of the environment as well (Video \(\PageIndex{1}\)). These abiotic factors include temperature, amount of rainfall, sunlight, organic material and mineral nutrients, topography and attitude. Ecosystems can be small, such as the tide pools found near the rocky shores of many oceans, or large, such as the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil (Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\)). Energy flow and nutrient cycling are some of topics central to the study of ecosystems.

    A: Rocky tide pool with seaweed and snails. B: Amazon Rainforest landscape
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): (a) tidal pool ecosystem in Matinicus Island in Maine is a small ecosystem, while the (b) Amazon Rainforest in Brazil is a large ecosystem. (credit a: modification of work by “takomabibelot”/Flickr; credit b: modification of work by Ivan Mlinaric)


    This page titled 20.6: Ecosystem is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Melissa Ha, Maria Morrow, & Kammy Algiers (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .

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