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Ecosystem Definition

An ecosystem is a community of interacting organisms and their environment. For example, a forest with animals, plants, and a river.

View Lesson on Ecosystems
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Fun Facts

  • Rainforest ecosystems only cover about 6% of the planet but produce about 40% of the oxygen we breathe.
  • A small puddle with plants, bacteria, and water can be its own ecosystem.
  • Some trees respond to seasonal changes in their ecosystem by losing leaves to conserve resources during the winter.

Why Do We Need To Know About Ecosystem

Studying ecosystems helps you see how all forms of life are connected and why it’s important to keep a wide variety of living things. Plants are a key part of ecosystems. They give food and shelter to different animals, showing why plant science is important for protecting nature.

When you learn about ecosystems, you also learn how humans can affect nature in good and bad ways. This includes controlling harmful species, fishing in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, and farming without causing pollution. Jobs in environmental science, studying the ocean, and farming science are important for keeping ecosystems healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How big is an ecosystem?
Ecosystems range from the size of your backyard to an entire ocean.
How do the components of Dr. Jeff’s ecosphere interact to help each other survive?
In the enclosed ecosphere, the algae uses sunlight to grow. The algae is then eaten by the shrimp. The shrimp’s poop provides food for bacteria which convert the poop to nutrients that help the algae to grow. It’s a cycle!
Why would the shrimp in the ecosphere die if there was no sunlight?
The shrimp in the ecosphere depend on the algae for food. If there was no sunlight, the algae would die, which leaves no food for the shrimp.
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