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Interactions in an Ecosystem

Organisms that rely on other organisms for the energy are considered heterotrophs.
However, plants or producers rely on the sun for energy and are considered autotrophs.
Inside the cells of plants, chloroplasts convert sunlight into glucose in a process called photosynthesis. In many ecosystems, the greatest amount of energy is found in the level containing producers. Examples of producers include any type of plants like oak trees, tulips, cacti, all types of grass and even weeds.

Symbiosis describes a close, long term interaction between two or more different species in
There are at least three types of symbiotic relationships found in ecosystems, mutualism,commensalism and parasitism.

  • Mutualism is when both organisms benefit from each other.
  • Commensalism is when one organism benefits and the other is neither helped nor harmed.
  • Parasitism is when one organism benefits and the other is harmed. 

Let's look at some examples of mutualism. Each one of us has a personalized collection of bacteria called a microbiome living within u.s This microbiome of bacteria break down carbohydrates and toxins and help us absorb fatty acids. These microbes also protect the cells in the intestines from invading pathogens. In return, the bacteria get a nice place to live and
food to eat from us. Both the bacteria and humans benefit.

Termites are nature's recyclers and they break down the cellulose of trees and decaying wood.
However, termites have a problem. Termites cannot digest the cellulose found in the wood. 
They depend on one-celled protozoa to aid them with digestion. These protozoa live in the stomach's of the termites and help with digestion. The termites get food to eat and a
place to live. It is a win-win for termite and protozoa.

Lichen is actually a mutualistic relationship between cyanobacteria and fungi.

Commensalism occurs when one organism benefits and the other organism in the symbiotic relationship is neither helped nor harmed.
Hermit crabs live in the shells of once abandoned snails. This relationship helps the hermit crab
Because the shell provides protection, but the snails are not impacted at all.

Squirrels will make nests and stay in trees for protection yet the tree is neither helped nor harm. next you have

Tiny little mites will hitch a ride on flies. The mites are equipped with some type of method to grip onto the insect and they get transported around by the flies. In fact, phoresis is a non-permanent interaction in which one organism attaches itself to another for the sole purpose of transportation.
The mite receives transportation but the fly is neither helped nor harmed.

Parasitism is a symbiotic relationship in which one organism benefits and the other is harmed. 

Lampreys are strange-looking primitive fish that have a very limited digestive system. These fish will attach and feed on the body of other fish with more advanced digestive systems and many times it will lead to the death of the host. The host is the organism that the parasite will live in or on and causes harm to.

Cuckoo which is a bird lays its eggs in a Warbler's nest. The Cuckoos young will knock the Warblers eggs out of the nest and then when the Cuckoo’s eggs hatch the Warbler will raise the Cuckoo's young. The Cuckoo benefits by having the female Warbler raise her young and the offspring of the Warbler is destroyed.

A tapeworm can attach to the inside of your intestines and live off of your food for a very long time. Some tapeworms have been up to 80 feet long and live off the host for more than 20 years.


Interactions in an Ecosystem

An ecosystem is a biological community and the interactions of biotic factors with the abiotic factors in the environment. Biotic factors include the individual species of living organisms like dogs, cats, lizards, or plants. In an ecosystem, the different species create a community that interacts with each other. Abiotic factors are nonliving factors like air, water, temperature, rocks, and minerals. 

Within this ecosystem, you have several different types of interactions. These include competition, predator and prey, and symbiosis.

All organisms need nutrients, energy and space to grow, Often the resources these organisms need are in short supply. The carrying capacity of an environment is the maximum population size of a species that an environment can support. This scarcity of limited resources leads to competition between different species, but also between organisms of the same species.

Intraspecific competition is competition within the same species. These owls compete against one another for rats, moles, and shrews
These male zebras compete with one another for a female mate
These pine trees that grow close to one another compete for sunlight and nutrients in the soil
These water buffalo compete against one another for water, food, and mates
These hippos are also competing for food, water, or a mate

Interspecific competition is competition between different species.
Trees in a rainforest compete for sunlight and nutrients in the soil
Pause to show vines
Bears and wolves compete for the same food
Lions and hyenas They both like to try to take each other's food

The predator-prey relationship has been going on for a long time.
The predator hunts the prey and the prey tries to outsmart the predator.
Bears are the predator and salmon are the prey
The Venus flytrap is the predator and insects like flies are the prey
Lynx is the predator and snowshoe hare is the prey.