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Overview

ecosystem

An assemblage of interacting populations of species grouped into communities in a local environment. Ecosystems vary greatly in size (e.g., a small pool vs. a giant reef). See biome.

ecosystem

ecosystem   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Agriculture and Land Management

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2019
Subject:
Social sciences
Length:
37 words

... A community of organisms or the biotic component, and their physical environment or abiotic component, interacting as an ecological unit. Different ecosystems are united to form the biosphere . See also ecology ; National Ecosystem Assessment...

ecosystem

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A Dictionary of Genetics (8 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2014
Subject:
Science and technology, Life Sciences
Length:
30 words

... an assemblage of interacting populations of species grouped into communities in a local environment. Ecosystems vary greatly in size (e.g., a small pool vs . a giant reef). See biome...

ecosystem

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A Dictionary of Environment and Conservation (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Science and technology, Environmental Science, Earth Sciences and Geography
Length:
146 words
Illustration(s):
1

...an ecosystem—organic and inorganic, biome and habitat—may be regarded as interacting factors which, in a mature ecosystem, are in approximate equilibrium; it is through their interactions that the whole system is maintained’. Many ecologists regard ecosystems as the basic units of ecology because they are complex, interdependent, and highly organized, and because they are the basic building blocks of the biosphere . ...

ecosystem

ecosystem   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Biology (8 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2019
Subject:
Science and technology, Life Sciences
Length:
134 words

...ecosystem A biological community and the physical environment associated with it. Ecosystems seldom have discrete boundaries, and they can range in scale from a rotting log to an entire forest. Nutrients pass between the different organisms in an ecosystem in definite pathways; for example, nutrients in the soil are taken up by plants, which are then eaten by herbivores, which in turn may be eaten by carnivores ( see food chain ). Organisms are classified on the basis of their position in an ecosystem into various trophic levels . Nutrients and energy...

ecosystem

ecosystem   Reference library

Dictionary of the Social Sciences

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2002
Subject:
Social sciences
Length:
62 words

... Describes the complex relations among all organisms in a given area as a single biological system linked by flows of energy (such as the food chain). Ecosystems are the basic subject of ecology and play an important role in human geography, particularly that of the Berkeley school of cultural geography , as well as in recent research on changes in the...

ecosystem

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A Dictionary of Geography (6 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2023

... A community of plants and animals within a particular physical environment that is linked by a flow of materials through the non-living (abiotic) as well as the living (biotic) sections of the system. Ecosystem engineers are organisms that, directly or indirectly, create, maintain, or modify habitats and...

ecosystem

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A Dictionary of Cultural Anthropology

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018
Subject:
Social sciences, Anthropology
Length:
100 words

...ecosystem A theoretically bounded system in which living organisms and environmental components (air, water, soils, nutrients, etc.) interact. Recognizing that human populations constitute important actors in ecological systems, a number of ecological anthropologists utilized the ecosystem concept, most famously Roy Rappaport . Anthropological debate over its use centred on issues like the methodological problems of applying systems ecology to human behaviours; the inadequacy of systems ecology to explain evolutionary and temporal dynamics; and the...

ecosystem

ecosystem   Reference library

Oxford Dictionary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
Science and technology, Life Sciences
Length:
26 words

... a unit of the environment together with the organisms it contains. There is a constant interchange between living organisms and their chemical and physical...

ecosystem

ecosystem n.   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Psychology (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

... n. A relatively self-contained biological community and its physical environment considered as a functioning unit. See also ecology ( 1 ) . Compare habitat . [From Greek oikos a house + English system...

ecosystem

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A Dictionary of Public Health (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

...ecosystem An identifiable entity in which the resident living organisms interact with one another and with their inanimate environment in such a manner that the flow of energy among all remains approximately constant and in balance. Ecosystems range in size from the entire biosphere to a drop of pond water, comprising all the living organisms and nonliving components that interact in the system. The term was coined by the British biologist A. G. Tansley ( 1871–1955 ). ...

ecosystem

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World Encyclopedia

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004
Subject:
Encyclopedias
Length:
73 words

... Interacting community of organisms and their physical environment . It includes all organic life in an area with the soil, water and other inorganic components, and the ecological interactions that take place within and between the organic and inorganic. It is a complete ecosystem only if it can incorporate energy into organic compounds and pass it from organism to organism, and if it recycles elements for re-use. Examples include meadows, woodland and...

ecosystem

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A Dictionary of Human Geography

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Social sciences, Human Geography
Length:
269 words

...and patterning of ecosystems at various geographical scales, and the effects of human disturbance on them (including the introduction of invasive species). However, a number of ecologists began to study ‘erratic’ ecosystem behaviour during the 1970s and concluded that it was normal not aberrant. The subsequent approach to ecosystems has emphasized disequilibrium, thresholds, and punctuated development. This has important implications for the practice of environmental conservation because it is no longer so clear what elements of any ecosystem need to be...

ecosystem

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A Dictionary of Geology and Earth Sciences (5 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2020

... ( ecological system ) Term first used by A. G. Tansley ( 1935 ) to describe the interdependence of species in the living world (the biome or community ) with one another and with their non-living (abiotic) environment. Fundamental concepts include the flow of energy via food-chains and food-webs, and the cycling of nutrients biogeochemically ( see biogeochemical cycle ). Ecosystem principles can be applied at all scales—thus principles that apply to an ephemeral pond, for example, apply equally to a lake, an ocean, or the whole planet. In...

ecosystem

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A Dictionary of Plant Sciences (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2019
Subject:
Science and technology, Life Sciences
Length:
105 words

... ( ecological system ) A term first used by A. G. Tansley (in 1935 ) to describe the interdependence of species in the living world (the biome or community ) with one another and with their non-living ( abiotic ) environment. Fundamental concepts include the flow of energy via food-chains and food-webs, and the cycling of nutrients biogeochemically . Ecosystem principles can be applied at all scales; thus, principles that apply to an ephemeral pond, for example, apply equally to a lake, an ocean, or the whole planet. In Russian and central...

ecosystem

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A Dictionary of Zoology (5 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2020
Subject:
Science and technology, Life Sciences
Length:
96 words

... ( ecological system ) A term first used by A. G. Tansley ( 1871–1955 ) in 1935 to describe a natural unit that consists of living and non-living parts, interacting to form a stable system. Fundamental concepts include the flow of energy via food chains and food webs, and the cycling of nutrients biogeochemically. Ecosystem principles can be applied at all scales—thus principles that apply e.g. to an ephemeral pond apply equally to a lake, an ocean, or the whole planet. In Russian and central European literature ‘ biogeocoenosis ’ describes the...

ecosystem

ecosystem ([Th])   Quick reference

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2021
Subject:
Archaeology
Length:
48 words

... [Th] The set of relationships between living and non‐living things in nature, or a specific natural community, including the interactions of climate, soils, rivers, and all forms of animals and plants. An environmental system maintained by the regulation of vertical food chains and patterns of energy...

ecosystem

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A Dictionary of Ecology (5 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

... ( ecological system ) A term first used in 1930 by Arthur Roy Clapham ( 1904–90 ) and popularized by A. G. Tansley in 1935 to describe a discrete unit that consists of living and non-living parts, interacting to form a stable system. Fundamental concepts include the flow of energy via food-chains and food-webs, and the cycling of nutrients biogeochemically ( see biogeochemical cycle ). Ecosystem principles can be applied at all scales. Principles that apply to an ephemeral pond, for example, apply equally to a lake, an ocean, or the whole...

Ecosystem

Ecosystem   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Epidemiology (6 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016

...Ecosystem Plant and animal life systems considered in relation to the environmental factors and processes that influence them. The fundamental unit in ecology, comprising the living organisms and the nonliving elements that interact in a defined region. This region may be any size, from a drop of pond water to the entire biosphere. A comparatively stable and enduring arrangement of a population with mutual dependencies, including all living and nonliving (e.g., water, climate) elements within an area. The population operates collectively as a unit in ways...

ecosystem

ecosystem   Reference library

Gisèle LaPointe and Denis Roy

The Oxford Companion to Cheese

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2017
Subject:
Society and culture, Cookery, Food, and Drink
Length:
1,163 words

...An ecosystem consists of all the living things (plants, animals, and microorganisms) in a given area, interacting with each other, and with their non-living environment (weather, earth, sun, soil, climate, atmosphere). Ecosystems work by exchanging energy and matter between biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) components that impact their distribution and abundance. Each organism has its own niche, or role to play. See ecological niche . The biotic component of the cheese ecosystem is called the microbiota, consisting of introduced starter and...

ecosystem

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A Dictionary of Animal Behaviour (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2014
Subject:
Science and technology, Life Sciences
Length:
16 words

... The functional system that includes the organisms of a natural * community , together with their...

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