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Taking an example of a small pond, explain how the four components of an ecosystem function as a unit.

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Hint: The four components of an ecosystem which are biotic, abiotic, consumers and decomposers function as a unit when these four aspects are taken into consideration together. The four aspects are productivity, decomposition, energy flow and nutrient cycling. This includes productivity, decomposition, energy flow, nutrient cycling.

Complete answer:
In order to understand the aquatic ecosystem better, let us take an example of a small pond. A pond represents a shallow body of water.
It represents all the four basic components of the ecosystem in a more concise manner.
Thus, it is a simple example which helps us to grasp the concept of complex interactions that are taking place in an aquatic ecosystem.

Abiotic components of the environment including water, soil, light, temperature. These play an essential part.
Water is the abiotic component of the environment. It contains organic and inorganic substances in dissolved forms. Soil also contains rich deposits which got collected at the bottom of the pond.
Use of photosynthetically active radiation, particular range of temperature, and day-length are the contributing factors to the functioning of the pond.
The autographs which include some algae, phytoplankton and the floating, submerged and marginal plants can be seen at the pond’s edges.

Zooplanktons are consumers that swim freely in the water and are present at the bottom of the pond.
Fungi, bacteria, and flagellates are the decomposers that are also more abundant at the bottom of the lake.
Thus, all the functions of the ecosystems are being performed in the way that helps to convert inorganic material into organic material.

Autotrophs use radiant energy from the sun. Heterotrophs consume autotrophs. Decomposition of dead matter is followed by mineralization.
Thus, energy is released back into the ecosystem for its reuse.
Hence, this process gets repeated over and over again and the cycle continues.
Energy flow is unidirectional towards the higher trophic level.
Some of the energy is lost in the form of heat in the environment.

Note: The trophic level of an organism is the place it takes in a food web.
A food chain is a leading of organisms that eat other organisms and which may in turn, be eaten themselves. The trophic level of an organism is the number of steps it is from the beginning of the food chain.
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