At the beginning of time, it was only animals and the environment. Various ecosystems gathering different types of animals gave shape to the flora and fauna on the earth. However, ever since humans began to interfere, things started deteriorating. Talking about the ecosystem today, do you know, what affects productivity of ecosystem? What is the productivity in ecosystems? What are the two main factors that affect primary productivity? Let’s start and explore the ecosystem by discussing different aspects of it.
1. What is the Productivity in Ecosystems?
The rate at which energy is added to the body of the organisms in the form of biomass in ecology is termed productivity in the ecosystem. Here biomass refers to the amount of matter that is stored in the bodies. Moreover, different trophic levels contain different types of energy. (See Which is not a Physical Factor in Ecosystem?)
2. What affects Productivity of Ecosystem?Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash
The productivity of the ecosystem is affected by a number of factors as mentioned in this list.
- Inputs from solar energy
- Availability of nutrients
- Levels of carbon dioxide
- Moisture levels
- Temperature levels
- Interactions in the community
3. What are Different Types of Productivity?
Based on what affects productivity of ecosystem and the type of ecosystem the productivity takes place in, it can be of two types. Primary productivity includes the productivity of autotrophs and secondary productivity consists of the productivity of heterotrophs. Further, I have mentioned a detailed explanation of these types. (See What are the Two Primary Sources of Energy that Power Living Systems?)
4. What is Primary Productivity?
The generation of biomass by the autotroph is termed primary productivity. Autotrophs are living organisms that can make their own food using water, sunlight, carbon dioxide, and other chemicals. Therefore, they have been also termed producers. Further these autotrophs can be chemoautotrophs or photoautotrophs.
- Chemoautotrophs: This process involves organisms like bacteria and archaea that can make their own food from different chemical processes and then drive their energy from it. However, they do not use photosynthesis for making food.
- Photoautotrophs: This category has living organisms that synthesize their food from the various inorganic elements in the presence of light which is the source of energy for them. Here primary autotrophs or photoautotrophs are plants that make food through photosynthesis and gain energy from it.
5. What are Two Types of Primary Productivity?
Since you know what affects productivity of ecosystem, you must read about the types of primary productivity. Based on the rate of production, primacy productivity can be of two types, namely net primary and gross primary activity. Here is the description of both.
Net Primary Productivity:
The energy produced by gross primary productivity is lost by some activities like metabolism, health loss, and respiration. The remaining energy after this loss is known as the net primary productivity. This energy is available to the primary consumers or the very next trophic level. Mostly this energy is used by plants and is stored in large quantities in plants which they use as and when required. To know the net primary productivity, you can use the following equation:
Net Primary Productivity = Gross Primary Productivity (GPP) – Energy lost
Gross Primary Productivity:
It is the rate at which the energy from the sun is collected by the primary producers through the process of photosynthesis. The amount of organic matter or biomass produced in this process is known as the gross primary productivity. The two factors on which gross domestic productivity depends are elements of photosynthesis and various environmental factors. Must see How is Photosynthesis Considered Endergonic?
6. What are the Two Main Factors that affect Primary Productivity?Photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash
Do factors affecting primary productivity include what affects productivity of ecosystem? Well yes, there are numerous factors influencing primary productivity; however, the two most influential factors are light and nutrients. The availability of light and the supply of nutrients are the major influencers of primary productivity.
- Light: The sun is the main source of light and energy for plants which helps them in carrying out the process of photosynthesis. Land receives a major amount of light whereas oceans do not get to enjoy all the light as penetration of light is most at the surface only. However, if there is no sufficient sunlight, the production process slows down.
- Water: This is another important ingredient for photosynthesis. It is essential in terrestrial production and its shortage may affect the primary production on land. Earth receives water in the form of rain and other forms of precipitation. An area of adequate water availability will lead to a large amount of primary production.
7. Which other Factors affect Primary Production?
Other than water and sunlight, there are other factors influencing primary production.
- Composition of species: The rate of primary production gets influenced by the type of species in the region. If there are more herbivores than carnivores, there will be more consumption than production. However, a low rate of herbivores leads to a high rate of primary production.
- Nutrients: The availability of nutrients and the capacity of plants to absorb them is also influencing factor in primary production. Good nutrient supply is present in the soil and water content of the plants. Poor soil quality will lead to lower primary productivity.
- Temperature: You must have read about this factor above in what affects productivity of ecosystem. Regulated temperature is an essential factor as it regulates precipitation. A heated temperature will lead to excess transpiration because these plants will lose excess water from their leaves than required.
- Algae: The primary production taking place inside the ocean is done by algae on a large scale. Sometimes single algae combine with other algae to form a large and complex structure like seaweed. Whereas sometimes, they are just floating freely in the water following the process of photosynthesis.
- Vascular Plants: Plants with well-developed root and shoot systems are known as vascular plants. They absorb nutrients and water from the soil with their roots, which are then transported to different parts of the plants. The food prepared through photosynthesis is transported to other parts of the plants through the vascular system. Therefore, these plants are considered an important factor in primary production.
8. What is Secondary Productivity?Photo by Dorothea OLDANI on Unsplash
The presence of heterotrophs affects secondary productivity. Organisms consuming plants or other animals and deriving energy from them are known as heterotrophs. Therefore, the energy is accumulated at the consumer level. Various organisms like animals, bacteria, fungi, and several others influence secondary production. (See What are Few Examples of Producers Consumers and Decomposers?)
9. How is Secondary Productivity different from Primary Productivity?
After learning about what affects productivity of ecosystem, take a look at the difference between the two productions. Secondary productivity is termed as an increase in the biomass of the heterotrophs. Therefore, it is not similar to that of primary productivity because the exchange of energy is between various animals, or from one organism to another and is not confined to one level of the food chain. (See What are Main Habitats of Plants?)
10. How does Energy move from One Trophic Level to Another?
The transfer of energy takes place when an organism consumes another organism. A terrestrial animal consumes an aquatic animal in return for that animal being eaten by another terrestrial or aquatic animal. This cycle indicates the flow of energy between different trophic levels. For example, if a fox ate fish then there is the flow of energy from water to land and then that fox is eaten by crocodiles, then the energy is transferred from land to water.
So, today you learned about what affects productivity of ecosystem. But before that, you got to know about what is the productivity in ecosystems. I hope you did not miss out on what are the two main factors that affect primary productivity. Share this article with your friends if you like it and find it a good read. (See Why are Food Chains Relatively Short?)