An ecosystem is often defined as an environment or community, where inter-relationships among organisms take place (Vogt 69). In this respect, plants, animals, natural resources and humans interact for mutual benefits. Other elements such as soil, micro-organisms and non-living things are also included as part of a freshwater lake ecosystem.
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A freshwater localized ecosystem
A freshwater localized ecosystem consists of plants and animals of all kinds (Silk & Ciruna 29). Some of these animals and plants exist as producers to other living organisms. For example, the conversion of inorganic matter into organic matter takes place in a freshwater lake. However, plants may perform this process through photosynthesis.
Animals like fish that lives in a freshwater lake, usually feed on plants. The plants have chemical energy obtained from plant as a result of photosynthesis. In this respect, fish and other animals obtain this energy after they consume plants. It is important to note that there are animals or fish that depend on each other for survival. Living things, particularly both animals and plants die and decompose.
Upon decomposing, the matter is changed into organic matter. The inorganic matter can also be obtained from waste produced by animals. Basically, the cycle of both living and non-living organism within a freshwater lake is interrelated and continuous. Without interruptions, this ecosystem is an example of a balanced ecosystem. This ecosystem highly depends on non-disruption from human activities.
Living organisms in a lake and their inter-connection
Biologically, the living organisms in a freshwater lake are referred as biotic elements. The biotic elements depend entirely on each other for survival. For example, fish, amphibians, insects, snails and a variety of water plants live in freshwater lakes (123). The plants provide the fish with food energy.
Some carnivorous fish also depend on other small fish for food energy. The same can be said of amphibians that live off other fish and insects. From this perspective, the living organisms are related through food webs or food chains. An aspect of symbiotic relationship can also be evidenced in living organisms living in a freshwater lake.
An example of such relationship is evidenced when bacteria survive through the legume plants found in the lake. Insects within the lake habitat live off animals and plants without harming them in what is known as commensalism.
According to Silk and Ciruna, some of the activities disrupting a freshwater ecosystem are fishing, hunting and pollution (321).
Fishing in a freshwater lake targets fish. In this respect, fishing without control measures may lead to fish extinction from the habitat (245). Eventually, there is an ecosystem imbalance within the lake. For example, amphibians no longer have a source of food. Eventually, some living organisms that depend on fish as a source of food also die.
Humans hunt amphibians such as crocodiles, alligators and hippopotamus. Humans hunt these animals for food and skin (231). Eventually, some living organisms like fish over-multiply and affect the production of other important organisms such as plants due to over-dependency.
Humans are known of polluting freshwater ecosystems by using pollutants like oil, waste materials and other activities. This is done through dumping of toxic substances into the freshwater (240). Such activities affect the environment and living organism may die from toxic exposure.
Silk, Nicole and Kristine Ciruna. A practitioner’s guide to freshwater biodiversity conservation. Washington: Island Press, 2005. Print.
Vogt, A. Kristina. Ecosystems balancing science with management. New York: Springer, 1997. Print.