The main difference between ecosystem and community is that ecosystem consists of living, and nonliving things of an environment and interaction between them whereas community are the interaction between different species living at the same geographical area at the same time.
Ecosystem vs. Community
Our earth consists of a large number of nonliving and living things. These things interact with each other in different ways. To understand life, it is essential to understand these relationships between them. The ecosystem comprises of a large number of communities along with its living and nonliving components and the interaction between them while a community is an interaction between different species living at the same place at the same time. The ecosystem consists of both biotic and abiotic factors whereas a community consists of only biotic components.
What is an Ecosystem?
All the living or biotic and nonliving or abiotic components of a geographical area form an ecosystem. Biotic factors of an ecosystem are plants, birds, animals, and microorganisms, etc while abiotic components are temperature, River, humidity, rainfall, and soil, etc. All these biotic and abiotic components interact with each other in an ecosystem. These interactions fulfill their requirements like the flow of energy at different levels in an ecosystem. In the energy flow, the first level is of producers or autotrophs that prepare their food by using sunlight, e.g., plants. Next level is of consumers or heterotrophs that get their food directly or indirectly through producers, e.g., animals. Then some decomposers decompose the matter to recycle it, e.g., bacteria. Another requirement of an ecosystem is the recycling of material through cyclic processes like the water cycle, nitrogen cycle, carbon cycle, etc. to make them available again and again.
A desert, a pond, grassland or forest along with all of its biotic and abiotic components form an ecosystem.
What is a Community?
All the biotic components of a geographical area interact with each other and form a community. As the interaction occurs only among the living components of the community, the community is known as the biological community. Different types of interactions occur in a community, i.e., mutualism, commensalism, and predation. Mutualism is the interactions in which both partners in the relationship get the benefit. Commensalism is the relationship in which one partner get the benefit, while the other partner is neither benefitted nor harmed. In parasitism, one partner is benefitted, while the other is harmed.
All the birds, animals, plants and microorganisms, etc. living in a forest form a community.
- All the living and nonliving components of an environment that interact with each other form an ecosystem whereas different species that are living at the same place at the same time and interact with each other form a community.
- The ecosystem is a broader level; on the other hand, the community is a shorter level as compared to the ecosystem.
- The ecosystem comprises of both biotic (living) and abiotic (nonliving) components conversely a community consists of only biotic (living) components.
- There is no change in an ecosystem with the change in an environmental factor though it transformed into another form on the flip side; a community may change with any change in the environmental factor.
- A pond, grassland or a forest, etc. along with all of their biotic and abiotic components are the examples of an ecosystem while all the birds, animals, plants and microorganisms, etc. living in a forest form a community.
From the above discussion, it is summarized that both the ecosystem and community are the two ecological levels. The ecosystem is a broad level that consists of both biotic and abiotic components while a community is a shorter level that is consist of only biotic components of the geographical area.