Biosphere has three basic components –
- (A) abiotic (physical and inorganic) components
- (B) biotic (organic) components
- (C) energy components
These components broadly consist of all non-living elements which are essential for the survival of all living organisms. These are –
- (i) lithosphere (solid part of the earth crust)
- (ii) atmosphere
- (iii) hydrosphere
Mineral nutrients, certain gases and water are the three basic requirements of organic life. Soils and sediments constitute the chief reservoir of mineral nutrients.
Atmosphere constitutes the chief reservoir of gases essential for organic life.
Ocean constitutes the chief reservoir of liquid water.
Where all these three reservoirs intermingle and that area becomes the most fertile area for organic life.
The upper layer of the soil and shallow parts of the ocean constitute the most important areas, box sustaining organic life. The upper layer of soil, permits easy penetration of gases and percolation of moisture, while shallow parts of oceans, allow penetration of sunlight, intermingling of dissolved gases and nutrients from land surface and ocean bottoms.
Plants, animals and human beings including micro-organisms constitute the three biotic components of environment. In a way these can be called as the three sub-systems.
(i) Plants : Plants are most important among biotic components. They are the only primary producers as they produce their own food through the process of photo synthesis and hence are called autotrophs. Not only plants alone produce all kinds of organic matter but also help in cycling and recycling of organic matters and nutrients. Thus, plants are the major source of food as well as energy for all organisms.
(ii) Animals : While plants are the primary producers, the animals are the main consumers. Therefore, animals are heterotroph.
There are three main functions of animals –
- (i) to use organic matter made available by plants as food
- (ii) to transform the food into energy
- (iii) to utilise the energy for growth and development
(iii) Micro-organisms : These consist of a variety of micro-bacteria, fungi etc. Their numbers are unlimited and are popularly known as decomposers.
As the name suggest, these organisms decompose the dead plants and animals and other organic matters. It is through this process they obtain their food. Through this process of decomposition, they differentiate and separate the complex organic matter, so that the same could be put to re-use by the primary producers i.e., the plants.
This is the third and vital component of the biosphere without which life could not have been possible on this planet.
It is essential for generation and reproduction of all biological life on this planet. All organisms in the biosphere are like machines which use energy to work and also to convert one form of energy into another.
What is the source of energy required for the functioning of the biosphere? Sun is the major source of energy without which we can not think about the existence of the biosphere.
Bibliography : NIOS Geography Book