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Title: Microecosystem  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Landscape ecology, Ecosystems, Ecology, Microbial mat, Recruitment (biology)
Collection: Ecology, Ecosystems, Environmental Science, Natural Sciences
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Microecosystems can exist in locations which are precisely defined by critical environmental factors within small or tiny spaces.

Such factors may include temperature, pH, chemical milieu, nutrient supply, presence of symbionts or solid substrates, gaseous atmosphere (aerobic or anaerobic) etc.


  • Some examples 1
    • Pond microecosystems 1.1
    • Soil microecosystems 1.2
    • Terrestrial hot-spring microecosystems 1.3
    • Deep-sea microecosystems 1.4
    • Closed microecosystem 1.5

Some examples

Pond microecosystems

These microecosystems with limited bromeliad leaf bases and the "pitchers" of Nepenthes.

Soil microecosystems

A typical soil microecosystem may be restricted to less than a millimeter in its total depth range owing to steep variation in humidity and/or atmospheric gas composition. The soil grain size and physical and chemical properties of the substrate may also play important roles. Because of the predominant solid phase in these systems they are notoriously difficult to study microscopically without simultaneously disrupting the fine spatial distribution of their components.

Terrestrial hot-spring microecosystems

These are defined by gradients of water temperature, nutrients, dissolved gases, salt concentrations etc. Along the path of terrestrial water flow the resulting temperature gradient continuum alone may provide many different minute microecosystems, starting with thermophilic bacteria such as Archaea "Archaebacteria" (100+ °C), followed by conventional thermophiles (60–100 °C), cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) such as the motile filaments of Oscillatoria (30–60 °C), protozoa such as Amoeba, rotifers, then green algae (0–30 °C) etc. Of course other factors than temperature also play important roles. Hot springs can provide classic and straightforward ecosystems for microecology studies as well as providing a haven for hitherto undescribed organisms.

Deep-sea microecosystems

The best known contain rare specialized organisms, found only in the immediate vicinity (sometimes within centimeters) of underwater volcanic vents (or "smokers"). These ecosystems require extremely advanced diving and collection techniques for their scientific exploration.

Closed microecosystem

One that is sealed and completely independent

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