In nature there are complex connection networks between species, as well as different adaptation strategies that allow living organisms to guarantee their survival and evolution. For the knowledge of these connections and strategies, the science of ecology has for years analyzed various models proposed by the scientific community in order to better understand and interpret how ecosystems and the biological communities that comprise them function. Thus, terms such as biocenosis, ecological community and biological community accompany those who inquire into the wonderful world of the laws of nature and its cycles on a daily basis.
From AgroCorrn we have proposed to learn more about some of these concepts related to ecology, presenting in this article detailed information about the biological community: what it is, structure and examples .
What is a biological community – definition
The term biological community is used within biology and, more specifically, in the world of ecology, to define the set of living organisms that live in a given habitat . In a colloquial way we could affirm, thus, that the biological community includes the “catalog” of species that constitute a certain community of living individuals. However, the concept of biological community is very complex, since the ecological relationships that exist between these individuals in the community must be taken into account , as well as the climatic and physical-chemical characteristics of the environment in which they inhabit. Therefore, there are other terms that are often used to refer to the same concept, such asthe ecological community or biocenosis .
In this way, the ecological community includes, together with the “catalog” of species, the ecological relationships that are established between them within said community, while the term biocenosis refers to the “catalog” of species that inhabit a given biotope. , thus relating the existence of a specific biological community in a specific biotope. We recommend that you learn more about these other concepts with these other Green Ecology articles on the Ecological Community: definition and characteristics and What is biocenosis: explanation with examples .
To better understand this complex ecological term, let’s go on to see some more specific characteristics and examples of biological communities in the next sections.
Structure of a biological community and its characteristics
From a global perspective and holistic analysis of biological communities, it is possible to identify their functioning within complex ecosystems, since the balance and evolution of every ecosystem will depend on the structure of the biological community that constitutes it. In this way, within the structure of the biological community, it is possible to differentiate the element of species populations , as well as the total number of individuals that compose it .
Both categories that constitute the structure of the biological community are related to each other and present common characteristics that allow the functioning of the biological community within the ecosystem. The characteristics of the structure of a biological community are:
- Interspecific relationships and intraspecific relationships , both positive ( symbiosis ) and negative ( commensalism ).
- Flows of energy and matter that mark the links of the trophic chains.
- Depending on the number of individuals (abundance) and the variety of species of populations, the biological community will have a certain biological wealth or biodiversity. Here we talk about the different types of biodiversity .
- Individuals and populations maintain the ecological balance and the evolution of the ecosystem, as well as the resilience and capacity to adapt to environmental and variable changes within the biological community.
- Depending on the type of living organisms that compose it, there are different types of biological communities , such as: phytocenosis (plant species), zoocenosis (animal species), microbiocenosis (microorganisms).
Biological community: examples
Now that we know what the characteristics and structure of biological communities are, in the following list we offer examples of biological communities , concrete examples of some of the most surprising and biodiverse on the planet, as well as the groups of living beings that constitute them:
- Intertidal biological communities: macroalgae, cyanobacteria, microalgae, diatoms, nematodes, meiofauna (small animals that inhabit the sand grains of the coasts).
- Coral reefs: bony and cartilaginous fish, reptiles and marine mammals, invertebrates, mollusks, anemones, algae, phyto and zooplankton.
- Mangroves: mangrove trees adapted to the permanent or seasonal presence of surface waters; reptiles, arthropods, aquatic birds. Find out more about what is a mangrove and its characteristics .
- Boreal forests : conifers and shrubs adapted to low temperatures and the presence of snow; small and large mammals with hibernation strategies, raptors.
- Rainforests: evergreen trees, ferns and vines adapted to humid climates; amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds, insects, fungi and decomposing microorganisms. Learn more about the flora and fauna of the rainforest in this other post.
- Savannas: acacias and small bushes adapted to arid climates; large carnivorous and herbivorous mammals, reptiles, scavengers, poisonous invertebrates. Learn more about this type of biological communities and their biomes with these other articles on the Savannah Ecosystem: characteristics, flora and fauna and the Palm Savannah: characteristics, flora and fauna .