Biotic and Abiotic Factors

"Biotic" word origin

The word “biotic” is derived from the Greek word “βίος” (bios), which means “pertaining to life” or “living”. In simple words, “Bio” means life, and “ic” means like, as in “life-like.”.

What does biotic mean?

Biotic refers to all the living things within an ecosystem. So, living things such as plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms are the biotic components of a habitat.

An ecosystem consists of all biotic factors (living things) and abiotic factors (physical and environmental factors) in a given area.

What does abiotic mean?

The term “abiotic” refers to all non-living things in an ecosystem. So, non-living things such as air, soil, water, sunlight, temperature, and rocks are the abiotic components or abiotic factors of the habitat. Abiotic factors determine the distribution, abundance, and survival of ecosystem organisms.

For example, air provides carbon dioxide gas to the plant to prepare food. Plants receive water and nutrients from the soil to grow.

The combination of biotic and abiotic components determines how species adapt to their environment.

Types of biotic and abiotic factors

Types of biotic factors

There are three main categories of biotic factors: producers, consumers, and decomposers.

Producers: It is also referred to as AUTOTROPHS. Auto means “self” and Troph means “feed”. They produce their own food using sunlight and inorganic substances through the process of photosynthesis.

Producers are at the bottom of the food chain because they supply food (energy and nutrients) to other organisms. Plants, algae, and some bacteria are examples of producers.

Consumers: It is also referred to as HETEROTROPHS. Hetero means “others” and Troph means “feed”. Consumers depend on other organisms to survive.
“Consumers consume other organisms to get energy.”

They can be further divided into three subgroups based on their eating habits.

  • Herbivores are plant-eating animals. They eat producers. Cows, deer, and elephants are examples of herbivores.
  • Carnivores eat other animals. Carnivores eat other consumers. Lions, eagles, and sharks are examples of carnivores.
  • Omnivores eat both plants and other animals. Monkeys, Birds, Bears, Raccoons, and people are a few examples of omnivores.

Decomposers: They eat dead organisms (dead plants or animals) and other waste. They break down dead plants and animals into nutrients. Decomposers maintain the soil’s health by turning the dead animal or plant into different nutrients, and the nutrients go into the soil.

Fungus, Bacteria, worms, Earthworms, Slugs, and millipedes are a few examples of decomposers.

Types of abiotic factors

Abiotic conditions such as temperature, humidity, climate, sunlight, water, wind, and pH levels are known as climatic abiotic factors for terrestrial organisms.

Temperature: Temperature, or heat, is a very important ecological factor. It shapes ecosystems and determines the growth and development of organisms. Additionally, temperature affects the metabolic functions and geographical distribution of organisms.

Water: Water has a direct effect on all living species’ survival. It has an impact on plant growth, animal hydration, and the overall ecological balance.

Sunlight: Sunlight is the primary source of energy for ecosystems, as it helps plants and algae make food and energy through photosynthesis. Apart from this, light affects our ecosystem in many other ways.

Soil: The composition of the soil determines plant growth productivity.

Wind: Wind helps in seed and spore dispersal, as well as weather patterns and evaporation rates.

pH and Mineral Composition: The pH and mineral composition of soil have an impact on the types of organisms that may survive in an ecosystem.

Examples of biotic factors

Plants, algae, bacteria, fungi, Prey, predators, herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, mutualists, and parasites are a few examples of biotic factors.

Examples of abiotic factors

Sunlight, climate, water, humidity, wind, soil, temperature, and minerals are a few examples of abiotic factors. 

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