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Relationships in Ecosystem: Relation with Abiotic Components

Grade 7
Jun 15, 2023

Relation with Abiotic Components

In ecology, living organisms and their interactions are referred to as biotic factors. The non-living components of the environment, such as sunlight, water, temperature, wind, and nutrients, are known as abiotic factors.

To predict population changes and ecological events, ecologists use biotic and abiotic elements. Ecologists can evaluate what is happening in an ecosystem over time by looking at how these components interact. They may also be able to determine ecological events such as species extinctions, overpopulation, growth rate shifts, and disease outbreaks.

Biotic Factors:

Disease, predation, parasitism, and competition among species or within a single species are all examples of biological factors. Furthermore, living beings are biotic factors in and of themselves. Producers, consumers, and decomposers are the three categories of biotic factors.

Biotic factors of ecosystem

  • Producer: Abiotic substances are converted into food by these organisms, which include plants and algae. Photosynthesis is a process that uses the sun’s energy, water, and carbon dioxide to make food. This produces energy that can be used by producers. Producers are referred to as autotrophs since they nourish themselves: “Auto” in Greek means “self,” and “troph” means “to feed or nourish.” Autotrophs manufacture their own nourishment using abiotic substances.
  • Consumers: The majority of consumers are animals who do not prepare their own food. To gain food energy, they consume producers or other consumers. Because they get their food from species other than themselves, consumers are also known as heterotrophs: “hetero” means different or other. Herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores are all examples of consumers. Horses, elephants, and manatees are examples of herbivores that eat producers. Carnivores eat other creatures. Lions, wolves, and orcas are among them. Birds, bears, and lobster, for example, eat both producers and consumers.
  • Decomposers: These are the organisms that decompose organic matter from dead plants and animals into the inorganic components required for life, such as carbon and nitrogen. The inorganic matter then returns to the soil and water as nutrients, allowing producers to use them again, thereby repeating the cycle. Saprotrophs are decomposers that feed on rotting organic materials. Their name comes from the Greek word “saprós,” which means “rotten.” Bacteria, fungi, earthworms, and some insects are examples of decomposers.

Abiotic Factors:

The term “abiotic” originates from the basic words “a-” and “bio,” which mean “without” and “life,” respectively.


Abiotic factors are the ecosystem’s non-living components, such as chemical and physical factors. Abiotic factors have an impact on each other. Furthermore, whether on land or in water, they have a significant impact on the diversity and quantity of species in an ecosystem. Abiotic factors are necessary for living beings to consume, grow, and reproduce.

They are necessary for an organism’s growth and metabolism. They supply not only nutrients but also a location for species to live and thrive – a habitat.

Abiotic factors of ecosystem

  • Sunlight: Sunlight, as the world’s most significant source of energy, is critical to most ecosystems. It gives plants the energy they need to generate food and affects temperature. Depending on how much sunshine is available to them, organisms should respond.
  • Oxygen: The majority of life forms on Earth require oxygen to survive. To breathe and release energy from food, they require oxygen. Most species’ metabolism is driven by oxygen in this way.
  • Temperature: In both air and water, the average temperature, temperature range, and temperature extremes all play a significant role in how organisms live and survive in an ecosystem. Temperature has an impact on an organism’s metabolism, and species have evolved to live in their ecosystem’s normal temperature range.
  • Wind: The impacts of wind on an ecosystem are numerous. It affects abiotic components such as soil and water. It disperses seeds and causes fire to spread. Wind changes humidity levels by affecting temperature and evaporation from the soil, air, surface waters, and plants.
  • Water: Water is necessary for all living things. Organisms develop characteristics and behaviors that help them survive in terrestrial (land) habitats when water is scarce, such as deserts, by efficiently harvesting and storing water. This can occasionally provide a water source for other animals. Many plants have specific features that allow them to gather nutrients before the water washes them away in habitats like rainforests, where the abundance of water depletes soil nutrients. Water also provides nutrients, gases, and food for aquatic and marine animals, as well as facilitating movement and other life activities.
  • Ocean currents: Ocean currents involve the movement of water, which allows biotic and abiotic elements such as organisms and nutrients to move freely. Water temperature and climate are also affected by currents. Because currents can influence factors like food availability, reproduction, and species migration, they play a significant role in the survival and behavior of organisms that live in water.
  • Nutrients: Inorganic nutrients are found in soil and water, which organisms need to feed and grow. Minerals found in soil, such as phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen, are crucial for plant growth.  Many dissolved nutrients are found in water, and soil runoff can transport nutrients to aquatic and marine habitats.
  • Soil is composed of both biotic and abiotic components.
  • The case of soil is interesting. Soil filters and holds water while also anchoring plant roots. It contains millions of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungus, and single-celled organisms known as archaea, as well as nutritional minerals and gases. These are crucial decomposers and recyclers for the Earth.


  • Abiotic factors account for much of the variation between ecosystems. Abiotic factors influence which species can survive in a given location by determining the availability of critical resources such as sunshine, water, oxygen, and minerals.
  • Abiotic variables can also present additional difficulties to biological forms, such as temperature extremes, strong winds, or pollution.
  • In some ecosystems, human activity has also become a key role in determining which life forms survive.

Types of Ecosystems Based on Abiotic Factors

Desert Abiotic Factors:

The term “desert” is used by scientists to describe any location that receives less than 25 cm (9.75 inches) of rain or snow on a yearly basis. Deserts cover around 20% of the Earth’s geographical area, including the continent of Antarctica, according to this definition. Because open water and water vapors act as temperature stabilizers in wetter biomes, desert ecosystems can also undergo significant temperature variations.


Deserts create unique creatures and food chains due to little rainfall and often high temperatures.


Tropical Rainforest Abiotic Factors:

Rainforests in the tropics are known as tropical rainforests. The tropics, which form a zone around the equator and receive a lot of sunlight all year, have warm temperatures and mild seasons.

Rainforests create extraordinarily dense, lush, and complex ecosystems as a result of their warm and rainy temperatures. Rainforests are remarkable in that they have layers of life on top of one other.

Because of shadow from plants in the other layers, the rainforest’s topmost layer – the “canopy” – receives the most sunlight, while the bottom-most strata receive very little. This has an impact on the species that can flourish in these layers.


Tundra Abiotic Factors:

Tundra ecosystems are found in the far North polar area, where the sun provides very little light and heat. As a result, just a thin layer of soil near the surface thaws enough to allow plant growth. Subsoil, a deep layer of soil, can be frozen for thousands of years.

Trees (which require deep roots) cannot grow in the tundra because the subsoil is frozen. Grass and other tiny plants that can survive in the shallow soil thrive instead.


Abiotic Factors Affecting the Ocean:

The ocean’s salinity is critical for the organisms that live there. Because the salt water would dry dolphins swimming in the ocean, they acquire all of their water from their prey species.

Because they have evolved so effectively to their habitat, certain fish can only thrive in saltwater. The epipelagic zone, which is located at the top of the ocean, receives a lot of sunlight. Photosynthetic ocean life, such as coral and seaweed, can be found here.

The abyssopelagic zone at the ocean’s bottom, on the other hand, receives nearly no sunshine. Strange ocean species live in this area of the ocean, some of which cannot survive at the surface because their body structures require high water pressure at depth.

The ocean’s deepest trenches contain a colder, darker zone known as the “hadopelagic.” The Greek underworld inspired the name of this zone.

Different ocean ecosystems, such as coastal ecosystems, coral reef ecosystems, and deep-ocean ecosystems, exist as a result of these abiotic influences.

Ocean ecosystem

Grassland and Taiga Ecosystem:

Grasslands are habitats where the grass is the dominant plant.

Taiga ecosystems are found in the subarctic and are cold forest environments. They are distinguished by the presence of evergreen trees and other cold-tolerant species like mosses and mushrooms. Moose, bears, deer, and lynx are among the animals.



Responses of Living Things to Abiotic Factors:

Abiotic components affect living creatures in a variety of ways.

Abiotic components affect living creatures in a variety of ways. The following are examples of abiotic factors: regulators, conformers, migration, suspend-sporulation, dormancy, hibernation, and aestivation, and diapause.

  • Regulators: Homeostasis is the ability of all organisms to maintain a constant internal environment. This ability allows organisms to maintain homeostasis by physiological and behavioral means, ensuring a consistent body temperature and osmotic concentration. Humans keep their bodies at 98.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Sweating in the summer and shivering in the winter help them maintain balance.
  • Conformers: These are organisms that are unable to manage their internal body conditions, and their bodies vary in response to their surroundings.
  • Migrate: When the weather in their habitat becomes severe, these species migrate to a less stressful environment. Siberian birds, for example, move from that region to Bharatpur, Rajasthan’s Keoladeo National Park, in India.
  • Suspend: Many creatures use diverse bodily processes to survive in a harsh environment.
  • Sporulation: Organisms create thick-walled spores that help them survive in harsh environments. The spore germinates when the conditions return to normal. This type of response can be observed in bacteria, fungus, and lower plants.
  • Dormancy: Seeds of higher plants decrease their metabolic activity and enter dormancy to survive periods of stress. The dormant seed germinates and grows into a new plant under ideal conditions.
  • Hibernation and aestivation: If organisms are unable to migrate, they can avoid stressful situations by fleeing ahead of time to a region where they can sleep during the winter. It’s known as hibernation. Aestivation occurs when an organism or animal sleeps throughout the summer. Bears, for example, sleep in the winter and snails in the summer.
  • Diapause: It’s a natural process that can be seen in a certain species. It causes developmental delays in these animals due to changes in metabolic activity. Parasites, crabs, shellfish, snail insects, and certain zooplankton species all go through diapause.

Interdependency of Abiotic and Biotic Factors:


  1. Photosynthesis is a process that occurs in green plants when they are exposed to sunlight. Green plants serve as primary producers and are necessary for the survival of organisms living in the tropics. The process of photosynthesis cannot occur without sunshine; without photosynthesis, no food can be created, and the major consumers cannot survive; this disrupts the entire food web relationship in the ecosystem, which runs from producers to herbivores and herbivores to carnivores.
  2. The link between soil and plant nutrition is another example of biotic and abiotic component interaction. Plants cannot obtain nitrogen for nutrition and survival if there is no soil. Nitrogen is an essential component of critical metabolism pathways and is also found in the composition of amino acids, proteins, and nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA.
  3. The interaction between water and life is another crucial feature that shows the interdependence between living and non-living components. Water is the foundation of life; it makes up over 70% of the human body. Without water, life would be impossible.
  4. The decomposers enrich the soil through the decomposition process. Saprophytic bacteria and fungi, for example, feed on organic dead and degraded materials and decompose them into simpler nutrients and inorganic matter.

Interaction of Biotic Components with Abiotic Components:

It depicts a simple food chain diagram as well as the flow of energy and nutrients. It all starts with the producers, such as plants, who create food by harnessing solar energy. Energy flows adjacent to the consumers, including the main consumer (insects), the secondary consumer (frog), the tertiary consumer (snake), and quaternary consumer (bird) (eagle). After that, the decomposers will break down the eagle’s droppings or carcasses.

The biotic and abiotic components work together as a system and are linked with nutritional cycles and energy flows.

Photoautotrophs, for example, provide energy and nutrients to the system. Plants and green algae, for example, are photosynthesizing organisms. The photoautotrophs are then consumed by heterotrophs, such as mammals. This allows the energy and nutrients to circulate throughout the system. The decomposers are triggered by the death of these creatures. This process returns nutrients to the environment, where they can be re-used by organisms.

Interaction of living and non-living components

The flow of Energy:

  • The chloroplasts (organelles containing chlorophyll, the green pigment) inside photoautotrophic cells capture solar energy. Light energy (in the form of solar radiation) drives the conversion of inorganic substrates into energy reserves, such as sugar molecules, inside the chloroplast.
  • Animals, in general, lack pigments that trap light energy and enable photosynthesis. As a result, they must feed on autotrophs and/or other heterotrophs.
  • Photosynthesis is a biological process in which plants use light from the Sun and inorganic sources to produce their own nourishment (e.g., carbon dioxide and water). For example, they make glucose molecules, which can be stored as starch later. Plants, in turn, provide food for species that are unable to produce food on their own.
  • By eating these plants, energy (together with nutrients) is transferred from the producer to the consumer. The information is then passed from one consumer to the next. Carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins, for example, are complex organic molecules with a lot of energy stored in their chemical connections.
  • The last category of species through which energy passes is the decomposers. They eat all living things’ droppings and carcasses.

Flow of energy in an ecosystem

Nutrient Cycle:

  • Carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus, for example, enter a living organism in a number of ways.
  • One way is for plants to absorb them directly from their physical surroundings, such as by roots receiving components from the soil and gases entering through stomata.
  • These elements enter mammals through dietary consumption.
  • Decomposers break down droppings and decaying organic debris, eventually releasing these elements for nutrient cycling or utilization by other living creatures. Decomposition refers to the biological process by which decomposers break down organic substances.
  • These materials are neither lost nor destroyed during the breakdown, making the planet a closed system in this aspect. Within the ecosystem, the components will cycle between biotic and abiotic phases.

Biogeochemical cycles

Abiotic Components


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