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Understanding Biotic and Abiotic Factors in Our Ecosystem

Grade 9
Jun 7, 2023

What is an Ecosystem?


All the living and non-living things constitute an ecosystem. In the picture given above you can easily observe the interaction of living things such as fishes, green plants, and small microbes with non-living things such as water, soil, sunlight, etc. Eco means environment and system means a group where a lot of interactions take place.

Types of Ecosystems

There are two major categories of the ecosystem:

Terrestrial ecosystem: An ecosystem formed by the interaction of components present on land.

Aquatic ecosystem: Ecosystem formed by the interaction of components present in and around water.


Terrestrial Ecosystem

The terrestrial ecosystem is mainly found on land.

Examples of Terrestrial Ecosystem

Aquatic Ecosystem

Freshwater ecosystem: It includes lakes, ponds, streams, etc.

Marine ecosystem: It covers seas and oceans. The content of salt is more as compared to freshwater ecosystems.

Structure of Ecosystem

Structure of Ecosystem


The structure of an ecosystem is characterized by the organization of both biotic and abiotic factors. It includes the distribution of energy in our environment.

In ecosystem biotic and abiotic factors are interrelated.

It is an open system where the energy and biotic and abiotic factors can flow throughout the boundaries.

In an ecosystem, all living organisms are known as biotic components whereas non-living components are known as abiotic. Examples of biotic factors are plants, animals, yeast, decomposers, etc. Whereas heat, sun, water, land, rainfall, mountain, humidity, etc. are abiotic factors.

Biotic Factors:

The three main kinds of (biotic factors) organisms depending on the manner in which they obtain the food are:

Producers: Organisms that produce their own food by photosynthesis, e.g., green plants, blue-green algae, etc. We can say that all the producers are autotrophs.

Consumers: These are the organisms which take food from the producers. All the heterotrophic organisms are the consumers.

Consumers can be further classified into herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, and parasites

Herbivores are animals that only feed on grass, for e. g. deer, rabbit, etc. They are also known as primary consumers.

Carnivores are organisms that only take their food from other animals. For e.g., lion, tiger, wolf, etc.

Small carnivores like dogs, wolves, etc. are secondary consumers, and large animals like lions and tigers are considered tertiary consumers as they feed on secondary consumers.

Omnivores are organisms that feed on both plants and animals. E.g., bear, dog, crow, etc.

Parasites are organisms that feed on other living organisms. E.g., mosquitoes, ticks, etc.

Decomposers: Organisms that break down complex organic substances into simpler organic substances. They mainly feed on dead and decay animals. E.g., microorganisms like bacteria and fungi.

Biotic Factors

Food Chain:

The sequence of transfer of matter and energy in the form of food from one organism to another is called the food chain.

Food Chain

Trophic level is defined as a level or a position in a food chain, food web, or ecological pyramid.

An ecological pyramid is a graphical representation created to show the biomass or bio-productivity at every trophic level in a given ecosystem.

In an ecological pyramid, the various trophic levels are primary producers at the base, consumers (primary, secondary, tertiary, etc.), and predators at the apex.

An energy pyramid demonstrates the flow of energy at every trophic level in an ecosystem. A pyramid shape is used because energy is lost at every trophic level when organisms use it up.

Energy Pyramid

There are two types of organisms based on their feeding mode: autotrophs and heterotrophs.

Types of Organisms

Flow of Energy in an Ecosystem:

As we know, the sun is the primary source of energy for all living organisms. Plants capture 1-10% of total energy from the sun. The chemical energy of food is one of the primary sources of energy that is required by all living organisms on Earth. This energy is moved to various trophic levels.

Why is Energy Flow Important in an Ecosystem?

  • It maintains an ecological balance.
  • Producers make their own food by photosynthesis.
  • Some energy is required for the growth and development of the plant.
  • When primary consumers take food from producers, some energy may transfer.
  • The energy further transfers to secondary, tertiary, and so on consumers.

Energy Flow

Abiotic Factors

Abiotic: These are non-living components of an ecosystem. For example, temperature, soil, rainfall, air, sun, etc.

Factors that affect abiotic factors are seasons, altitude, and location.

According to changes in abiotic factors, the ecosystem will be different. The trees, fruits, animals may vary accordingly.

Water: Depending on pH and salinity, life will vary.

Sunlight: It is the biggest source of energy that is utilized by green plants to make their own food.

Oxygen: All living beings need oxygen to breathe and release energy from food.

Temperature: It plays a key role for all organisms to thrive in the typical temperature range in their ecosystem.

Wind: It exerts many effects on the ecosystem. It moves other abiotic elements like water and soil. It spreads fire and disperses seeds.

Nutrients: Soil and water contain inorganic nutrients that organisms require to grow and eat. For example, minerals like phosphorous, potassium, and nitrogen found in soil are important for plant growth.

Relationship Between Biotic and Abiotic Components

  • The temperature of the water will affect the survival of coral.
  • Fish excretes nitrogen as waste in water, thus increasing the nitrogen level.

Relationship between Biotic and Abiotic Components

Biotic and Abiotic Factors


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