What are the biotic factors?
Biotic factors are all those who have life, that is, contemplation in one of those states of life and whose interactions are aimed at the survival and reproduction of their species. In other words, biotic factors are all living things that are part of an ecosystem and the interactions that occur between them all. They usually refer to what is contemplated in the flora and fauna of a given environment, but they also contain fungi and microorganisms.
Biological factors are usually organized in populations, namely, groups of individuals of the same species that share a specific habitat. In turn, populations of the same area interact with each other, forming a community.
Environmental sharing establishes a wide variety of relationships between biological factors, for example, competition for food, space, or other resources. Another type of relationship that occurs between living beings that share a habitat is food relations, represented in the trophic chain (or food chain) and the flow of matter and energy in the ecosystem.
Biological factors are distinguished from abiotic factors in which the latter has inertia, that is, they are not related to life but are related to the surrounding substance and its non-organic processes (chemical, climate, physical, etc.). Abiotic factors are those that determine the physical environment in which living beings live.
Classification of biotic factors
Biological factors can be classified into three types, based on their way of eating and their location in food chains:
- Producing organizations. Also called autotrophs, these living things are capable of making their food from inorganic matter and a source of energy. Producing organisms can be of two types:
- Photoautotrophs. They are those that make their food through photosynthesis, a process by which they synthesize sugars from carbon dioxide and water, taking advantage of the light. An example of photoautotrophic organisms is planted.
- Chemoautotrophs. They are those that obtain the energy to make their food from different exothermic chemical reactions of inorganic compounds. Unlike photoautotrophs, these organisms do not use water in the chemosynthesis process and do not produce oxygen. This group includes some bacteria that live in extreme environments.
- Consumer organizations. Also called heterotrophs, they are those living beings that need to feed on others, that is, they must consume organic matter to support their metabolism and obtain it from other living beings. Consumers can be of two types:
- Herbivores. They are those that feed on producing organisms, for example, they eat plants, seeds, roots, algae, or vegetables. This group includes from small animals, like the rabbit, to others of great size like the giraffe.
- Carnivores. They are those that feed on other consuming organisms (herbivores or even other carnivores). This group includes everything from insects, such as spiders, to large mammals, such as the lion.
- Decomposing organisms. Also called detritophages, they are those living beings that feed on decomposing organic matter, collaborating with the “recycling” process of matter and energy. This group includes worms, bacteria, fungi, and yeasts.
Another type of classification of biotic factors is related to the role they occupy in their ecosystems. Thus, for example, we can distinguish the following groups:
- Mutualists. Species that establish relationships between them that allow them to mutually benefit. For example, pollinators and flowers, and mycorrhizal fungi and trees.
- Ecosystem engineers. Organisms that condition the environment with their activities, creating habitats so that other species can inhabit them. For example, by creating their levees, beavers create habitats for other species.
Examples of biotic factors
Some examples of biotic factors can be:
- Forest. The large cluster of good-sized trees, which serve as a habitat for many animals, and continuously supply organic matter to the detrophages in the soil.
- Fungi and insects. Two great types of decomposers, which reduce organic matter (dead leaves, pieces of bark, remnants of dead animals, skin pruning, excrement) and assimilate all the nutrients it contains, allowing the rest of the earth to regrow. Get nutrition.
- Large predators. Big cats, snakes, birds of prey: great consumers of animal flesh, which feed exclusively on small animals. They keep the population in check and eventually die, with the organic material being recycled.
- Phytoplankton. Only present in marine environments, it is a variety of photosynthetic microorganisms that support the entire marine trophic pyramid, as they are food for large forms of large animals such as crustaceans (krill) and whales.
- Vegetarian of good size. Such as oxen, antelopes, wildlife, elephants, etc. They feed on organic plants, which provide sustenance to the later large predators and scavengers.
Biotic and abiotic factors
Biological and abiotic factors are distinguished in that the former has to do with life forms and their relationships, while the latter is related to the physicochemical arrangement of non-organic elements of a given habitat. Thus, while animals and plants are biological factors, soil pH, climate, and soil composition are abiotic factors.
However, both types of factors are strongly linked, as the position of one is reflected in the other. The chemical composition of the soil, for example, directly affects its fertility and therefore its ability to support plant life, which will sustain consumers and detrophages; But the existence of these life forms will add layers of organic matter to the soil over time, keeping it fertile and rich in nutrients which in turn will fix its chemical composition.
In conclusion, we can confirm that biotics and abiotic are fundamental to the evolution of species and their habitat: it is not possible to imagine the existence of one without the other.
What are the biotic factors? Classification, Examples 9P