Biotic Factors

Being an occupant of Earth, it is important to learn the biotic factors. They are all about the living parts of the ecosystem. The functionality of the ecosystem is quite interesting. The complex system of cooperation and completion complete the action of every life. This further affects others and their life terms. Therefore, any living thing in the ecosystem is considered as a biotic factor.


A Clear Look into the Study of a Biotic Factor

Biotic factors like top predators, plant life, soil bacteria and even polluters profoundly shape to form specific organisms that live in an ecosystem. The survival strategies are based on these factors and principles of formation. The biotic definition and appearance of the ecosystem is based on biotic factors with the combination of non-living abiotic factors like geography, sunlight, temperature and chemistry. Also, the ecological niches are further depended on these factors. Therefore, to make it simpler, a biotic factor is a living thing that creates an effect on the ecosystem.

  • The word biotic means – pertaining to life. 

  • The factor is something through which other things are influenced. 

A biotic factor is also known as biotic component and completely different from abiotic factor. 


Some Examples of Biotic Factors

In our ecosystem, the biotic factors comprise all living organisms. These organisms interact with each along with abiotic factors within an ecosystem. Some of the examples are:


Terrestrial Ecosystem

  • Herbs

  • Soil Bacteria

  • Mushrooms

  • Fungi

  • Trees

  • Animal and

  • Shrubs


Marine Ecosystems

  • Plankton

  • Corals

  • Algae

  • Bacteria

  • Plants

  • Fish

  • Sharks

  • Jellyfish


Defining the Examples in Details

If we take a deeper look at the examples of biotic factors, there are three major groups which have been categorised by scientists. These are:

  1. Producers – Autotrophs

  2. Consumers – Heterotrophs

  3. Decomposers – Detritivores

These are defined based on their role and flow of energy on which the entire ecosystem is based upon. 


Producers – Autotrophs

The word autotroph has been derived from the Greek words – auto meaning self and trophic depicts food. Organisms fall into this category as they can make their own food with the help of energy sources and inorganic materials. In our ecosystem, producers play an important role because, without them, life would not exist. Prehistoric life forms on Earth had to learn the process of making fuel and several building materials that are made from non-living materials. The reason behind this, when first life came into existence, there were no other forms to feed on. Therefore, they themselves had to be producers. Producers are further categorised into two groups. These are:

  • Photoautotrophs

  • Chemoautotrophs


Photoautotrophs

Photoautotrophs are the most common type of producer found on Earth. They are capable of producing energy from sunlight to fuel various functions of life. Some of the examples are bacteria, green algae, and green plants. Most of them, with the help of chlorophyll, capture photons from the Sun and use them to harness energy. This energy is then packed into a form that can be used by other life forms. Plants, especially which are multicellular, have a special significance in our ecosystem. They are highly complex and very efficient when it comes to converting the energy from sunlight and producing fuels for other living organisms. This function forms the bottom of the energy pyramid. 


Chemoautotrophs

These are rarely found in our ecosystems. They survive by obtaining energy from the chemicals like sulphur, iron, hydrogen and others especially, which are not commonly found in our environments. However, they still play an important part in our ecosystems due to unusual biochemistry. One of the most common chemoautotrophs is methanogens. These are microorganisms that make methane. It is a powerful greenhouse that helps in regulating the temperature of our planet. Other chemoautotrophs are able to produce similar forms of chemicals and gases through their unique metabolism. It is still not known whether chemoautotrophs or photoautotrophs were the first on Earth. Photoautotrophs are larger in number, maybe due to the abundance of sunlight rather than chemicals.


Consumers – Heterotrophs 

The word heterotroph has also been derived from the Greek words – hetero meaning other and trophic depicts food. Heterotrophs are responsible for the consumption of other living beings to obtain energy. Heterotrophs can be divided into herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. Heterotrophs, rather than creating their own energy, started evolving when they discovered that autotrophs are a good source of energy. Some of the autotrophs eventually evolved with symbiotic relationships with consumers. A common example includes angiosperm, a plant that produces fruits and nectars to attract animals. This actually helps them in the process of reproduction. In most ecosystems in the energy pyramid, a number of levels are filled with consumers who are minor predators, top predators and herbivores who feed on other organisms.


Decomposers – Detritivores

These are organisms that live on organic compounds of consumers and producers. These are also important to our ecosystem as they are responsible for breaking down the materials left from other livings things to form into simpler forms. These simpler forms are then used by other organisms. Some of the examples of decomposers are fungi, bacteria, flies, worms etc. They can easily break down dead materials or other waste products formed by other life forms. Detritivores are quite different from consumers as they do not live on the consumption of other living things. They have the ability to metabolise waste products which are out of consumer's interests. These include dead animals, rotten fruits and others. Therefore, Detritivores break down these dead materials to form simple chemicals that can be further used by heterotrophs to form more energy for the ecosystems as a whole. 

This is the basic principle behind composting. In this process, waste scraps and products of plants and animals are put together to form a pile to let thrive the decomposers like worms, bacteria and flies. The waste products are turned into rich fertilisers by these decomposers to use in the gardens. Therefore, decomposers help in growing healthier and bigger trees. The breaking down process from decomposers has a special significance to our ecosystem. In the energy pyramid, decomposers form the link between the bottom and other levels. Most of the decomposers depend on raw materials and energy from dead plants, top carnivores, lesser carnivores, and herbivores. By breaking down, a form is produced, which is then used by the producers in the ecosystem to harness sunlight. This forms an entire energy cycle on our Earth. 


Conclusion

Humans are one of the most responsible organisms that have the ability to control other biotic factors affecting. As they are omnivores, the food chain can be easily adjusted as per the requirement on Earth. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Define the Biotic Concept of Living Components

Ans. Something is considered as biotic when a living thing in the system can affect other organisms. This can be anything from birds, plankton, trees, algae, and even large animals. The category includes anything that is living and hence can participate in the ecosystem. For instance, biotic factors affecting a fish are the larvae on which they feed, the birds that eat the fish, other fishes with which it has to compete and even the algae that provide oxygen. The components are not limited to the community of plants or animals. It also includes living organisms like microorganisms and insects.

Q2. How can Biotic Components be Sorted?

Ans. Biotic components are mainly of three groups. These are Autotrophs or Producers, Heterotrophs or Consumers, and Detritivores or Decomposers. Considering the food chain, producers form the first level. The energy they use is produced from natural sunlight. Consumers, on the other hand, are depended on producers or other consumers. The last group, decomposers, are responsible for breaking down dead matters into simpler forms to make it available for the producers and reuse it. If any of the group is affected by a certain change, it may lead to an increase or decrease in population or another group that is depended on the same. 

Q3. How is an Ecosystem Formed?

Ans. Living organisms interact amongst themselves along with the physical environment. This forms an ecosystem. There are different types of ecosystems, and the biosphere forms the global ecosystem. This actually depends on the various extents and components that define a space to form an ecosystem. This is the reason; ecosystems are divided into smaller forms. The environmental biology or the ecosystem is the field that focuses on the study of complex relationships between living organisms and the environment through which they are relatable.

Q4. Describe the Abiotic Factors to Our Ecosystems

Ans. Abiotic factors are related to weather, climate or edaphic considering the soil. Climatic factors include wind, temperature and rain. Factors of edaphic include geographies like mineral content, topography and also soil temperature, moisture level, texture, aeration and pH levels. Climatic factors impact greatly on animals and plants which are living in the ecosystem. The abiotic factors in total include soil, wind, temperature, sunlight and natural events like volcanic eruptions, fires, storms and others. Biotic and abiotic factors for the biological factors that further indicate the living success of a species.