Biotic Potential

What is Biotic Potential?

The biotic potential is the utmost reproductive capability of living organisms under environmental conditions. The biotic potential is the greatest possible vital index of species, hence, when the species has the highest birth rate and lowest mortality rate. There are primary factors that determine the biotic potential. These factors include organism rate of reproduction and its litter size - the number of offspring produced at one birth.

The biotic potential among organisms differs from species to species. Similar to humans, many large organisms produce one offspring throughout the year or during the breeding season. On other hand, insects can produce thousands of organisms each year. Hence, the organisms that are larger have relatively lower biotic potential in comparison to the smaller organisms. 

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Biotic Potential Definition

The biotic potential is defined by the ecologist R.N. Chapman has “ the inherent ability of an organism to reproduce and survive”.

Biotic potential was again redefined by the R.N. Chapman in 1993 as: “ it is kind of numerial sum of the number of young once born at each reproduction, the number of reproduction over some time, the sex ratio of the species, and the general capacity to survive under given physical conditions.

Biotic Potential Quantitative Expression

The quantitative expression of the biotic potential is the ability of an organism to face selection in any environment. The main equation of the specific population is derived by the equation.

Number of Individuals - Biotic/ Potential resistance of Environment (Biotic/ Abiotic).

According to R.N Chapman, a vital index refers to the ratio to find the rate of surviving members of a species, whereas 

Vital Index = Number of Birth/Number of Death × 100.

Biotic Meaning

The term biotic is formed by the combination of two words “ bio” means life and “ice” means like. Hence, the term biotic means life-like and it refers to all living things present in an environment.

Biotic Definition Biology

Biotic definition - Biology defines anything related to living organisms. The word ‘biotic’ is primarily used to explain affecting factors or situations in the environment of living organisms that are affected by other living organisms or biological entities. 

What is the Biotic Environment?

The biological component of the environment is also known as the abiotic component of an environment. This biological component consists of all living organisms like plants, animals, and small microorganisms like bacteria. These biotic components interact with the abiotic components of an environment. The interaction of two components forms varied ecosystems like pond ecosystem, marine ecosystem, and desert ecosystem. The self-supporting large ecosystem of the Earth is known as Biosphere.  All ecosystems consist of three different types of living organisms namely producers, consumers, and decomposers.

Producers are green plants and other photosynthetic bacterias which produce different organic substances such as protein, carbohydrates, etc. with the help of soil, water, and light energy. Consumers depend for their nutrition on the organic foods produced by green plants. A decomposer is an organism that decomposes or breaks down organic material such as the remains of dead animals and brings about various important minerals for the running of the biogeochemical cycles.

The three components of the environment such as physical, chemical, and biological bring about important zones. These are Atmosphere, Lithosphere, Hydrosphere, and Biosphere. There is constant interaction among these four zones. This interaction involves the transportation of various elements, compounds, and energy forms.  

Biotic Factors Environment

A biotic factor is defined as a living organism that affects other organisms or shapes its environment. These include both animals that consume other organisms within their ecosystem and the organism that is consumed. Biotic factors include pathogens, human influence, and disease outbreaks.  

Biotic Components are Typically Divided Into Three Main Categories:

  • Producers, also known as autotrophs convert energy into food through the process of photosynthesis 

  • Consumers, also known as heterotrophs, depend on food (and often on other consumers).

  • Decomposers (also known as detritivores) is a process of breaking down chemicals from producers and consumers (generally antibiotics) into simpler forms that can be reused. 


Biotic Factors Examples

The biotic factor examples in different ecosystems are as follows:

Freshwater Ecosystem

  • Fish

  • Amphibians

  • Aquatic plants

  •  Algae

Marine Ecosystems

  • Algae

  • Bacteria

  • Plant

  • Coral

  • Fish

  • Sharks

  • Jellyfish

  • Planton

Terrestrial Ecosystem

  • Fungi

  • Mushroom

  • Herbs

  • Trees

  • Soil Bacteria

  • Shrubs

Did You Know

  • A species that attains its biotic potential would exhibit exponential population growth and is said to have high fertility, i.e. the number of offspring produced by the mother.

  • The term biotic potential is introduced by the ecologist R.N. Chapman.

  • Environment resistance is the  sum total of the factors that obstruct populations from continuously growing and hence aims to keep the population at constant level. These factors are predators, disease, and a lack of supply of any essential requirement such as food, water, shelter, and light (which is specifically important for the growth of the plant).

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the Basic Components That Determine the Biotic Potential?

Ans: The ability of a population of a particular species to propagate under favorable environmental conditions i.e adequate supply of food, no predators, and no disease is known as biotic potential. The basic components that determine the biotic potential are an organism's rate of production and its litter size - the total number of species produced at one birth.

2. What are the two Components of Biotic Potential?

Ans: As per the Ecologist R.N Chapman biotic potential, the biotic potential is further divided into reproductive and survival potential. Reproductive potential is the upper limit to the biotic potential whereas survival potential is the reciprocal of mortality. As reproductive potential does not consider the number of gametes surviving, survival potential is an essential component of biotic potential.

3. What are the Two Additional Components of Survival Potential?

Ans: The two additional components of survival potential are nutritive and protective potential. The nutritive potential is the ability of an organism to acquire and use food for growth and energy whereas protective potential is defined as the ability of an organism to protect itself against the dynamic force of an environment to ensure successful reproduction and offspring.