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Abiotic Factors: A Component of Ecosystem

Updated on June 15, 2016

In the environment, there are external factors that really affect organism living on it. And one of these factors is Abiotic factors or the nonliving variables such as wind, ocean, day length, rainfall, temperature and ocean current. Abiotic factors influence the flow of interaction in an environment so it is an important move to study their effects on living organisms.

Abiotic or Nonliving things have a vital role in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem. The factors of Abiotic have varied components and aspect in the physical environment on how they affect biotic factors. Below are some of the observations that will help you to learn further about Abiotic factors.

  1. Bamboo can stand on strong winds while banana plant cannot for it don’t have hard trunk and doesn’t sway with the blowing wind.
  2. Cogon thrives well in abundant sunlight while ferns are much on shades that is why they are shade-loving plants.
  3. Coconut grows well in warm climates while Pine trees in cold climates
  4. Cacti can withstand arid places like deserts while mosses can’t for they are moisture-loving plants.

The descriptions and examples above are some of the effects of climate on the growth and thriving abilities of plants, more specifically light, temperature, moisture and wind. The soil is another aspect of the physical environment that we should also consider for the characteristics of a soil determines what type of organism/living things can live. Below are some of the things that must be considered.

  1. The nutrients in the soil
  2. Acidity level of the soil
  3. Moisture content of the soil

abiotic like stones via morgueFile
abiotic like stones via morgueFile | Source

The amount of water that the soil can hold and the amount of minerals that can drain away is affected by the acidity of soil and the size of particles on it. Topography is also one of the aspects of the physical environment. Below are some of the observations that can make these things clear out, in the aspect of topography, and the effects on the distribution and growth of an organism/living things.

1. Most of the mossy forests are found at elevation above 1520 meters and not in the lowlands.
Cloud rats are found in high mountains unlike the lowland field rats.

2. Plants which need large amount of water are found in lowlands or along gentle slopes while plants which can tolerate little moisture grow along steep slopes.

3. It was also observed that mountains slopes which are oriented facing the sun generally have thicker plant growth than those on the shaded side.

These are some observations that illustrate the effect of topography of the land on plant and animal life, more specifically altitude or elevation angle of slope and orientation of the slope.

Climate (Factors)
Soil (Factors)
Topography (Factors)
Nutrients in the soil
Altitude or elevation
Acidity of the soil
Angle of the slope
Moisture content
Orientation of the slope
Of the soil

Four Main Abiotic Factors

Abiotic or non-living things contribute to the physical components of the environment such as water, soil, air, heat and light. They are continually subjected in different situations in the physical environment such as erosion, typhoons, volcanic events, ocean current and etc. It can cause extinction any type of organism as a threat and may cause alteration to form new species and hybrid as well.

1. Water - it is an essential part in the environment where organism can find their food, shelter, a way to escape from predator, and a place for marine life. Bodies of water act as "heat sink" to slow down the large temperature changes creating a more stable environment. The bodies of living things are almost made up of water, likewise, the earth is 70% water and 30% land. Helps in the process of photosynthesis and other cycles in nature…

2. Air - is a mixture of several gases; it is the second key abiotic factors that contribute to ecosystem, where birds can fly and seeds can be disperse. Air composes of different gases: 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and the remaining 1%contains mostly of hydrogen, carbon diode, water, helium, argon and krypton. They endlessly circulate where all life depends.

3. Soil - is the third major abiotic key for physical environment. Basic medium for land base ecosystem where plants grow in and some organism lives on it. Soil is a natural reservoir for the inorganic mineral elements such as iron, zinc, calcium and phosphorus. It also contains humus which is certainly come from human and decayed plants. Soil which contains more humus is support more plant and animal life. It affects countless organisms.

4. Heat - is the fourth abiotic major factors that affects physical environment. Most heat energy here on earth surface originates and come from the sun. The effect of heat are very obvious, tropical environment support different organism than cold environment. Temperature affects what kind of organism can live in a certain place.

References; Science and Technology by Lilia M. Rabago Ph. D , Crescensia C. Joaquin Ph.D, Catherine B. Lagunzad , PH. D, Encarta, Youtube

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