Biotic and Abiotic Components of Ecosystem | Environment

Abiotic components are usually the non-living components of our ecosystem which are sun, rainfall, temperature, air, and soil. Biotic components are made up of organisms, living organisms, dead organisms, and the waste products of these.

Abiotic Components

Abiotic components are usually the non-living components of our ecosystem which are, sun (solar energy), rainfall, temperature, air, and soil. The abiotic components are affected by many things such as altitude, location and seasons.

 

  • For example, the temperature changes from the equator to the pole.

  • At the equator, we have a high temperature while at the poles we have a very little temperature.
     

According to the changes in these abiotic components, the ecosystem will also be different. The fruits, trees, animals and everything vary accordingly. Based on the tolerance of the animals they are classified into two

 

  • Eurythermal: the animals which have a wide range of tolerance. These animals can live in every environment with different temperatures.

  • Sterotherml: the animals which do not have a wide range of tolerance. These animals can only live in a particular environment.


Water is a very essential part of the survival of life on earth. According to PH and salinity, life will be different in every region. Sunlight also plays a prominent role in the survival of life on earth. According to the sunlight also life varies as we can see on the equator and poles.
 

Soil is of two types; The difference in the soil also makes life different. The grain size of the soil, soil composition, water holding capacity, PH everything matters

 

  • Imported: soil which was carried down with the help of air or water from the glaciers or mountains.

  • Sedimentary: the soil which is formed normally through sedimentation.

Ethical theories should be chosen according to the given situation. As the carpenter selects the tool according to the work he has to do. We can understand it further using a case study
    The case I: building a dam: building a dam has advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are that people get water for irrigation and power. The disadvantage is that the village nearby will be submerged.
    case II: chemical plant: building a chemical plant too has advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are that the people nearby get a job, and the chemical produced there can be used for making medicines and useful drugs. The disadvantages are that the chemical plant releases hazardous waste into water bodies or fields which will affect the people as well as animals.
Here when we discuss these two cases, we find that the second case has more disadvantages than the advantage it has. Thus the decision would be taken that the plant should not be constructed on the grounds of the right ethics. And then the first case has more advantage than the disadvantage it has. Though the village will be submerged it can be relocated and given compensation. So here we will choose to build the dam on the grounds of the utilitarianism concept.
So according to the situation we choose different ethical theories. Ethics are chosen according to the rules and principles and not according to the after-effects or consequences.

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Response to abiotic factors

The abiotic factors change from weather to weather, climate to climate, season to season and place to place.

 

Based upon that the organisms which live in the area respond to the abiotic factors for their survival and thus we see the difference in animals according to place, climate, etc

Evolution

Evolution is the process by which organisms adapt to a new environment for their survival. Many of the species have undergone evolution to maintain an internal environment, a constant internal environment. So whatever changes happen outside will not affect the organism. With the help of this constant internal environment, the organism can survive the external environment. But that’s only up to a certain range if the outer environment gets very unadaptable the organism will die. This process by which an organism tends to maintain a constant internal environment is known as the Homeostasis.

 

 

  • There are many ways by which the organism maintains a constant internal environment.

  • One such way is by maintaining the body temperature or osmotic concentration of body fluids.

  • Every animal doesn’t respond to the abiotic factors in the same way. Thus there are other ways also to maintain a favourable condition

Regulate

It is a process in which an organism can regulate this homeostasis by physiological means. For example: when the human body is exposed to cold it first starts to sweat giving the body a little heat and even if the cold persists the body starts to shiver to cause heat in the body thus the human body regulates the temperature

Conform

It is a process by which the organism moves from one place to another when the environment becomes unbearable. For example, lizards move from a place to another during cold looking for sunlight
 

But if this stressful situation is prevailing the organisms has two options - migrate or suspend

 

Migrate

 

The organism goes away or moves to another favourable place temporarily until the environment is favourable again there. For example, birds migrate from cold places to hot places during winter.

 

Suspend


During any unfavourable condition the organism becomes dormant. That is the organism form walled spores around its body and when the condition is back to normal it comes back to the normal stage. This usually happens in bacteria and fungi.

 

  • Another thing which an organism does is sleep for a long time suspending from the unbearable environment.

  • For example, bears go hibernating for six long months when there is extreme cold.
     

This is how organisms survive the changing external environment.

Bioaccumulation

When the organisms consume other organisms that have toxic chemicals on their body, gradually these substances or toxic chemicals, such as pesticides, are accumulated on the body of this organism.

Biotic Components

Biotic components are made up of organisms, living organisms, dead organisms, and the waste products of these. Biotic components are classified upon how they obtain energy
 

  • Autotrophs: these organisms feed themselves and thus known as self-feeders. They prepare their food using sunlight, water, CO2 and nutrients. They are also known as producers.
     

  • Heterotrophs: these organisms can’t produce their food and thus rely on the other organisms for their energy requirements. They are also called consumers as they consume food from the producers.
     

Heterotrophs are further classified on the basis on what they eat

  • Herbivores: Animals that consume plants. Example: cow, goat

  • Carnivores: animals that consume other animals. Example: tiger, lion.

  • Omnivores: animals that consume both plants and other animals. Example: humans.

There is another category apart from the heterotrophs and autotrophs without which the life can’t function. They are the decomposers.

 

Decomposers


They are the second most important organisms after the producers. These decomposers also help the producers to produce their food too. They are the second most important organisms because they decompose all the remaining organic matter. They also provide nutrients which the producers use to produce food. If these nutrients are not present life won’t be possible on earth.
 

Decomposers are of two types;
 

  • Detrivores: these decomposers or organisms decompose the organic matter by eating the organic matter and digesting it internally. Example: dung beetle.

  • Saprotrophs: these organisms cannot eat the organic matter directly because they don’t have an internal digestive system. They secrete digestive enzymes with the help of these digestive enzymes the organic matter breaks down and changes its form. Then the organism can consume it. Example: fungi, bacteria.


Interaction between the organisms in an ecosystem

 

These interactions can be either beneficial for both the species or harmful for both the species or neutral for both. Based on the level of gain the species acquire, this interaction is classified into


Competition

 

When there are two or more species with limited resources these species have to compete with each other for limited resources. Because of this competition both the species are affected negatively.
 

Predation

 

Here one species eats the other species. In this, it is beneficial for the hunter and harmful for the prey. Example: when a tiger hunts a deer the dear which is the prey is affected harmfully and the hunter tiger is benefitted. 
 

Mutualism

 

Both the species are benefitted. Example: when a fungus is grown on a plant the fungi absorb the food from the plan and the fungi are benefitted and as in return the fungi decomposes and provides nutrients to the plant and the plant is also benefitted. Thus both the species are benefited and it is a mutual benefit.
 

Commensalism

 

In this type of interaction only one species is benefitted and the other species is unaffected. Example: small plants that grow on other big plants. The small plant gets nutrients from the big one and is benefitted but there no benefit for the big plant.

 

Parasitism

 

In this interaction, one species is benefitted and is harmful to the other species. Example: tapeworms that live in the intestines of animals. The tapeworm is benefitted from the animal’s body while it is harmful to the animal.

 

Amensalism

 

This interaction is a very interesting one as no one is benefitted. One species harms the other species but also this species is not benefitted. Example: penicillium which forms on bread. There are many other bacteria on bread and this penicillium secretes penicillin which causes to kill the bacteria and this penicillium is not benefitted from it.

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Generally speaking from the last year patterns, questions are of two types.

1. General understanding of topics

 

For example, they ask questions like - Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is aimed to help ________. 
If you have understood EIA, this question can be answered easily.

 

2. Specific questions/ terms 

 

For example, they ask questions like - The ‘Minamata Tragedy’ was caused by the eating of fish growing in the Minamata Bay contaminated with _________. 
This kind of questions needs extra reading after understanding the topics.

 

Our study package for ESE General Studies is designed as per this latest question pattern. 

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