Difference between Abiotic and Biotic Factors

The difference between abiotic and biotic factors is that abiotic factors are nonliving chemical or physical entities of the environment like air, soil, water, minerals, and sunlight while biotic factors are alive or once-living organisms of the ecosystem. They can reproduce, e.g., fungi, birds, animals, and bacteria.

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Both abiotic and biotic factors constitute the environment and form the ecosystem. Both are part and parcel of an ecosystem. The entities in the ecosystem which are nonliving, i.e., physical and chemical entities of the ecosystem are called abiotic factors while the living organisms constitute the biotic factors of the ecosystem.

Abiotic components are obtained from hydrosphere, lithosphere or atmosphere while biotic components are obtained from the biosphere.

Abiotic factors do not have any property of life while biotic components do have the essential properties of life. Since they are living organisms, they breathe, reproduce the next progeny, have the basic unit of life, i.e., cell, metabolism takes place in them and have senses.

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The examples of abiotic factors are light, wind, water, soil, humidity, minerals and gases. The examples of biotic components can be given as fishes, birds, animals, bacteria, fungi, plants, etc.

Abiotic factors affect the biotic components of the ecosystem. They have an impact on the ability of the organism to survive, reproduction, obtaining food and growth. They actually determine the number and kinds of organisms able to survive in the ecosystem. The biotic components have an impact on the abiotic components of the ecosystem by interacting with each other, producing waste material, parasitism and predation. Both biotic and abiotic components affect the biosphere, biome, ecosystem, community, population, species and individuals.

Biotic components are divided into three classes, i.e., autotrophs, heterotrophs, and detritivores. Autotrophs are those organisms which synthesize their own food by the process of photosynthesis, e.g., plants and green algae. Heterotrophs are those organisms which obtain food from producers. The example can be given as animals. Detritivores or decomposers are those who obtain energy by decomposing dead things. They include earthworms, dung beetles, sea stars and fungi. There are three categories of abiotic factors, i.e., climatic factors (water, sunlight, temperature, and pH, etc.) , edaphic factors (that include geography and land properties, e.g., mineral content) and social factors that include, how the resources in the area and land are consumed.

Comparison Chart

Basis Abiotic factors Biotic factors
Definition Abiotic factors contribute to nonliving components of the ecosystem. Biotic factors contribute to living components of the ecosystem and the food that organisms take. (Living Organisms)
They include They include physical and chemical entities They include living organisms and their food.
Examples Their examples can be given as water, air, soil, sunlight, temperature, and pH, etc. Their examples can be given as plants, animals, birds, fishes, fungi, bacteria, an ameba, etc.
Categories They are divided into three main categories.1.climatic factors like water, humidity, sunlight, etc.2.Edaphic factors that include soil characteristics (e.g., mineral content) and geography of the land.3.social, factors, i.e., how land and resources are consumed. They are also divided into three categories, autotrophs, heterotrophs and decomposers or detritivores. Autotrophs synthesize their own food by the process of photosynthesis, e.g. plants and green algae. Heterotrophs obtain their food from plants for example animals. Decomposers or detritivores obtain energy by decomposing the dead material, e.g. fungi, starfish, earthworms, dung beetles.
Obtained from Abiotic components of the ecosystem are obtained from hydrosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere. Biotic components of the ecosystem are obtained from the biosphere.
Properties of life They do not have any property of life. They do have properties of life. Since they are living organisms, they breathe, reproduce sexually or asexually, the basic unit of life (cell) is present in living entities, metabolism takes place in them, and they have senses.
They influence They influence the biotic components of the environment. They influence the way of obtaining the energy of the biotic components, the way of reproduction and provision of resources to them. They influence the abiotic components of the environment by the production of waste material, by exchange of gases and by using the other resources.

What are Abiotic Factors?

“bios” means life. As the name indicates, abiotic factors mean the nonliving factors of the ecosystem. They are in fact the physical and chemical factors of the environment. They are got from hydrosphere, atmosphere or lithosphere. They are divided into three categories, i.e., climatic factors like water, sunlight, humidity, the temperature of the environment, etc. Edaphic factors are related to land and geography, e.g., the moisture content of the soil, type of soil of a part of the land, etc.

Social factors denote how the land and its resources are consumed by the biotic factors and how the interaction between abiotic and biotic components is going on. Abiotic factors leave their influence on the biotic components of the environment. They have an impact on their way of obtaining food and energy and mode of reproduction. They play an important part in the provision of resources to the biotic components. Since abiotic components are nonliving, they do not have the properties of life at all. The examples of abiotic components include soil, water, sunlight, temperature, pH and air, etc.

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What are Biotic Factors?

The biotic factors can be defined as living organisms and the food which they eat. Both contribute to the biotic components of the environment. Mainly, biotic components comprise of living entities; they have all the properties of life, i.e., they eat food for survival, metabolize nutrients, breath, response to stimuli, reproduce their progeny via the sexual or asexual method, grow, and have hereditary material, DNA or RNA. Biotic components of an ecosystem are dependant upon the abiotic components for their survival, reproduction, and growth. For example, the animals who perform sexual reproduction via external fertilization, need water for this purpose because they release their gametes in water.

The living organisms also need oxygen, water, food, temperature and adequate pH which are all the abiotic factors of the environment. Biotic components are of three types. Autotrophs or producers, heterotrophs or consumers or decomposers or detrivores. Autotrophs are those organisms who have the ability to synthesize their own food by the process of photosynthesis, e.g. plants and green algae. Heterotrophs are those who obtain their food from producers or plants. Decomposers are those who obtain food by decomposing the dead material for example fungi, starfish, earthworm, etc.

Key differences between Abiotic and Biotic Factors

  1. Biotic components are the living organisms or their food while the abiotic components are the nonliving things, e., chemical and physical factors of the environment.
  2. Abiotic components are divided into three types, e., climatic factors, edaphic factors, and social factors while biotic components are also divided into three categories, i.e., producers, consumers, and decomposers.

Conclusion

Both biotic and abiotic components are part of the environment. It is important for biology students to know the differences between them. In the above article, we learned the clear differences between biotic and abiotic components.

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