abiotic components (also known as abiotic factors) are non-living chemical and physical factors in the environment, which affect ecosystems. Each abiotic component influences the number and variety of plants that grow in an ecosystem, which in turn has an influence on the variety of animals that live there. The four major abiotic components are: climate, parent material and soil, topography, and natural disturbances.
From the viewpoint of biology, abiotic factors can be classified as light or more generally radiation, temperature, water, the chemical surrounding composed of the terrestrial atmospheric gases, as well as soil and more.
The macroscopic climate often influences each of the above. Not to mention pressure and even sound waves if working within marine- or terrestrial environments.
The Biome is defined as environments where organisms live in accordance to their environments.
Those underlying factors affect different plants, animals and fungi to different extents. Some plants are mostly water starved, so humidity plays a larger role in their biology. If there is little or no sunlight then plants may wither and die from not being able to get enough sunlight to do photosynthesis.
Many archaebacteria require very high temperatures, or pressures, or unusual concentrations of chemical substances such as sulfur, because of their specialization into extreme conditions.
Certain fungi have evolved to survive mostly at the temperature, the humidity, and stability of their environment.
Abiotic factors in various components that determine the physical space in which living things live, among the most important, we find:
Climate includes the rainfall, temperature and wind patterns that occur in an area, and is the most important abiotic component of a grassland ecosystem. Temperature, in tandem with precipitation, determines whether grasslands, forests, or some combination of these two, form. The amount and distribution of the rainfall an area receives in a year influences the types and productivity of grassland plants.
It is one of the commonest of all substances. It primary source is rainfall. Without it, life is impossible. The Earth is made up two-thirds water and even our body is made up of two-thirds of water. Dissolved oxygen in water enables animals and plants to live in it. Fish absorb oxygen from water as it passes over their gills. Plants take up water from the soil. Farmers have to water their crops at regular intervals. Our plants have a fixed amount of water. Hence, we should use it carefully. We should never waste water.
Temperature is defined as the measure of the degree of hotness. The temperature of a place keeps on changing. It can be measured by a thermometer. The range of temperature at a place controls the distribution of animals. Some animals and plants can survive in hot places and some in cold places. Camels can tolerate high temperatures of deserts. Similarly cacti can live in deserts. Cacti store water in their stems. They have leaves which have been modified to form spines which help them to reduce water loss. Some animals like snakes, frogs and lizards become less active in winter. This is called hibernation.
Light helps plants to grow their food. Plants make food by the process of photosynthesis.
The uppermost layer of the Earth’s crust is called soil. It forms when rock is worn down by wind and rain, broken up by plant roots and enriched by dead leaves. Soils consist of three parts:
•The remains of dead plants and animals
•Animals still living
Soil is a medium that supports the growth of plants. It contains water and minerals which plants take in with the help of roots. As plants are the basis of the food chains in most ecosystems, soil is an important constituent of the Abiotic environment. If we dig deep into the ground, we will find that each layer of soil is different. Top layer of soil is dark in color. Plants grow in the dark-colored layer of soil. This is called the topsoil.
Air has oxygen in it no organisms can survive without oxygen. Plants produce oxygen during photosynthesis. Animals and human beings take in oxygen and give out carbon dioxide. Thus a balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide is maintained. Fast blowing air is called wind. Winds ca cause heavy damage. But it can also help in the dispersal of seeds. Plants depend on wind for pollination. Wind also helps in dispersal of seeds.
Biotic components’ are the living things that shape an ecosystem. A ‘biotic factor’ is any living component that affects another organism, including animals that consume the organism in question, and the living food that the organism consumes. Each biotic factor needs energy to do work and food for proper growth. Biotic factors include human influence
Biotic components usually include:
•Producers, i.e. autotrophs: e.g. plants, they convert the energy [from photosynthesis (the transfer of sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into energy), or other sources such as hydrothermal vents] into food. •Consumers, i.e. heterotrophs: e.g. animals, they depend upon producers (occasionally other consumers) for food. •Decomposers, i.e. detritivores: e.g. fungi and bacteria, they break down chemicals from producers and consumers (usually dead) into simpler form which can be reused. Producers are also able to capture the sun’s energy through photosynthesis and absorb nutrients from the soil, storing them for future use by themselves and by other organisms. Grasses, shrubs, trees, mosses, lichens, and cyanobacteria are some of the many producers found in a grassland ecosystem.
When these plants die they provide energy for a host of insects, fungi and bacteria that live in and on the soil and feed on plant debris. Grasses are an important source of food for large grazing animals such as Sheep, Mule Deer and Elk, and for much smaller animals such as marmots, Pocket Gophers and mice. Consumers are organisms that do not have the ability to capture the energy produced by the sun, but consume plant and/or animal material to gain their energy for growth and activity. Consumers are further divided into three types based on their ability to digest plant and animal material: Herbivores eat only plants, such as the elk that graze the grasslands of the Columbia valley, or an insect nibbling on the leaf of a sticky geranium. Omnivores eat both plants and animals, such as the black bear.
Carnivores eat only animals, such as the red-tailed hawk or western rattlesnake. Decomposers include the insects, fungi, algae and bacteria both on the ground and in the soil that help to break down the organic layer to provide nutrients for growing plants. There are many millions of these organisms in the world. Soil has many biotic functions in a grasslands ecosystem. It provides the material in which plants grow, holds moisture for plants to absorb, is the “recycling bin” for plant and animal matter, and provides an important habitat for soil organisms. Soil is a vital link between the biotic and abiotic parts of a grassland ecosystem.
These two components share the relationship of being dependent on each other and in this sense they constitute an ecosystem. In order to better grasp the abiotic and biotic components of an eco-system,