What is abiotic factor? Characteristics and importance

What is abiotic factor? Characteristics and importance

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What is abiotic factor? Characteristics and importance

In the ecosystem we find the abiotic factors that shape the landscape and topography and biology is what “creates life”. To understand simply what abiotic factors are, we must first know the types of ecosystems . These ecosystems have an important relationship with the abiotic factors that facilitate it.

Do you want to know what abiotic factors are and how they regulate the ecosystem? Here we explain everything to you in great detail.

>>> The difference between abiotic and biotic factors

Abiotic factors

Abiotic factors

When we analyze an entire ecosystem, we find that it is made up of a group of living organisms and other non-living elements. Living organisms are all that make up the flora and fauna, on the other hand microorganisms and bacteria. Everything that is alive acts simultaneously on the characteristics of the ecosystem.

In turn, these organisms are supported by abiotic factors. These are the non-living elements that make up the material elements. These elements are also known as essential resources for sentient beings. Among the abiotic elements we find inorganic matter, rocks and minerals, the amount of incoming sunlight, water, oxygen and any non-living elements. Organisms can use these elements to live and grow.

For example, a bedrock with fissures where several species of lichens live is considered a mini-ecosystem. This microsystem is made up of lichen as a biotic factor and rocks as an abiotic factor. The fact that an abiotic element is lifeless does not mean that it evolved over time or that it changed its composition.

Assume that rock undergoes a long period of time subject to large differences in temperature, snowfall, strong erosion, wind, etc. Over the years, the rock will fragment, move, erode, crack, etc. , depending on the substrate in which it is located and the activity of different organisms on it, it can change its composition. For example, the precipitation of calcium carbonate in stalactites and stalagmites.

Biocene and biotope

Biocene and biotope

In order not to have much difficulty in understanding the concept of abiotic, we will add a clear separation by adding two concepts that will clarify what it is.

  • Biocene: it is about all living organisms found in an ecosystem. Plants, animals, fungi and bacteria.
  • Biological isotopes: they are all characteristics of the non-living elements of an ecosystem. Wind, water, minerals, rocks, sunlight, rain, soil, etc

It can be summarized that abiotic factors are all non-living elements that are essential components that make up ecosystems and support life. Water is the most (relatively) important abiotic factor for the existence of life. Without it, vegetation cannot exist and with it neither herbivores, carnivores nor herbivores for food, etc. The food chain would not exist as we know it . Nowadays.

These physical factors also affect an organism’s ability not only to survive, but also to reproduce. It’s as if it were an inert environment. Depending on rain, existence of protection, shelter, strong winds, solar radiation, etc. Many species are forced to search for more optimal environmental conditions for their survival and later reproduction.

Key abiotic factors in marine and terrestrial ecosystems

We will now give examples of abiotic factors that can exist in both marine and terrestrial ecosystems. In this way, you will be able to see more clearly what conditions beings must follow if they want to exist.

They are important to study because it is they who will determine the type of life that can develop in different places. Ecosystems where there is a lot of snow are not the same as where there are high temperatures and lots of sand.

  • Terrestrial ecosystem . In these ecosystems we find climate, soil, water availability, relief and altitude as the main abiotic factors. These factors are factors that determine the existence of one type of life or another.
  • Marine ecosystems. Here we have more elements to facilitate life. Sun, water soluble air, space, relief, salinity, temperature, climate, temperature and pressure. This facilitates the life of various animals such as drop fish, which are considered the ugliest animals in the world that live at the depths, or plankton closer to the surface because of the amount of solar radiation available bigger.


We will describe the main abiotic factors in more detail.

  • Light It is energy that comes from the sun. Absolutely necessary to carry out photosynthesis in plants. The more light an aquatic ecosystem has, the more phytoplankton there will be. This phytoplankton acts as food for many species.
  • Aid. Life was created at sea level unlike at 3,000 meters above sea level. Same if it is a plain or a steep mountain.
  • Pressure. It works mainly on the seabed. In these environments, organisms must undergo adaptation in order to survive.
  • Water. Necessary for life. It is also a limiting factor in certain ecosystems.
  • Humidity. Many living things, such as fungi and some plants, need moisture to live.
  • Wind . It can change the temperature and erosion of a place.
  • Salinity of water. Depending on the ability of each organism to adapt to salinity more or less, the flora and fauna developing in the saline ecosystem will depend.
  • Temperature. Clearly, the temperature at which organisms grow is a game changer. The polar cap is not like the desert.
  • Nutrients The amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, the nitrogen that plants incorporate, or the CO2 used for gas exchange, are also nutrients that limit the survival of organisms.

I hope that with all this information, you can learn in more detail what abiotic factors are and their importance in the ecosystem. As you can see, balance in nature is essential for life to work out as we know it.

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