Biotic and Abiotic Components of Environment
Natural environment includes all the living and non-living components occurring naturally on Earth. The biological components of the ecosystem that is the biotic components interact with the physical entities (abiotic components). The scientific study of the interaction of biotic community with each other and with abiotic components is known as Ecology.
The abiotic components are also known as the abiotic factors. The abiotic factors in ecology consist of the non-living and physical factors of the environment. Non-living components like pH value, solids, water, intensity of light as energy source, temperature of the atmosphere, humidity, physical factors of land like altitude, gradient and region and microclimate. The abiotic components have a strong influence on the distribution, behavior, relationship and structure of the living organisms.
Biotic components are the living factors of the ecosystem. A biotic factor is any living component that includes a number of interrelated populations of different species in a common environment. A biotic factor can be any organism that affects any other organism including animals that consume other organism and food the organism consumes. Biotic factors in an environment require food and energy to survive. Based on the role of the biotic components in the ecosystem they are categorized into three main categories.
Producers - These are organisms that synthesize organic substances. Example: Plants.
Consumers - These are organisms that feed on other organisms. Consumers are of three trophic levels depending on the level and category of their food; they are primary consumer, secondary and tertiary consumers.
Decomposers - These are saprophytes - microorganisms that feed on dead and decayed waste matter. Example: Bacteria and fungi.