Abiotic factors


Ecological factors are elements of an environment that have an impact on fauna and flora. Two types of ecological factors are distinguished: biotic factors and abiotic factors . The latter are responsible for ensuring that the environment in which life develops is suitable for animal and plant species. Hence, its great importance for ecosystems.


What is abiotic

Abiotic is a term associated with biology and that refers to all non-living environments. This term is opposite to the biotic term and allows to designate what is not part of or is not the result of living beings. On the other hand, it is important to note that the abiotic components configure the biotope while the biotic components form the biocenosis. The abiotic refers to the physical environment, the place of life in which the biocenosis develops.


Abiotic factors are air, water, hydrostatic pressure , temperature, among others. For example, a plant (biotic) needs sunlight (abiotic), air (abiotic), and water (abiotic).

  • Types and examples of abiotic factors
  • Sidic factors
  • Edaphic (soil) factors
  • Climatic factors
  • Chemical factors

Types and examples of abiotic factors

Abiotic factors are the set of physical or chemical phenomena in the environment that influence the life of living beings and their adaptation to their environment. In this way, they play a fundamental role in the ecological balance of the planet.

This being the case, abiotic factors do not depend on living beings. They can be classified into the following categories:

Sidic factors

It refers to those properties of the earth, the sun and the satellites that have an ecological implication. Among them are:

  • Gravity: The force of gravity acts on the muscular development, the skeletal structure and the movement of the fluids of the species.
  • The atmospheric pressure : Changes in atmospheric pressure at different points of the earth causes air to move from one place to another causing the winds.

Edaphic (soil) factors

The development of the species is variable depending on the structure, the composition, the humus content and the richness of the microbial life of the soils.

  • The structure of the soil: This factor refers to the organization of the soil or the spatial organization of the particles that compose it.
  • The granulometry: The texture of the soil is determined by the thickness of the particles that compose it (sands, silts, clays).
  • The content of mineral salts
  • Humus content: The nature of humus depends on the intensity of mineralization and humidification, influenced by biological activity. This factor is conditioned by other factors such as climate, vegetation, the nature of the bedrock and the arrangement of the relief.

Climatic factors

  • Temperature: It is the most important climatic factor since all metabolic processes depend on it. For example, this factor is very useful for ectodermal organisms, that is, those that do not have the capacity to regulate their body temperature, such as fish, amphibians and reptiles. On the other hand, endoderms have the ability to regulate their temperature thanks to the production of energy by internal mechanisms.
  • Sunlight: It is the main source of energy for living beings. This factor acts more on green plant species than on animal species. It is essential for photosynthetic living things. The photoperiod, quantity, and quality of light that living organisms receive will influence their biology , morphology, and behaviors. On the other hand, the amount of daylight hours changes according to the seasons of the year and latitude.

Chemical factors

  • Air: This factor is essential for there to be life on Earth. Provides oxygen and carbon dioxide to living beings. It also provides nitrogen and gaseous water that are permanently cycled in the biosphere.
  • Water: This liquid factor is essential for the life of aquatic or terrestrial organisms. Water from natural environments contains dissolved mineral substances that can influence the presence or absence of some species.
  • PH: The acidity of the environment plays an important role in the distribution of organisms, namely, basophils that live in an alkaline environment, acidophiles that live in an acidic environment, and neutrophils that live in a neutral environment.
  • Mineral ions: Chlorine, magnesium, potassium, among others, are essential for the life of animal and plant species.
  • Salinity: This factor plays a determining role in aquatic environments. This is how there are animals that live in fresh or salty waters according to their characteristics.

Leave a Comment