Abiotic factors

Know in a one-minute about Abiotic factors

  • Abiotic factors refer to the non-living components of the environment.
  • It plays an essential role in shaping the ecosystem.
  • Abiotic factors, like sunlight, temperature, water, soil, and air, are interrelated with biotic factors.
  • Abiotic factors are critical in controlling the biodiversity of an ecosystem.
  • As they are the source of energy in the food chain and influence the survivability and population of organisms.
  • Unlike biotic components, abiotic factors are not dependent on other living organisms.
  • The physical and chemical properties of abiotic factors affect the community, population, and biosphere and exist naturally in the environment.


Ecosystems is having two factors namely biotic factors and abiotic factors. The abiotic factors of the ecosystem are the non-living part, for example, the climate, soil, and water, etc.

The environment is formed by the combination of living and nonliving elements. Organisms have a close relationship with the abiotic factors of the environment i.e. ecosystem. Every living thing has a specific habitat. And their environment developed around that habitat.

The ecosystem or environment is made up of two factors. Among them, the main elements are soil, water, and air. These factors are abiotic factors. The three elements provide shelter and food to living things (1).

Different organisms of the world are not only dependent on each other to survive, but they are also dependent on the main elements of the environment, soil, water, and air. That is why it is never possible to separate organisms and their environment. In this way, the abiotic elements in the environment combined with the biotic elements to form an ecosystem. In this way, the balance of the environment is maintained as a result of the mutual interaction of biotic and abiotic factors (2) & (5).

About abiotic factors

Those elements which do not act or live in any environment are called abiotic factors. These are the elements of an environment that are not derived from living organisms or due to biological activity. As an example, the type of soil, temperature, rainfall, amount of sunlight, etc. are abiotic factors.


The chemical and physical factors of an ecosystem are collectively called abiotic factors. These factors are divided into three categories.

1. Inorganic factors

There are some elements in the environment that maintain the balance of the environment through the biogeochemical cycle, called inorganic factors. Carbon dioxide, oxygen, calcium, humic acid, phosphorus, nitrogen, etc. are the inorganic factors.

2. Organic factors

Those substances which are obtained from carbohydrates, proteins, fats, humus, etc. produced by the decomposition of dead plant and animal remains and which form a combination of living and inorganic substances in the environment are called organic factors.

3. Physical factors

These are natural elements. Water, soil, sunlight, wind, etc. are physical abiotic factors (3) & (6).

Detail description

In the discussion of biology and ecology, the factors of an ecosystem or environment that do not originate from organisms or biological activity and that can affect the organisms located in that ecosystem or environment, are called abiotic factors. The amount of sunlight, type of soil, rock types, etc. is abiotic factors.

Some characteristics of abiotic factors are

  • Abiotic factors are those non-living chemical and physical factors of the natural environment that together form the inorganic environment.
  • They include all climatic, geological, and atmospheric aspects and they affect the bio-environment.
  • These factors serve as the substrate or basis of biology.
  • They can affect numerous species of organisms.
  • Abiotic factors include those physical conditions and inorganic resources that can affect the development, growth, maintenance, and reproduction of organisms.
  • Desorption of abiotic factors may occur due to chemical or physical processes (1) & (4).

Forest abiotic factors

1. Climate

In summer, the average temperature in the forest is 25°C and in winter the average temperature is about 10°C. Here the annual precipitation is more than 200 mm. The annual temperature is high to moderate. Annual average relative humidity in these regions varies from 77-88 %. Here rainfall is mostly from the cumulonimbus cloud in the circulation process. Wind velocity is higher at the upper levels of the forest, but at lower levels, it decreases.

2. Soil

The soil is particularly fertile in the forest. This is because the leaves of the various trees in the forest fall on the ground and they decompose and mix with the soil as humus. As a result, the soil is very fertile. In dense forests, raindrop does not fall directly to the ground. That is why the soil is not easily eroded. The amount of organic matter in the soil is very low due to excess rainfall. The surface of the soil is only 5 to 7 inches thick.

3. Amount of sunlight

The plants in the forest region are affected by the amount of sunlight. They formed their food through the photosynthesis process with the help of sunlight. The plant receives 12 hours of sunlight. But the interior of the forest is dense, so sunlight reaches less here. The Sun is the main energy source of an ecosystem.

4. Wind

Wind increases the rate of water loss from the organisms. The formation of rain in the forest is controlled by the wind. It makes the fire warmer and faster. Strong winds blow in the forest ecosystem. These abiotic factors are ecological providers. In the forest ecosystem, their role depends on the strength and stability of the trees in the forest.

5. Topography

Topography influences the distribution of plant species. The forest floor is flat. As a result, the soil has a high water-holding capacity. And the soil here is fertile, because of the topography of the forest. This type of topography is conducive for plants and animals to grow and live (2) & (4).

Desert abiotic factors

1. High temperature

Deserts are mainly dry regions with predominantly warm climates, but cooler climates also prevail in these regions. The difference between day and night temperatures in the desert is very high. During the day the temperature rises a lot and at night the temperature drops a lot. The temperature drops below zero degrees. The temperature range in this ecosystem is extremely high. In the summer, the temperature is very high, 30 to 50°C. But night temperature can drop -4°C.

2. Barren soil

Soil is barren in the desert region. Desert soils do not have any organic matter like nitrogen, phosphorus, etc. which are essential for plant growth. In the desert region, the soil is dry and rocky, sandy soil. The soil is not ideal for plant growth or agriculture. So big trees are not seen here. The Cactus is the most common tree in the desert ecosystem. Dates, cotton, millet, etc. are also cultivated.

3. Low Precipitation

Precipitation is a major feature of desert ecosystems. Rainfall in the desert is very low. It is usually less than 500 mm per year. The plants and animals that live in this desert ecosystem must be able to survive with little water. Cactus trees are developed here. They store the water in their stems during the rainy season. In this way, they can survive here. There is no rainfall here during summer. Here evaporation is more than precipitation.

4. Wind type

The Desert region is located far from the oceans. So the wind in the desert lacks moisture and is extremely dry. Winds blow through some deserts at speeds of around 100 km per hour. The wind can carry sand and dust across continents and even oceans. Most deserts are located in subtropical high-pressure areas, so winds blow quickly, blowing more than half a mile per minute (4).

Aquatic abiotic factors

1. Sunlight

Sunlight refers to the availability of the rays of the sun in an ecosystem. In aquatic environments, sunlight is essential for photosynthesis in the producers of the aquatic region.

2. Salinity

Salinity is one of the abiotic factors. For many animals, salinity represents a necessary condition for survival. Because it affects the amount of water level in the body, as well as the concentration of ions.

3. Oxygen level

Oxygen level describes the amount of oxygen dissolved in an aquatic region. As with many other terrestrial organisms, oxygen constitutes a limiting factor in aquatic environments. Many plants and animals depend on oxygen for breathing, energy production, etc.

4. Temperature

Temperature indicates the hotness or coldness of the water. It is also significant in determining the distribution of organisms within the aquatic environment. Some animals in depth water can only live in warm environments, while other animals have to live in cold aquatic environments.

5. Acidity

It is the indicator of the pH level of water. Living organisms can only survive within a limited pH range. As an example, coral requires warm aquatic environments with low levels of acidity. When acidity increases, the corals die. There are some depth sea animals that have adapted to live in an aquatic region. They are characterized by high levels of acidity. These are eels, octopuses, etc. These animals lived near seafloor vents.

6. Depth

Depth means the height of the water column. An aquatic ecosystem is an amalgamation of many species. For example, some marine animals are able to live only in the upper layers of water, where sunlight can penetrate. Many animals, such as octopi and lamprey eels, must live in the deeper parts of the ocean. Depth determines the distribution of aquatic organisms (1) & (4).


1. What abiotic factors are in the desert?

Climate (temperature, rainfall), barren soil, and types of wind are the abiotic factors in the desert.

2. What abiotic factors affect aquatic ecosystems?

Salinity, temperature, depth, acidity, and amount of sunlight are the abiotic factors that affect the aquatic ecosystems

3. What abiotic factors determine the type of biome?

Temperature and precipitation are two types of abiotic factors that determine the type of biome.

4. How abiotic factors affect biotic factors

The biotic and abiotic factors are interrelated. As a result, the effect of one element on another is noticeable. As an example, green plants are the primary biotic factors. Green plants absorb water and mineral salts from the soil. Plant leaves absorb water and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis. In this case, green plants are the biotic factor, and water and carbon dioxide are the abiotic factors. Green plants (biotic factors) are affected by water and carbon dioxide (biotic factors) through photosynthesis. Thus biotic factors are related to abiotic factors (5).

5. How do abiotic factors affect the ecosystem?

Abiotic factors are non-living things. They shape the environment. They affect the ability of organisms to survive. These also restrict the growth of populations. In an ecosystem, these factors help to determine the types and numbers of living things able to exist within an environment.

6. How abiotic factors affect an ecosystem

  •  Abiotic factors control the development of organisms.
  • The shape of the ecosystem is maintained by these factors.
  • Types and numbers of living things that are able to exist within an ecosystem are determined by abiotic factors.
  • Abiotic factors controlled the biodiversity of an ecosystem.

7. How abiotic factors affect living organisms

They produced their food with the help of abiotic factors. As an example, plants are living organisms. They absorb water and minerals from the soil and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Plants make their own food through photosynthesis by absorbing sunlight (abiotic factor). And other living organisms in an environment take that food as their own food. In this way, abiotic factors affect living organisms (1).

Written By: Manisha Bharati

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