Every day you can discover something new from your surroundings.
Do you know how many types of living organisms there are? And what role do they play in their surroundings? These living organisms make up the biotic factor, and there are several types of biotic factors with different roles.
Biotic factors involve various types of living organisms that constitute the biotic components of the ecosystem. It includes the word biotic since bio means life.
All living organisms, that is, plants and animals and the microorganisms present in the environment, constitute the biotic components of the ecosystem.
Types of Biotic Factors
Based on their role in the ecosystem, they are divided into three main types:
Plants with the function of photosynthesis are considered producers called autotrophs . They are usually green and present on the first level of the food chain.
They create organic food from inorganic raw materials such as sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. They are also known as autotrophs, which means self-nourishing.
In a terrestrial ecosystem, primary producers are meadow and woody plants.
In an aquatic ecosystem, phytoplankton is a chief producer. The algae and the floating, submerged and marginal plants found along the edges are also part of the marine ecosystem.
Producers are also known as converters as they convert solar energy into chemical energy, which gets stored in the bonds of sugar for later use.
Consumers maintain the food chain or food cycle. They are those animals that are not capable of synthesising food materials and called as heterotrophs. Since they are dependent on the source, they are fed directly or indirectly with the help of producers.
Consumers are called heterotrophs and are of the following types:
- Primary consumers or First-order consumers.
- Secondary consumers, Second-order consumers, or primary carnivores.
- Tertiary consumers, Third-order consumers or secondary carnivores.
- Top carnivores
Decomposers feed on dead and decaying twigs. These are prophetic organisms or microorganisms who derive their food from organic matter present in mortal remains of plants and animals. They have digestive enzymes that help convert the organic substance into simple matter.
Microorganisms assimilate a part of the digested organic matter, and the rest is broken into simpler inorganic substances or points for recycling. They are in charge of the cyclic exchange of materials between the biotic community and the environment. Furthermore, they replenish the soil naturally with essential minerals for plant growth, and hence, maintain the ecosystem. This makes them essential components with a great significance in the environment.
They are also known as reducers, as they can degrade dead organisms and reduce their quantity on Earth. These composers include fungi, bacteria, and some flagellates. These flagellates are mostly found at the bottom of the water bodies, especially ponds.
Role of Biotic Factors
- They are essential in maintaining the functioning of nature.
- The producer is a biotic factor that provides food to the consumers.
- They maintain the food chain by providing food to one another.
- Biotic factors balance the food chain as consumers. They maintain the number of different species on different levels of the food chain by consuming them.
- Biotic factors are natural scavengers as they reduce the Earth’s organic remains.
- They replenish the soil naturally with minerals essential for plant growth and hence, maintain the ecosystem.
Biotic factors are part of ecosystems that possess a natural tendency to persist.
Biotic factors involved in producing food are known as producers. Those that consume the producers’ products are known as consumers. They help balance the food chain. And finally, as composers, biotic factors reduce organic remains on Earth.