Every environment contains what are called biotic and abiotic factors.
In this lesson you’ll learn the definition and importance of abiotic factors. You’ll also view some examples of abiotic factors that are present in the tropical rainforest.
Biotic vs. Abiotic Factors
Imagine that you’re an explorer.
You’re sent deep into a tropical rainforest on a mission to find and identify very specific objects for your country’s king. You have all of your protective gear, tools, and a team of explorers to assist you. Most importantly, you have your instructions from the king on what to bring back from your journey.
Once you make your way deep into the forest, you open up your instructions from the king. The instructions state that you are to bring back four abiotic factors from the rainforest. You ask your fellow explorers, ”What are abiotic factors?” One of your fellow explorers, Keesha, begins to explain.Keesha says, ”There are living and non-living things everywhere. Living things all have certain characteristics in common, such as the ability to reproduce. They all react to their environment, have a need for water, and require energy.
” She’s saying that living things are also referred to as biotic factors.The group nods as Keesha explains. One explorer, April, states that she sees a biotic factor right now, as she points to a toucan flying through the trees. Kevin, another explorer, states that he is leaning on a biotic factor, as he pushes himself off of the bark of a tree.
You say, ”That’s a great explanation, Keesha. However, the king asked us to also bring back four abiotic factors. What’s an abiotic factor?” Keesha replies, ”Well, it’s the exact opposite of a biotic factor.” She’s saying that an abiotic factor is an object that doesn’t display the characteristics of a living thing, so it’s a non-living thing. You, Kevin, Keesha, and April begin to think about some of the non-living, abiotic factors found around you.
You shout, ”Rainwater!”, Keesha yells, ”Soil!”, April shouts, ”Rocks!”’, and Kevin says, ”Sunlight!”
Biotic and Abiotic Factor Relationships
Congratulations! You and your fellow explorers have discovered some examples of biotic and abiotic factors. So how are these two factors related? Well, biotic factors depend upon the abiotic factors in their environment for survival.Abiotic factors (non-living things) in a tropical rainforest include temperature, humidity, soil composition, air, and many others. A few of the many biotic factors (living things) in that forest are toucans, frogs, snakes, and anteaters.
All of the biotic factors are dependent upon the abiotic factors. For example, the soil composition, temperature, and humidity level (all abiotic factors) are responsible for creating the environment in which the toucans, frogs, snakes, and anteaters thrive. Water, sunlight, air, and the soil (abiotic factors) create the conditions that allow rainforest vegetation (biotic factors) to live and grow. Organisms like monkeys, bats, and toucans eat the vegetation supported by the abiotic factors. This pattern of biotic factors’ dependence on abiotic factors is repeated throughout any environment.
Tropical Abiotic Factors Fun Facts
Before we finish up here today, let’s take a look at some fun facts about abiotic factors in tropical rainforests:
- Rainfall averages fall between 50 and 260 inches of rain per year
- Temperature range is between 68 and 93 degrees Fahrenheit, year round
- Soil in the rainforest is shallow and low in nutrients; most of the nutrients are being carried in the bodies of the many organisms living in the forest
- Very little sunlight reaches the forest floor; it’s usually captured by organisms living in one of the other three rainforest layers: emergent, canopy, and understory
- Many bodies of water are found in the rainforest, including the Amazon River, which carries more water to sea than any other river in the world
Biotic factors are all of the living things in an environment.
Abiotic factors are all of the non-living things in an environment. All biotic factors in an environment are dependent upon the abiotic factors in an environment. Some examples of biotic factors in the tropical rainforest are toucans, frogs, snakes, and lizards. Abiotic factors in the tropical rainforest include humidity, soil composition, temperature, and sunlight.