In ecology and biology, abiotic components or abiotic factors are those non-living chemical and physical parts of the environment that affect ecosystems. They and phenomena associated with them thus underpin all biology.
An ecosystem's abiotic factors may be classified via "SWATS" (Soil, Water, Air, Temperature, Sunlight).
In biology, abiotic factors can include water, light, radiation, temperature, humidity, atmosphere, and soil. The macroscopic climate often influences each of the above. Pressure and sound waves may also be considered in the context of marine or sub-terrestrial environments.
All of these factors affect different organisms to different extents. If there is little or no sunlight then plants may wither and die from not being able to get enough sunlight to do photosynthesis. Many archaea require very high temperatures, or pressures, or unusual concentrations of chemical substances, such as sulfur, because of their specialization into extreme conditions. Certain fungi have evolved to survive mostly at the temperature, the humidity, and stability of their environment.
For example, there is a significant difference in access to water as well as humidity between temperate rain forests and deserts. This difference in water access causes a diversity in the types of plants and animals that grow in these areas.
- Biotic component, a living part of an ecosystem that affects and shapes it.
- Abiogenesis, the transformation of non-living into living matter.
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