A biotic factor is a living or once-living organism in an ecosystem that affects, interacts with, or is influenced by other organisms within that system. Biotic factors encompass all the biological conditions that directly impact organisms in an environment. These factors can be considered as any living component that affects another organism or shapes the ecosystem.
Examples of biotic factors include:
- Plants: They provide food, shelter, and oxygen for many other living organisms.
- Animals: They can be predators, prey, herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, or decomposers, each playing a unique role in the food chain and ecosystem dynamics.
- Microorganisms: Bacteria, fungi, and other microbes play crucial roles in decomposition, nutrient cycling, and even in the health of other organisms.
- Parasites: Organisms that live on or in a host organism and derive nutrients at the host’s expense.
- Competition: When two or more organisms vie for the same resource, such as food or space.
- Mutualism: A relationship where two organisms of different species work together, each benefiting from the relationship.
- Predation: The act of one organism feeding on another.
Biotic factors contrast with abiotic factors, which are the non-living components of an environment, such as temperature, light, water, and minerals. Both biotic and abiotic factors work together to create a unique ecosystem.