Temperature as abiotic factor
Abiotic factors are essentially non-living components that affect the living organisms of the freshwater community.
When an ecosystem is barren and unoccupied, new organisms colonizing the environment rely on favorable environmental conditions in the area to allow them to successfully live and reproduce.
These environmental factors are abiotic factors. When a variety of species are present in such an ecosystem, the consequent actions of these species can affect the lives of fellow species in the area, these factors are deemed biotic factors.
This tutorial will go into the abiotic factors of the freshwater environment which determine what sort of life would be suited to living (and adapting) to the conditions of the ecosystem.
As described previously, the light from the sun is a major constituent of a freshwater ecosystem, providing light for the primary producers, plants. There are many factors that can affect the intensity and length of time that the ecosystem is exposed to sunlight:
As you can see, many abiotic factors can play a part in determining the end product, which organisms live and succeed in the freshwater ecosystem. The sun provides light for photosynthesis, but also provides heat giving a suitable temperature for organisms to thrive in. The temperature of a freshwater environment can directly affect the environment as a whole and the organisms that occupy it.
Enzymes operate best at an optimum temperature, and any deviation from this temperature ‘norm’ will result in below optimum respiration in the organism. All aquatic life are ectotherms, meaning their body temperature varies directly with its environments.
Temperature affects the density of substances, and changes in the density of water means more or less resistance for animals who are traveling in the freshwater environment.
The next tutorial will continue to look at how these abiotic factors affect the way in which organisms operate in the freshwater ecosystem. The above examples of abiotic factors involve physical characteristics of the freshwater environment, which are continued, with subsequent information studying how the chemical composition of the freshwater ecosystem also affects which organisms survive in the environment and how they cope in these conditions.
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