Ecological factors

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Ecology
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Ecological factors which can affect dynamic change in a population or species in a given ecology or environment are usually divided into two groups: abiotic and biotic.

Abiotic factors are geological, geographical, hydrological and climatological parameters. A biotope is an environmentally uniform region characterized by a particular set of abiotic ecological factors. Specific abiotic factors include:

  • Water, which is at the same time an essential element to life and a milieu
  • Air, which provides oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide to living species and allows the dissemination of pollen and spores
  • Soil, at the same time source of nutriment and physical support
    • Soil pH, salinity, nitrogen and phosphorus content, ability to retain water, and density are all influential
  • Temperature, which should not exceed certain extremes, even if tolerance to heat is significant for some species
  • Light, which provides energy to the ecosystem through photosynthesis
  • Natural disasters can also be considered abiotic

Biotic ecological factors also influence biocenose viability; these factors are considered as either intraspecific and interspecific relations.

The existing interactions between the various living beings go along with a permanent mixing of mineral and organic substances, absorbed by organisms for their growth, their maintenance and their reproduction, to be finally rejected as waste. These permanent recyclings of the elements (in particular carbon, oxygen and nitrogen) as well as the water are called biogeochemical cycles. They guarantee a durable stability of the biosphere (at least when unchecked human influence and extreme weather or geological phenomena are left aside). This self-regulation, supported by negative feedback controls, ensures the perenniality of the ecosystems. It is shown by the very stable concentrations of most elements of each compartment. This is referred to as homeostasis. The ecosystem also tends to evolve to a state of ideal balance, reached after a succession of events, the climax (for example a pond can become a peat bog).

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This page incorporates material from Wikipedia which is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. Wikipedia url for material on this page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecology
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