Biotic Components - Environment Notes

Biotic Components – UPSC Notes – Environment

An ecosystem comprises biotic and abiotic elements, encompassing plants, animals, and microorganisms, along with water, land, and air. Living components influencing the environment and affecting species are termed biotic factors. This article focuses on Biotic Components, essential for the UPSC Civil Service exam’s Environment syllabus.

Biotic Components – Concept

  • Biotic components constitute the living organisms in an ecosystem.
  • Examples of biotic factors include plants, animals, fungi, and bacteria.
  • These components are categorized into producers, consumers, and decomposers based on their energy source requirements.

Components of Ecosystem

  • A system comprising living species, their interactions, and the physical environment is known as an ecosystem.
  • Components of an ecosystem encompass its structure, biological relationships, distribution, and environmental properties.
  • The concept distinguishes between non-living elements and living organisms within the environment.
  • An ecosystem comprises biotic components (living organisms) and abiotic components (temperature, rainfall, wind, soil, minerals).
Components of Ecosystem

Categories Of Biotic Components

Producers (Autotrophs)

  • Plants capable of synthesizing their own food and energy through photosynthesis in the presence of sunshine and chlorophyll.
  • Other living organisms depend on plants for their energy and food, particularly in the form of oxygen.
  • Producers can be categorized into two types:
    • Phototrophs: Use sun’s energy to convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrates.
    • Chemotrophs: Derive energy from carbon dioxide and other inorganic compounds through chemosynthesis.

Consumers (Heterotrophs)

  • Organisms that consume the food produced by producers.
  • Unable to use simple inorganic substances for food.
  • Divided into various categories:
    • Primary Consumers: Herbivores, like cows, goats, deer, rabbits, directly dependent on plants (second trophic level).
    • Secondary Consumers: Carnivores, eating primary consumers (third trophic level), e.g., foxes, dogs, cats.
    • Tertiary Consumers: Animals consuming carnivores, e.g., wolves eating foxes (tertiary trophic level).
    • Quaternary Consumers: Capable of killing tertiary consumers, such as lions and tigers, positioned at the top of the food chain.

Decomposers (Saprotrophs/Micro Consumers)

  • Fungi and bacteria functioning as decomposers, also known as saprophytes and Micro Consumers.
  • Decompose organic matter from dead plants and animals through various chemical reactions.
  • Convert the decomposed matter into nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
  • Crucial for ecosystem balance, as they recycle nutrients for producers, enabling them to generate energy.

Biotic Components of Different Ecosystems

Biotic Components of Terrestrial Ecosystem

  • Plants: Aquatic plants thrive in lakes and ponds, providing optimal growing conditions. They release crucial oxygen into the water, vital for the survival of various aquatic animals. Some plants float on the water’s surface, deriving energy from nutrients, while others flourish in wet soil.
  • Fungi: Play a significant role in maintaining equilibrium in lake and pond ecosystems, also serving as food for higher species. Certain pond fungi even develop on amphibians’ skin, offering protection.
  • Animals: Ponds are diverse habitats, housing a variety of animals including fish, frogs, insects, polliwogs, snakes, turtles, birds, and lizards.
  • Bacteria: Ponds and lakes create an ideal environment for bacteria, with different types thriving at various depths.

Biotic Components of Desert Ecosystem

  • Plants: Drought-tolerant plants like cactus, succulents, grasses, shrubs, and willows thrive in the desert habitat.
  • Desert Animals: Coyotes, bobcats, mule deer, bears, kit foxes, and other animals inhabit the desert ecosystem.
  • Birds: Owls, hawks, woodpeckers, buzzards, and cactus wrens are among the bird species found in deserts.
  • Reptiles and Amphibians: Thick-skinned amphibians and reptiles such as lizards, rattlesnakes, and tortoises are adapted to desert life.
  • Insects: Ants, bees, mosquitoes, wasps, and a variety of spiders and insects thrive in the desert environment.


In any ecosystem, two fundamental components play a crucial role: abiotic and biotic components. The mutual reliance of animals, plants, and microorganisms within the ecosystem is essential for their survival. Interactions among these living organisms, as well as their connections with the non-living abiotic components of the ecosystem, collectively contribute to the acquisition of the necessary energy for their sustenance.

FAQs on Biotic Components

Q1: What is the components of the ecosystem?

A1: The ecosystem consists of two main components – abiotic and biotic components. Abiotic components include non-living elements such as air, water, soil, and temperature, while biotic components encompass living organisms like plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms.

Q2: State the three categories or types of Biotic Components?

A2: The three primary categories of Biotic Components are producers, consumers, and decomposers. Producers, such as plants, generate their own food; consumers, including herbivores and carnivores, consume this produced food; and decomposers, like fungi and bacteria, break down organic matter.

Q3: Give a few examples of Biotic Components?

A3: Biotic components are living organisms within an ecosystem. Examples include:

  • Plants: Such as trees, flowers, and grass.
  • Animals: Including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.
  • Microorganisms: Such as bacteria and fungi, crucial for decomposition.
  • Fungi: Playing roles in nutrient cycling and symbiotic relationships.

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