3.1 Biotic and Abiotic Features

Preliminary Biology 2012
Teacher: Mr Fellows
Local Ecosystems (20 hours)
Patterns in Nature (40 hours)
Life on Earth (30 hours)
Evolution of Australian Biota (30 hours)
Aim of Stage 6 Biology
To provide learning experiences through which
students will:
 acquire knowledge and understanding about
fundamental concepts related to living things and
their environments, the historical development of
these concepts and their application to personal,
social, economic, technological and
environmental situations
Aim of Stage 6 biology continued
 progress from the consideration of specific data
and knowledge to the understanding of models
and concepts and the explanation of generalised
biology terms, from the collection and
organisation of information to problem-solving,
and from the use of simple communication skills
to those which are more sophisticated
Aim of Stage 6 biology continued
 develop positive attitudes towards the study of
living things, the environment and the opinions
held by others, recognising the importance of
evidence and the use of critical evaluation of
different scientific opinions related to various
aspects of biology.
more information
 For more information about Biology please visit
the Board of Studies website:
Populations and communities
Topic 1: Biotic and Abiotic Features
Part of the Local Ecosystems Module
Spotlight Biology Preliminary Text Chapter 3
Authors: D. Heffernan, J. Bastina, B. Grieve, K.
Humphreys, A. Sartor
Science Press 2002
By the end of this Module you should be able to:
 Describe and compare the differences between
abiotic and biotic characteristics of aquatic and
terrestrial environments
 Explain how the distribution, diversity and numbers
of plants and animals found in ecosystems are
determined by biotic and abiotic factors
 Explain how each local aquatic or terrestrial
ecosystem is unique
Outcomes continued
 Identify the factors determining the distribution and
abundance of a species in each environment
 Recall some impacts of human activities on
 Describe strategies used to conserve, maintain and
protect the quality of the environment
 Identify and describe in detail adaptations of a plant
and an animal to the local ecosystem
Outcomes continued
You should also be able to:
 Plot a vegetation transect
 Estimate the size of populations by using random
quadrate and capture-recapture methods
 Measure abiotic variables in an ecosystem being
 Plot the distribution of plant and animal species
whose abundance has been estimated
 Undertake a field study of a local terrestrial or
aquatic ecosystem
Biotic and Abiotic Features
Understanding why certain animals like living in a
particular environment is more important today
than ever before. Humans are constantly
interacting with the environment and causing
changes to ecosystems.
Biotic and Abiotic Features
We need to predict
which systems will
benefit from human
intervention, which
will tolerate our
influence and which
will be damaged if
we disturb them. We
also need to
understand the links
and relationships
between ecosystems.
Environments-Abiotic and Biotic Features
Biosphere is a word
used to describe the
regions of Earth’s
surface where
organisms can survive.
This includes air, water
and land.
Environments-Abiotic and Biotic Features
Within the biosphere,
a community is a
group of plants,
animals and microbes
that live together in a
given area called a
Environments-Abiotic and Biotic Features
The word ecosystem is
short for an ‘ecological
system’ and includes all
the organisms within a
community and their
The environment
refers to all the
conditions surrounding
an organism.
Environments-Abiotic and Biotic Features
There are two
different parts to the
-Living: Biotic
-Non-living: Abiotic
Environments-Abiotic and Biotic Features
The Abiotic
environment includes all
of the conditions created
by non-living components
of an organisms
-Sunlight, heat, moisture,
wind and water currents,
size of rocks or sand
Environments-Abiotic and Biotic Features
The Biotic environment consists of all the living
organisms in a habitat.
-The species that may be food, parasites,
predators, competitors or any other living
Environments-Abiotic and Biotic Features
We will regularly compare the biotic and abiotic
characteristics of different aquatic and terrestrial
environments however it’s sometimes difficult to
separate the two. Consider an earthworm living
in the soil…
Habitat: Where an organism lives
The physical location that surrounds an organism
is its habitat. This is where an organism lives.
Within every habitat are microhabitats that are
not always obvious. Each microhabitat has it’s
own temperature, humidity, wind speed ect.
These can be referred to as a microclimate.
Habitat: Where an organism lives
Consider newly germinating
seeds, small insects or
bacteria living under the
bark of a gum tree. All that
matters are the amounts of
light, nutrients, temperature
and moisture available
within a few millimetres of
their location.
An adaptation is any
internal body process of
cells or tissues, physical
feature or pattern of
behaviour in a living thing
that makes it better able to
survive and reproduce in its
If you look along the rocks of
our coastline, to some they
may appear lifeless. However
you may notice little limpets
that cling tightly to the rocks
and are not washed off by
waves. They can also survive
out of the water when it’s hot
and dry. They have adapted to
these conditions.
Just because a plant or animal
is found in a location does not
mean is has any special
adaptations to that
environment. If we consider
saltbush, it will grow in your
well watered garden at home.
However it has no special
adaptations to that
environment. It would
actually be displaced by other
plants in the garden without
human help.
It normally grows on the dry saline plains of NSW. It’s
well adapted to a dry and salty environment and thrives
on the western plains because it is one of the few plants
that can grow there.
 At the conclusion of most lessons you will be
given a task. This will often be a few short
answer questions linking directly to the outcomes
of the course. Answer these questions in your
notebook and be prepared to discuss next lesson.
I will be noting whether or not you have
attempted these. (see example next slide)
Notebook scaffold
Module Heading
Topic Heading
1. Question….
2. Question….
Local Ecosystems
Biotic and Abiotic Features
1. Identify the biotic and abiotic factors affecting the lives of limpets
on a rock platform.
1. Identify the biotic and abiotic factors affecting
the lives of limpets on a rock platform.
2. Contrast an environment with a habitat
3. Compare the features of a habitat with a
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