Knowing how organisms rely on the nonliving people can aid humans maintain a healthy and balanced environment.

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Q review Vocabulary environment: everything, such together climate, soil, and living things, the surrounds and also affects an organism

New Vocabulary

• abiotic • climate atmosphere

Figure 1 Abiotic factors—air, water, soil, sunlight, temperature, and also climate—influence all life top top Earth.

Kenneth Murray/Photo Researchers

Environmental Factors

Living organisms depend on one one more for food and also shelter. The pipeline of plants administer food and also a home for grasshoppers, caterpillars, and also other insects. Many birds count on insects because that food. Dead plants and also animals decay and become part of the soil. The attributes of the setting that space alive, or were as soon as alive, are referred to as biotic (bi AH tihk) factors. The hatchet biotic means "living."

Biotic determinants are no the only things in an environment that are vital to life. Most plants cannot grow without sunlight, air, water, and also soil. Animals cannot make it through without air, water, or the warmth that sunshine provides. The nonliving, physical attributes of the environment are called abiotic (ay bi AH tihk) factors. The prefix a way "not." The ax abiotic method "not living." Abiotic factors include air, water, soil, sunlight, temperature, and also climate. The abiotic factors in an setting often identify which kinds of organisms deserve to live there. For example, water is an essential abiotic element in the environment, as shown in figure 1.

Figure 1 Abiotic factors—air, water, soil, sunlight, temperature, and also climate—influence all life ~ above Earth.

Kenneth Murray/Photo Researchers


Air is invisible and plentiful, so the is easily overlooked as an abiotic element of the environment. The air the surrounds earth is referred to as the atmosphere. Air contains 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen, 0.94 percent argon, 0.03 percent carbon dioxide, and trace quantities of various other gases. Several of these gases administer substances that assistance life.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is forced for photosynthesis. Photo-synthesis—a series of chemical reactions—uses CO2, water, and energy from sunshine to create sugar molecules. Organisms, favor plants, that can use photosynthesis are referred to as producers since they create their own food. During photosynthesis, oxygen is released into the atmosphere.

When a candle burns, oxygen indigenous the wait chemically combines v the molecules of candle wax. Chemical power stored in the wax is converted and released together heat and also light energy. In a comparable way, cells use oxygen to relax the chemical energy stored in sugar molecules. This process is called respiration. V respiration, cells achieve the power needed for all life processes. Air-breathing animals aren"t the just organisms that require oxygen. Plants, some bacteria, algae, fish, and also other organisms require oxygen for respiration.

Figure 2 Water is crucial abiotic variable in deserts and rain forests.

Figure 2 Water is crucial abiotic element in deserts and also rain forests.



Water is crucial to life on Earth. It is a significant ingredient of the fluid inside the cells of every organisms. In fact, most organisms are 50 percent to 95 percent water. Respiration, digestion, photosynthesis, and also many other vital life processes deserve to take ar only in the visibility of water. As figure 2 shows, environments that have plenty of water usually assistance a better diversity of and also a larger number of organisms than settings that have tiny water.

Life in deserts is restricted to types that can survive for long periods without water.


Thousands of species can live in lush rain forests where rain falls practically every day.

SECTION 1 Abiotic components E ♦ 37

(t)Jerry L. Ferrara/Photo Researchers, (b)Art Wolfe/Photo Researchers

Determining floor Makeup


1. Collect 2 cups of soil. Remove big pieces of debris and also break increase clods.

2. Put the floor in a quart seasoned or similar container that has a lid.

3. To fill the container through water and include 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid.

4. Put the lid on tightly and also shake the container.

5. After 1 min, measure and also record the depth that sand that cleared up on the bottom.

6. After 2 h, measure and record the depth that silt the settles on height of the sand.

7. After ~ 24 h, measure and record the depth that the layer in between the silt and the floating organic matter.


1. Clay particles room so little that they can remain suspended in water. Whereby is the clay in her sample?

2. Is sand, silt, or clay the greatest component of her soil sample?

Vviome f


Soil is a mixture the mineral and rock particles, the remains of dead organisms, water, and air. The is the topmost layer of Earth"s crust, and it supports tree growth. Floor is formed, in part, of rock that has actually been broken down into tiny particles.

Soil is considered an abiotic factor since most of the is comprised of nonliving rock and also mineral particles. However, soil additionally contains life organisms and also the decaying stays of dead organisms. Soil life consists of bacteria, fungi, insects, and worms. The disk matter uncovered in soil is dubbed humus. Soils contain various combinations that sand, clay, and humus. The type of soil present in a an ar has an essential influence on the type of tree life that flourish there.


All life calls for energy, and also sunlight is the energy source for practically all life ~ above Earth. During photosynthesis, producers transform light energy into chemical power that is save on computer in sugar molecules. Consumers room organisms the cannot make their very own food. Energy is passed to consumers when they eat producers or various other consumers. As presented in figure 3, photosynthesis cannot take place if light is never ever available.

Shady forest

Shady forest


Bottom of deep ocean

Figure 3 Photosynthesis needs light. Tiny sunlight reaches the shady forest floor, therefore plant development beneath tree is limited. Sunshine does not reach right into deep lake or ocean waters. Photosynthesis have the right to take ar only in shallow water or close to the water"s surface.

Infer exactly how fish that live in ~ the bottom the the deep ocean acquire energy.

38 ♦ E chapter 2 The Nonliving Environment

(t)Telegraph colour Library/FPG/Getty Images, (b)Hal BeralA/isuals Unlimited

Bottom that deep ocean

Figure 4 Temperature is an abiotic variable that can impact an organism"s survival.

The penguin has a thick layer of fat to organize in heat and also keep the bird indigenous freezing. These emperor penguins huddle together for included warmth.

The Arabian camel shop fat just in that hump. This way, the camel loses heat from various other parts the its body, which help it remain cool in the warm desert.


Sunlight offers life on earth with light energy for photosynthesis and also heat energy for warmth. Many organisms deserve to survive only if their body temperatures remain within the range of 0°C come 50°C. Water freezes in ~ 0°C. The penguins in figure 4 are adjusted for survival in the freezing Antarctic. Camels can survive the hot temperatures of the Arabian Desert since their body are adapted for continuing to be cool. The temperature of a region depends in part on the amount of sunshine it receives. The lot of sunlight counts on the land"s latitude and elevation.

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I v,-^;-, -7— What does sunlight administer for life ~ above Earth?

Latitude In this chapter"s beginning Lab, you found that temperature is impacted by latitude. You uncovered that cities located at latitudes farther indigenous the equator often tend to have chillier temperatures 보다 cities in ~ latitudes nearer come the equator. As number 5 shows, polar areas receive much less of the Sun"s energy than equatorial regions. Close to the equator, sunshine strikes earth directly. Close to the poles, sunshine strikes earth at one angle, which diffusion the power over a bigger area.