A Brief Overview of Abiotic Factors Affecting Population
Definition and types of abiotic factors
Abiotic factors are physical aspects of the environment that non-chemical in nature which tend to affect living things. These factors affect the normal existence of both plants and animals and influence how ecosystems operate.
Abiotic factors are also referred to as abiotic components and they may include:
How abiotic factors affect population
Both biotic and abiotic factors affect population. This is because living organisms tend to depend on these factors for survival and normal functioning. The links between abiotic factors and population densities have long been established. Abiotic factors are classified under density-independent factors because their influence on the living organisms is independent and not linked to other co-factors. The following are some of the ways through which abiotic factors can affect population densities:
- Even though abiotic factors such as rainfall are important for animal and plant survival, they can also be destructive. When too much rain falls and there is a flood, most animals and plants tend to drown in the water. Most populations are reduced and washed away by these floods.
- Droughts occur when there is too much heat and the temperatures remain high for a long time. This parches up the soil and makes it difficult for plants to thrive. During droughts most populations perish because of lack of water and moisture which is very necessary for survival. Droughts can also be exacerbated by winds which further erode the top soil from the affected areas hence taking away all the nutrients from the soil. This makes it difficult for any plants to grow in the affected areas.
- Tornadoes and Typhoons. These come in the form of strong winds which whirl and rip everything on their way. They affect population in that they destroy natural habitats for animals. They also uproot plants and in some instances, unsheltered people die in these disasters. They thus reduce population densities.
- Heat waves. These occur when temperatures rise above normal conditions. In many cases, heat waves cause dehydration in plants and this can result in withering of plants which have no adaptive mechanisms against strong heat. In humans and animals, heat waves may result in heat strokes and severe dehydration. Some animals and people can die from too much heat. In addition, there are also many infernos caused by heat waves. These often destroy habitats and affect population densities in some areas.
- Tsunamis and Hurricanes. These are both water disasters that mostly occur in oceanic areas. Tsunamis not only destroy populations but also habitats and important resources such as food thus decreasing chances of survival for plants, animals and human beings.
Even though abiotic factors contribute towards destruction and subsequent reduction of populations, they are important in their survival as well. No population can exist without temperature, rainfall and air. Sunlight is also regarded as an essential factor in the development and survival of living organisms. In the long run, it all depends on the conditions and the amounts of the abiotic factors and how they interact with these organisms.
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