moomoomath logo header
lime green horizontal line
Welcome to MooMooMath
study skills A teachers secret guide to your best grades
Master the 7 pillars of school success

Improve your grades and lower your stress
A-Z Video List

Difference between Abiotic and Biotic Factors

Abiotic and Biotic Factors

Living and Nonliving Characteristics

An ecosystem is a all of the living and nonliving objects in an area. The area can be as large as a biome,or as small as a drop of water. In Biology living objects are defined as biotic factors, and nonliving items are abiotic factors.

Abiotic factors are nonliving, nor have they ever been alive.

However,biotic factors depend on these abiotic factors in order to remain alive.

Examples of abiotic factors 
  • Water  
  • Ice
  • Fire
  • Soil
  • Temperature
  • Sunlight
  • Lightning
  • Oxygen
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Nitrogen
  • Carbon.

Several of these abiotic factors have the ability to recycle itself. Carbon,nitrogen,and water all have cycles they go through that allows these abiotic to be used over and over again. 

Biotic factors are living objects in an ecosystem.

Living Things Definition

In order to be considered alive you must have each of the following factors. If you are missing one of these seven items you are not considered living.
  • Have levels of organization
  • Be composed of cells
  • Contain DNA
  • Require energy
  • Reproduce
  • Respond to stimuli
  • Have the ability to grow and develop

Examples of biotic factors 


Compare and Contrast Abiotic and Biotic Things


Have the ability to reproduce

Made of Cells

Consume Energy

Contain genetic material

Can adapt to the surroundings

Found on Earth

Important for an Ecosystem

Have a wide range of shapes and sizes

Do not use energy

Do not have the abitity to make a copy of itself


Do not recieve stimulus from their environment

Do not use energy
  • Salinity of water
  • Salt
  • Rain
  • Wind
  • Temperature
  • Ph Level
  • Carbon
  • Phosphorus
  • Hail
  • Snow

Single celled Protists                
All trees
Is a virus biotic or abiotic?

There is debate about whether a virus is alive or not. Many people feel a virus falls somewhere between being alive and non-living.
Here's why
  • A virus cannot maintain a stable internal environment.
  • However,a virus can multiply itself. Actuall a virus is very good at this.
  • There is some debate if a virus uses energy. The energy a virus needs comes from the host.
  • A virus doe not grow.
  • Finally, a virus doesn't respond to the environment it is placed in.

So you can see, a virus is kinda alive, and also kinda non-living all at the same time.

An ecosystem is a combination of the interactions between the biotic and abiotic factors.

For example, the large ecosystem called the desert involves interactions between the plants and animals, and the harsh abiotic conditions which include the high temperatures and little rainfall.

In biochemical cycles such as the carbon cycle, and the nitrogen cycle the chemical is exchanged between the biotic and abiotic factors.
During the carbon cycle, carbon will travel to plants, the atmosphere, the soil, into animals and other biotic and abiotic factors.