Tag Archives: biotic factors

Ecology and Systems Biology: Ecosystem Preview

Such talented students at Highline High School!  With several students out of class today preparing for the Homecoming assembly, and short class periods, we reviewed the concept of ecosystem.  We integrated biotic and abiotic factors (two vocabulary words learned yesterday).  We defined an ecosystem as the biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) factors present in a given space.  We constructed a diagram of a model ecosystem, with students recalling that factors such as plants, animals, birds, insects, water, air, soil, rocks, buildings, mountains, and even the Sun can all be considered factors in an ecosystem.  We characterized the various factors as biotic (for example, plants, animals, insects, and birds) or abiotic (for example, water, air, buildings, rocks, mountains, and the Sun).  We discussed the fact that biotic factors are often found in direct contact with abiotic factors, and both types of factors are necessary for life as we know it.  For example, bacteria are commonly found in all of the abiotic factors listed (except for the Sun!).  We then watched the first 16 minutes of episode 6 of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos series.  In the video segment, Dr. Tyson explores the ecosystem of a dew drop.  We were introduced to the tardigrade – an instant class favorite!  Season 1 of Cosmos is currently available streaming on Netflix.