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Life in Freshwater

Abiota: Factors affecting life living in freshwater

An Introduction

These are the physical and chemical elements that make up a habitat. The non-biological factors that create the limiting factors for the organisms that live there. As an example of this limitation consider what you may have come across before with regard to photosynthesis. There are a number of limiting factors which determine the rate at which oxygen and carbohydrates are formed. The main ones are 1. Temperature 2. Level of carbon dioxide 3. Intensity of light. Any plant living within the water, e.g. water crowfoot, may be just under the surface but the surface itself will reflect a considerable amount of light away. By being in water there is less light for photosynthesis. As if this is not enough, the deeper you go the intensity continues to diminsh and the wavelengths of light able to penetrate change, e.g. red light passes through the least, green the most. So light must be an important consideration. Temperature will affect the ability of an organism to carry out metabolism; the warmer the conditions the better able enzymes can operate. You might expect lowland water to be warmer than that in upland. However, water does provide a stable temperature over short periods of time (like a water bath in a lab experiment). While on the subject of photosynthesis, of course for some plants it will be the level of carbon dioxide actually dissolved in the water that is important.

Although many of the factors are shared with all freshwater habitats moving water has speed of flow as a major additional consideration.

We have just considered the background to abiota and some of the factors you might think about and why. However, the main factors to concentrate on in freshwater are:

Light
Nutrients
Oxygen
pH
Temperature
Turbulence

 

 To find out more about these click the options below:

Abiota in Ponds and Lakes

Abiota in Streams and Rivers


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