What is Biotic Community?
In any environment or habitat, different types of plants and animals exist in close association and show interdependence and adjustments. They can not survive in isolation. The association of a number of different inter-related populations of several species in a common environment is known as biotic community or biocoenose or multispecies population.
A mature, self-perpetuating biotic community contains only those species which are successfully adapted to that environment and to other species of that area. The assemblage of plants in a habitat is called plant community and of animals animal community.
Examples of Biotic Communities:
The association of different kinds of plants and animals in a pond constitutes the pond community. The different kinds of organisms living together in a meadow constitute the meadow community. Likewise, those living in a forest constitute the forest community and those living in a lake constitute the lake community. In each case, the animal population together form an animal community, plant populations form a plant community and microbial populations form a microbial community.
Interdependence of Animals and Plants:
Communities are not a random mixture of species. The animal, plant and microbial communities of a biotic community show fundamental dependence on each other. The plants produce organic food from simple inorganic substances. The animals consume organic food prepared by plants. Not only this, animals get oxygen and shelter from plants and plants depend on animals for carbon dioxide, pollination, dispersal of seeds. The microbes feed on dead and decaying animals and plants and their products, reducing them to inorganic compounds. Thus, all populations in a biotic community are interdependent and can not survive alone.
Species Diversity in Communities:
Biotic communities occupying different areas differ in their constituent species. The species diversity depends upon the size of the area, diversity of habitats in that area, soil type, altitude, rainfall, availability of water, etc.
Basic Features of a Biotic Community:
(1) A biotic community is a group of several populations of different species (multispecies population).
(2) All the populations are interdependent.
(3) A biotic community may be small as a pond community or large as a grassland community or desert community.
(4) Its members exhibit both direct and indirect interactions.
(5) A biotic community interacts with abiotic factors and the two together form an ecosystem.
(6) In a biotic community all the species are not equally represented. Some may be more abundant than others. The dominance in a community may be the result of competitive interaction.