Tropical Ocean Biotic Factors

Marine life that thrives within the tropical oceans perform biotic functions that ultimately benefits most aquatic organisms.
Marine life that thrives within the tropical oceans perform biotic functions that ultimately benefits most aquatic organisms. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

There are three oceans that have waters located within the tropical regions of the Earth, the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. These particular bodies of water are sometimes referred to as tropical oceans, because a part of their system is contained in the Earth’s equatorial band between the Tropic of Capricorn in the north and the Tropic of Cancer in the south. Each of these oceans has living organisms that perform biotic factors or actions that affect the lives of other ocean dwelling creatures. Plants, animals and microorganisms create biotic factors, such as food webs, symbiosis, competition and energy transfer.

Food Webs

Organisms within the tropical oceans affect each other primarily through the food web. Microorganisms are located on the bottom platform of the food web and large predators, such as sharks, are on the top platform, since they do not have any natural predators. Starting with microorganisms, each creature is consumed by another, until the web is completed. Tropical plant life is another part of the food web, and some tropical ocean marine life consume plants, as well as other living organisms.


Symbiosis is a biotic factor for organisms that reside in tropical oceans. Symbiotic relationships can be categorized as ectosymbiotic, meaning that two separate organisms are mutually beneficial to each other. Endosymbiotic describes a beneficial relationship between two organisms, where one organism is contained within the cells of another. There are four types of symbiotic relationships: parasitism, mutualism, commensalism and amensalism.


Competition is another biotic factor, and it happens between tropical ocean organisms, when they compete against each other for resources. Species that are better adapted to their particular surroundings will eventually dominate an environment over other species that are not able to adjust as well. Competition also helps to maintain balance in the food web by keeping species in check. Predator-prey relationships will emerge when both species are trying to survive.

Energy Transfer

Plants and creatures that live in the ocean perform a biotic factor called energy transfer, and this happens when one organism consumes another. When microorganisms transfer inorganic materials (such as sunlight) into organic molecules this begins the process of energy transfer. Algae, flowering plants and chemosynthetic bacteria usually perform this task. Once these creatures (and plants) store energy (which ultimately comes from the sun), they are consumed by other organisms that continue to pass on this stored energy. There will always be more producers than consumers for the energy transfer process.

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