The Living Organisms and Their Surroundings

Living Organisms

What do you understand the term ‘Living Organism’? Will it be right to say that we ourselves are a living organism? What are the other organisms living with us? Let us find out more about a living organism.

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Living Organisms

The term ‘environment’ means all that surrounds us and affects our growth and development. Both living and nonliving things form the environment. Thus, we can say that environment is made up of two components- Physical or abiotic and biological or biotic.

The physical component includes factors like temperature, light, soil, air, and water. The biological component consists of all animals, plants, and microorganisms. In the environment, both biotic and abiotic components interact with each other.

Biotic component

The biotic components of our environment include all living things such as plants, animals, and micro-organisms.

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Most plants have green leaves. Leaves are green because they contain a green pigment called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll gives plants the special ability to make their own food using light, water, and carbon dioxide.


Animals cannot make their own food, as they are called heterotrophs. Both animals and plants need substances, called nutrients. Plants absorb nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and calcium from the soil. These nutrients enter the bodies of animals when they eat plants or flesh of other animals.

Decomposer and Scavengers

Some organisms feed on the bodies of dead plants and animals and release the nutrients trapped inside them. Animals that feed on the dead bodies of other animals are scavengers. For example, hyena and vulture. Tiny organisms that feed on the remnants of dead plants and animals to break them down into simpler substances are decomposer. For example, bacteria and fungi. Scavengers and decomposers play important roles in the environment as:

  • They keep the environment clean by removing the bodies of dead plants and animals.
  • They help in the recycling of nutrients in the environment.

Interaction Between Biotic Components

Plants and animals depend on each other for various needs:

  • Plants (producer) utilize the sun’s energy and make their own food through photosynthesis.
  • Herbivores (primary consumer) such as rabbit and cow feed on plants.
  • Carnivores (secondary consumer) such as tiger and lion feed on herbivores.
  • Omnivores (secondary consumer) such as human beings and bear feed on both plants a well as the flesh of other animals.
  • Scavengers and decomposers feed on dead plants and animals and release the nutrients trapped inside their bodies into the soil.

Abiotic Component

These components are the nonliving, they greatly influence the living component:

1. Light

Plants use light to prepare their food. animals and human beings depend on plants for their food. Thus, the life of all the organisms is made possible because of sunlight. Therefore, light is an important abiotic component.

2. Temperature

The temperature of a place determines the type of animals or plants that live there. Some parts of the Earth are very cold (e.g. polar regions) and some parts very hot (e.g. desert). Amongst both these extreme conditions, only a few plants and animals survive.

In colder regions of the earth, we find animals like polar bears and penguins and plants like conifers trees. In hot regions like the desert, animals such as camels and desert foxes and plants like thorny bushes and date palms can live.

3. Water

We all need water to live. About three –fourth parts of the earth’s surface is covered with water. About 70%of our body weight is due to water. Plants would dry if they did not get water. The amount of water in nature is maintained by water cycle.

4. Air

All living things require oxygen for respiration. Without respiration, they cannot utilize food to produce energy. Air contains 21% oxygen, which is released by green plants during photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide, which forms 0.03% of air, is used as a raw material for photosynthesis.

5. Soil

The soil is the basic medium for growth in plants. Some animals and microorganisms also live in the soil. Soil also provides necessary minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and water. Animals such as earthworm and snail also make the soil loose by turning it

6. Fire

Fire is a source of energy for us. However, uncontrolled fir has been the enemy of man from long time.

(Interaction between biotic and abiotic components)

Question For You

Q. Which of the following things grow?

a. Water                     b. Road

c. Tree                        d. Pen

Ans: c. Tree

A living organism is composed of cells. The cells divide and the body of the organisms show growth due to the increase in the number of cells. A tree is a living organism and shows the process of growth. Road, pen, and water are non-living organisms which do not show the process of growth.

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