The limiting factors are the environmental or ecological factors that act directly on the living beings of a population, limiting their size, since these factors determine their birth rate, mortality, migrations, etc. They are those that regulate the growth and expansion of a species.
If environmental factors are optimal for the development of a living being, they favor the growth of that organism in that biotope. But if any of these factors prevents the growth of a species, it is called a limiting factor.
Among these physical and chemical factors that determine the biotope are:
- Abiotic factors (not dependent on population density):
- Light. Only the most superficial organisms access it in water. On land, there is also competition in leafy areas for access.
- Temperature. Some living things cannot live at the temperature that others live.
- Water: It is necessary for it to rain or for living beings to be able to access water in order to live. If there is no water, they die.
- Atmospheric pressure.
- Soil factors: The chemical composition of the soil, its pH, salinity, etc. makes some plant species may or may not survive in it.
- Factors of the aquatic environment: The concentration of O2 , dissolved CO2, the degree of salinity, the existence of currents, etc., limits the development of some organisms.
- Biotic factors (depend on population density):
- Food. If they don't have enough food, the population will have to be smaller.
- Interspecific relationships. The number of predators limits the number of prey, and vice versa.
- Intraspecific relationships. The relationships that are established between individuals of the same species can also limit their existence.