Compare and contrast limiting factors and tolerance.

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Limiting factors and tolerance are related to each other, and both deal with ecosystems and biotic and abiotic factors that are present within any given ecosystem. Biotic factors are living factors and include the individual populations of species that exist in the ecosystem. Abiotic factors are nonliving factors. Oxygen levels, rain fall amounts, soil acidity, temperature, humidity, wind, and so on are all abiotic factors.

Biotic and abiotic factors both function to limit the size of any population. Some of those factors are density dependent, while other factors are density independent. A flood, for example, is a density-independent limiting factor because it impacts a population regardless of the population's density.

Limiting factors all function to limit the size of a population, and they determine an area's carrying capacity. There are many limiting factors, but we can simplify and say that animals need things like food, water, and shelter. Organisms could have an unlimited amount of two of the three, but the population won't grow if the third factor is at its carrying capacity limit.

For tolerance, it is probably best to just consider abiotic factors like temperature or oxygen levels. An organism's tolerance refers to the organism's ability to survive within a range of limiting factors. For example, specific plants have an ideal temperature that they survive in. Of course, no ecosystem has temperatures that never change. A plant is forced to survive in various temperatures, but temperatures can get too hot or too cold for survival. The plants can only tolerate so much. Animals are subject to the same conditions. Coyotes are kept within an area for a variety of reasons, but one reason is that they can't tolerate the frigid temperatures of some areas. Coyotes are limited to specific habitats by their tolerance.

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