Biomes: Definition, Characteristics, and Examples

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Biome Definition

Biomes do not have a universal definition. However, through evaluating ideas, the biome definition in biology exposes the ecological reality. Biomes are the world’s great communities. They are categorised based on their unique qualities, such as climate, flora, soil, and animals. Biomes are important. They vary continually throughout history as a result of harm caused by human actions, for example. As a result, we should continue to preserve and conserve biomes.

Different ecological ideas, such as biomes and ecosystems, might be confusing to certain individuals. An ecosystem is a system of interactions between diverse living species in a given habitat, such as plants and animals. The primary distinction between a biome and an ecosystem is that the ecosystem is a subset of a biome. As a result, a biome will be made up of many ecosystems.

What is Biome?

A biome is essentially a vast habitat defined by numerous biotic and abiotic variables (e.g. temperature, precipitation, pH, light intensity, and so on). Biomes can be classified in a variety of ways. One of them is based on the weather, which might be hot, dry, chilly, wet, or humid. Biomes are developed as a result of physical climates, which impact the soil, precipitation, and fauna as a result.

Types of Biomes

The planet is divided into six biomes. Forest, desert, grassland, and tundra are the four terrestrial biomes, while marine and freshwater biomes are the two aquatic biomes. Temperature rainforest, tropical rainforest, taiga, and savanna are examples of different types of biomes.

Forests are essential habitats for a variety of biotic groups. They support a wide range of animals by providing habitat and food. As a result, a forest may contain a variety of microhabitats. Furthermore, forests contribute to the global capacity for climate buffering; hence, forest loss may result in significant changes in the local or global climate.

Because water is the most vital component of all living species, the marine and freshwater biomes are the most significant examples of biomes. It is a vital biomolecule in the human body. In addition, both marine and freshwater habitats support a large number of living species. Because the majority of the earth’s surface is covered by water, the oceans have a greater impact on the global climate than forests. The Earth’s hydrosphere (water component) has a vast number of photosynthetic planktons that create oxygen, which sustains the massive population of aerobic creatures that thrive in the oceans, seas, and freshwater, in addition to helping to regulate atmospheric temperature.

Despite being one of the most essential biomes on the planet, freshwater biomes are severely polluted. Overfishing, for example, destabilises these biomes and kills many species inside them.

Biomes are helpful for ecological research because they aid in the definition of ecosystem changes using remote sensing satellites. Biomes may also provide insight into the operation of ecosystems. Ecosystem production, plant function, and climate change are just a few examples.

Expert knowledge, as well as vegetation maps from various locations, and satellites are used to create the Earth’s biome map. Satellites like A-train are used to track the Earth’s weather, for example, by collecting satellite photos and doing remote sensing. The NASA Earth Observatory is a web-based archive of satellite images.

In terms of the numerous climatic thresholds that impact biome borders, satellite-based biome maps are more accurate and impartial. The world biome map aids in the comparison of various ecosystems in various parts of the globe. Various species and biological systems may exist in the same biome in different regions of the world. This diversity assists in the study of evolutionary and ecological processes in several areas.

The following biomes list shows the many sorts of biomes seen on the biomes map, along with additional biome facts that clarify biomes’ meaning:

I. Forests Biome

Forests are densely forested. They are home to a diverse range of animals, including birds, insects, and mammals. Tropical forests, temperate forests, and boreal forests are the three primary biomes of forests (Taiga). Due to their geographical location, these woods are subjected to a variety of climatic conditions. As a result, distinct forest types are categorised as follows:

i. Tropical Rainforests

Tropical rainforests resemble jungles in appearance. They live near the equator, so the weather is wet and hot all year. Tropical rainforests are home to a variety of species as well as a large number of trees that provide refuge for numerous animals while also contributing to oxygen generation and climate buffering capabilities.

ii. Temperate Forests

In temperate woods, all four seasons rotate throughout the year; leaves shed and fall in the fall, while trees are dormant in the winter. In addition, bears, deer, and woodpeckers can be seen in the winter.

iii. Boreal Forest (Taiga)

This biome is the world’s biggest terrestrial (land) biome. The presence of conifers (conical-shaped trees) characterises the Taiga biome. Winters in the boreal forests are cold, dry, and lengthy, and most birds migrate and animals hibernate. During the winter, certain creatures remain active and develop. As a result, they have hair or feathers to keep their bodies warm and can survive in frigid environments.

II. Deserts Biome

Deserts have the highest average temperature of any biome. During the winter, however, it gets quite frigid. The severe temperature swings lead to the existence of extreme habitats in the desert, where numerous species relocate to underground shelters to survive in more stable temperatures. Furthermore, animals and plants in desert biomes can usually survive for lengthy periods of time without water.

III. Tundra Biome

The tundra biome is cold and flat, with the lowest temperature of all biomes and poor soil nutrients, resulting in the presence of short plants such as moss, shrubs, lichens, and grasses that grow during the summer because a thick ice layer, known as permafrost, is present beneath the soil throughout the year. As a result, trees are unable to develop roots in the soil because the ice covering prevents them from doing so. During the summer, birds may be found breeding in the tundra, but they move south in the winter to warmer climates. During the winter, mammals such as mice dwell in tunnels beneath the snow.

The tundra biome is under grave danger as a result of climate change. The tundra ecosystem, its permafrost, and the animals that live there are all being disrupted by global warming.

IV. Grasslands Biome

Grasslands have no trees and are dominated by short to tall grasses. Because the weather is generally dry and warm, these regions do not receive enough rain to support tree growth. They do, however, get enough rain to produce certain plants, flowers, and grass. Grasslands are home to large animals that move in herds.

Temperate grasslands and savannah grasslands are the two types of grasslands (tropical grasslands). Near the equator, the savanna is common. Because they get seasonal rainfall, trees in the biome tend to grow alone or in groups. There are generally animals with lengthy legs that dwell there. They live in herds and may flee predators by running, for example.

Humans have had a significant impact on the grassland ecosystem. Most of the grasslands in the United States with fertile soil have been utilised for grazing livestock or crops. Various species were impacted, ranging from small creatures such as monarch butterflies to big animals such as elephants. Excessive hunting of big animals, for example, will disrupt an ecosystem’s biological equilibrium. For example, if grasses are lost, grazing animals such as zebras, which are a food supply for predators and carnivores in the region, may perish.

V. Freshwater Biome

Freshwater has a low salt content, around one percent. Rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds are examples of freshwater biomes.

VI. Marine Biome

The marine biome is the world’s biggest biome, covering about 70% of the globe. Among the world’s five major oceans are the Arctic Ocean, Southern Ocean, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Pacific Ocean. Because sea water has high salt concentrations, plants and animals in marine environments adapt by excreting surplus salt or boosting water absorption (homeostasis).

Biomes Examples

Forests encompass around one-third of the earth’s surface. They can be found in a variety of geological areas. Temperate woods, for example, can be found throughout Eurasia and eastern North America. Squirrels, deer, and bears are among the animals present in temperate woods. Tropical forests are another form of forest. They may be found in areas around the equator, such as Central America, Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Large birds and harpy eagles are examples of creatures that thrive in tropical woods. Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia, and Siberia all have taiga (Boreal woods). The Boreal woods are home to deer, moose, and other big animals.

Deserts encompass roughly a fifth of the earth’s surface area and are classified into four types based on their temperature or location: hot, cold, coastal, and semiarid. Most of Africa’s continent is covered by the Sahara desert. It is well-known as an arid desert. The Moava desert, located in the southwest of the United States, is another desert habitat. Semiarid deserts span parts of North America, Asia, Greenland, and Europe; the Atacama desert of Chile is an example of a coastal desert in South America, and the Antarctic is a well-known cold desert.

There are two varieties of tundra, both of which may be found in high-latitude areas: alpine and arctic tundra. The alpine tundra is located at the tops of very high mountains, where temperatures drop dramatically at night. The arctic tundra can be found in Russia, Iceland, Canada, Greenland, Scandinavia, and Alaska, to the north of boreal forests on high landmasses.

Tundra animals generate fat layers to maintain their body temperature throughout the winter. To keep warm, they are coated in fur. Small mammals, such as ground squirrels, and big mammals, such as wolves, live on the tundra (e.g. caribou). Snowy owls, polar bears, arctic foxes, and wolves are tundra carnivores at the top of the tundra food chain. During the winter, they typically acquire white feathers or fur to help them blend in with the snow.

The majority of Africa, as well as parts of India, Asia, Australia, and South America, are covered with savannas. Away from the equator, temperate grasslands may be found in Argentina, Eastern Europe, North America, and Russia. There are no plants or trees in the temperate grasslands. Although savanna and temperate grasslands appear to be similar, they are distinct in numerous ways. Elephants, for example, are not found in the temperate grasslands of the United States, but they are prevalent in Africa’s savannas. Prairie dogs, on the other hand, are often found in temperate grasslands.

About 75% of the Earth’s surface is covered by freshwater and marine biomes. The major sources of freshwater running rivers and streams are rainwater or melting glaciers. Lakes and ponds are the immobile forms of freshwater that generally flow into an ocean or a lake. The seas are saltwater bodies that cover the majority of the earth’s surface. Marine biomes are home to a variety of living organisms. In the deep oceans, there is insufficient light to allow photosynthesis, so many animals rely on chemosynthesis to survive. Coral reefs are made up of calcium carbonate and develop in shallow seas. Because the waters are becoming more acidic and hotter, climate change has a significant impact on coral reefs.

You’re undoubtedly curious about the ecosystem in which we dwell. For example, if you live in California, your biomes are temperate forests in northern California, Redwood forests in northern California, and grassland in Western North America in the mountains. Furthermore, the desert biome may be found in a variety of locations.

3D biome models were created to offer a virtual look at each biome listed in the list of biomes using a computer, tablet, or phone in order to explore diverse biomes in different areas across the world.

Biomes Citations


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