Have you ever wondered what a biome is? Or how does it differ from an ecosystem? Although both biomes and ecosystems are important concepts in environmental science, they have some distinct differences.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at biomes and ecosystems, highlighting the key difference between these two terms. After reading this post, you should have a better understanding of each concept and be able to explain the importance of both biomes and ecosystems in our world. Thanks for reading!
Table of Contents
⫸What is a biome?
What is a biome? The word “biome” has been used to describe the diverse range of habitats that make up Earth’s ecosystems. There are oxygen-rich forests, hot deserts with little rainfall, and even freezing tundra wildernesses where few people can survive for long periods without modern technology! An interesting fact about them all – they’re called biomes because each one contains both organic (life) components as well nonliving elements like rocks or water ice.
According to I. G. Simmons (1982), “the biomes of the world are major world-scale regions which integrate several factors into an intuitively recognizable whole – deserts, forests, savannas, oceans, etc.
In other words, the biome is a large natural ecosystem where all vegetation and wildlife communities are studied together.
⫸ What are different biome types?
The biome includes not only the vegetation and wildlife communities of a specific climatic condition but also their dependence on spatially varying factors such as temperature or rainfall. This means that different parts of our world have corresponding biomes–though it’s important to note how these vary from region to region!
The biomes of the world are fascinating and diverse. They vary from tropical rainforests, which can be found only on Earth’s surface (although there is some controversy about this), to cooler high-altitude mountain regions like those in Asia or North America where we find alpine meadows at higher elevations above sea level due to both their altitude as well as farther away from oceans who provide the moisture necessary for plant life through evaporation.
The basic classification of biomes of the world based on the nature of habitat are –
A. Terrestrial Biomes, and
B. Aquatic Biomes
A. Terrestrial Biomes:
The terrestrial biomes are a group of habitats that can be found on land. These include everything from rainforests to deserts and all other types in between, with their unique features identifying them as such!
The name says “terr” + Earth so you might think these places dwell simply on planet earth itself? Well yeah sorta… But what makes them special? For starters, they’re rich in history too and have undergone countless changes overtime period due to global warming, cooling cycles, etc.
This biome is further classified as-
1. Tundra Biome
2. Temperate Biome: There are four Temperate Biomes in the world. Those are:
- Taiga Biome
- Temperate Deciduous Forest Biome
- Mediterranean Biome
- Temperate Grassland Biome
3. Tropical Biome: The tropical biome has three different types – Tropical Forest Biome, Savanna Biome, and Desert Biome. We can subcategorize Tropical Forest Biome into three different parts-
i) Evergreen Rainforest Biome
ii) Tropical Deciduous Forest Biome
iii) Montane Forest Biome
B. Aquatic Biomes:
All over this planet, you’ll find lakes or rivers that fit into one of five groups – cold high mountain streams; warm deep ocean current channels (like along coastlines); seasonally-influenced waterfall drops onto rocks below Paradise Falls – whatever temperature suits their surroundings best at any given time.
This biome is further classified as-
a. Marine Biomes
b. Freshwater Biomes
a. Marine Biomes:
About two-thirds of the total biome areas of the world are marine biomes. Marine biomes provide varied habitats. Marine biomes are further classified as follows –
1. Continental Shelf Biome
2. Tropical Coral Biome
3. Kelp Forest Biome
4. Benthic Biome
5. Pelagic Biome
b. Fresh Water Biomes:
About only one-third of the total biome areas of the world are freshwater biomes. Freshwater biomes provide varied habitats. Freshwater biomes are further classified as follows –
1. Pond Biome
2. Riverine Biome
3. Lacustrine Biome
4. Polar Freshwater Biome
5. Littoral Forest Biome
◉ Major Terrestrial Biomes of the world
There are seven major terrestrial biomes on Earth: tundra, taiga, temperate deciduous forest, tropical rainforest, temperate grassland, desert, and boreal forest. Each biome is characterized by its unique climate and vegetation.
Tundra is a word meaning “barren land” in Finnish. It can refer to either the freezing tundras of Polar regions or more generally any area with little vegetation and often extensive ice caps such as Canada’s Northwest Territories.
Cryophytes like mosses, willows, and campions are common plant species found within this biome which extends into warmer areas too-they grow best when there’s minimal light available but since it gets plenty cold enough for their needs these clients thrive here! Muskoxen caribou wolves lemmings Ptarmigan (a kind bird) all play important roles within Tunder habitat offerings.
Taiga biome includes sub-arctic regions of North America (from Alaska across Canada to the Hudson Bay), Scandinavian Peninsula, Russian Siberia, Germany, Switzerland, and other parts of Europe, etc. Taiga biome is a mix of higher altitude Tundra and lower altitude Temperate Forest biome.
In these temperate rainforests, you will find a variety of plants including pines, firs, and spruce trees with larch trees thrive at a higher altitude while shrubs like birches grow at lower elevations.
Herbivores such as caribou can be found here alongside carnivorous animals like wolves or even smaller creatures who live on their prey’s leftovers -such insects Andrew Blackflies when it comes to wildlife Taigas offers plenty for every type!
The savanna is a typical tropical vegetation type with the dominance of grasses. This biome can be found in Columbia, Venezuela South-central Brazil Paraguay northern Australia parts of India, etc.
The main plant species are African elephant grass, panicum, andropogon, shrubs, small woody plants, baobab, palm, and eucalyptus. Animals and birds include elk, giraffe, zebra, hippopotamus, gazelle, antelope, ostrich, emu, bustards, cassowaries, condor, vultures, quail, etc.
The temperate grasslands are the important grassland biomes of the world. Prairie in North America, Pampas in South America, Velds in Africa, and Downs in Australia, etc are some major grassland biomes of the world.
Important plant species are grasses like poa tussock, kangaroo grass, Danthonia, Festuca; aristida, mulga (one kind of shrub), eucalyptus, etc. The main animal species are buffalo, antelope, wild horse, kangaroo, guanaco, gazelle, mole rat, wolves, eagle, hawk, etc.
Desert biomes are very hot and dry regions of the world. The atmosphere and the soil lack moisture. Sahara, Atacama, Sonoran, Patagonia, West Australian desert, etc are some major desert biomes of the world.
The Sahara and Atacama Deserts in Chile and Argentina are among the most narrow deserts on Earth. These regions have extremely hot summers with little rain in all seasons- it’s difficult to even for succulents to grow here!
However, some plant species manage though like cacti or Joshua tree which only exist because they can tolerate such harsh conditions (in addition these areas also host an abundance of lizards). Other animals that live alongside these plants include snakes, Scorpions, and various kinds of insects.
◆ Temperate Forests:
Temperate forests are found all over the world. They contain a variety of plants and animals that live in warm summers, and cold winters with softwood trees dominant at higher latitudes while coniferous ones grow closer to colder regions such as those Nearctic mountains where they can escape harsh conditions during summer months when temperatures soar above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).
Some examples include bear species who hibernate throughout winter; deer-, and elk-or coyote varieties depending on what prey is available also live here but not just because it’s easier than elsewhere–this place has been sustaining life since time immemorial!
◆ Tropical Evergreen Forest:
The Tropical Rainforests is a lush, green haven for all sorts of wildlife. The rainforests are often considered one step away from being called “the ultimate destination” because they have everything you could want in your vacation: pristine waterfalls; beautiful flowers and colorful birds filling up their schedules with life!
Tropical rainforests are a haven for plants and animals living in the hot, humid equatorial region with high annual rainfall. The soil is always moist making these forests incredibly diverse–home to many types of trees including epiphytes (a type that grows on other plants), herbs or shrubs as well gorgeous flowers such as bright-colored birds like parrots which can be found everywhere here!
The Amazon rainforest is a unique and incredible place. Not only does it contain some of the most diverse plant life on Earth, but also has an amazing variety in animal population as well!
From small animals such as toucans or bees up to large carnivores such condors which can measure over 10 feet tall when they’re not flying around looking for food – there aren’t many other places where you’ll find something like this kind of harmony between human interference (agriculture) with natural ecosystems.
The tropical moist forests thrive under high average annual rainfall conditions because soil always stays moist due to persistent rains throughout each year.
⫸ How are Biomes destroyed?
Biologists are still figuring that out, but it’s clear that we’re in trouble. The loss of biomes is depriving us of vital resources and damaging our environment in ways we’re only beginning to understand. We need to act now to save the world’s biomes—and ourselves.
- Large-scale deforestation causes loss of habitat of the species
- Over-exploitation of natural resources disturbs the equilibrium of nature
- Environmental degradation is a result of faulty agricultural practices of man
- Incorrect landuse system creates a negative impact on biomes of the world
- Logging, building, construction work, etc also misbalance the functioning of the biomes
- Shifting agriculture, timber exploitation, formation of grazing land, cattle ranching, etc also harm the very important world biomes, like- Tropical Rainforest, Temperate Softwood Forest, etc.
- The construction of shipping lines, ports, construction of marine oil fields pollute the marine biome
- Water pollution harms all sorts of aquatic biomes
- The biomes that thrived in the Transitional Zones are the most vulnerable biomes of the world and are most threatened by human activities
- Overfishing is a major reason for the destruction of marine and freshwater biomes
- Global warming is another major reason for biome destruction in past few years
- The climatic change also affects the biomes of the world severely, especially in the polar regions
⫸ What are the effects of the destruction of the biomes?
It’s no secret that the earth’s biomes are in trouble. From the Amazon Rainforest to the Great Barrier Reef, all over the world ecosystems are suffering from human activity. But what are the effects of this destruction?
Biologists are still figuring that out, but it’s clear that we’re in trouble. The loss of biomes is depriving us of vital resources and damaging our environment in ways we’re only beginning to understand. We need to act now to save the world’s biomes — and ourselves.
- Excessive exploitation of nature results in environmental pollution
- Habitat loss may cause the collapse of the micro or macro ecosystem
- Habitat loss may result in loss of biodiversity
- Destruction of a single ecosystem may destroy a biome
- Species loss hampers the food chain and food web relationships among different trophic levels
- Destruction of biomes makes species vulnerable, endangered, or even extinct
⫸ How to conserve biomes?
If there’s one thing that we all learn in an ecology class, it’s that the earth is a complex and interconnected system. The biosphere – the part of the earth where life exists – is constantly changing, and human activity has a big impact on how it functions. In this blog post, we’re going to explore some ways that we can work to conserve biomes around the world.
These conservation methods may be as follows –
- Conservation of natural resources is the first and foremost step to conserving the world’s biomes
- The practice of both In-situ and Ex-situ conservation is very much effective in this regard
- Pollution control is another method to prevent the loss of biomes
- The environmental Awareness Programme is also an important step in this context
- Wiser and sustainable use of natural resources lengthens their existence and conserves the biomes
- Implementation of strict laws helps in protecting and preserving the biomes
- Public awareness about the consequences of human actions can help them to understand the need for the conservation of biomes of the world
- Area-specific conservation methods are more effective to conserve the more fragile world biomes, like the Tundra Biome, Taiga Biome, Tropical Rainforest, etc
- Ban on illegal fishing and fishing techniques, prevention of malpractice of landuse, check on overgrazing, check the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc also help to reduce pollution, and habitat loss; thus, conservation of the world biomes.
⫸ Biome vs. Ecosystem
What is the difference between a biome and an ecosystem? Most people would say that they are essentially the same thing, but that’s not the case. There are some key differences between these two ecological communities that you need to know about if you want to truly understand how our world works. Let’s take a closer look at both of these concepts and see what sets them apart from each other.
- A Biome is a large natural ecosystem where all vegetation and wildlife communities are studied together. An ecosystem is an interaction among all non-living organisms and living organisms within biomes.
- Each climatic region has its unique biome. A single climatic region comprises more than one ecosystem.
- A Biome suggests a large area with differential uniqueness among physical and organic components. An ecosystem is a micro-concept of a biome.
- A Biome is multiple ecosystems. An ecosystem is the smallest unit of a biome.
- The number of plant and animal species is much more in a large biome than in an ecosystem.
- The number of food chains and food webs is much greater than in a single ecosystem.
In conclusion, biomes are an important aspect of the environment that should be conserved. Though they may seem static, each biome is unique and filled with different types of flora and fauna. The destruction of a biome can have serious consequences for the environment and humans alike. Fortunately, there are ways to conserve biomes before it’s too late.
What do you think? Are biomes important? How can we work together to conserve them? Let us know in the comments below!
⫸ Frequently Asked Questions on Biome:
Q. What is a biome?
A. A biome is a large geographical area of distinctive plant and animal communities that are adapted to that particular environment. The climate and the terrain largely determine what type of biome will exist in an area. There are terrestrial biomes and aquatic biomes.
Q. What are the types of biome?
A. Six types of the terrestrial biome are determined by the prevailing climatic conditions: tundra, taiga, temperate deciduous forest, tropical rainforest, desert, and grassland. Other than the Terrestrial biomes, there is an Aquatic Biome also called the marine biome that covers two-thirds of the Earth’s surface and includes both salt water and fresh water environments.
Q. What are the major 7 terrestrial biomes of the world?
A. Tundra, Taiga, Temperate Deciduous Forest, Tropical Rainforest, Desert, Grassland, and Marine.
Q. What is the difference between biome and ecosystem?
A. A biome is a large, naturally occurring region of the Earth’s surface that is distinguished by its plants and animals. An ecosystem is a community of living things and their physical environment. Ecosystems can be found in the biome or outside of the biome.