Welcome to our post which examines biome definition. In this post we review the major terrestrial and aquatic biomes of the planet giving examples of the fauna and flora and climatic conditions that can be found there.
Biomes are biogeographical areas on our planet which can be characterized as having comparable climactic conditions and similar flora and fauna organisms populating the area.
There are two main types of biomes, namely terrestrial and aquatic.
Terrestrial biomes are usually defined by the type of vegetation that is present. The vegetation is in turn usually determined by temperature and precipitation.
Aquatic Biomes are classified by the types of water they contain (fresh and saltwater).
Biome Definition Systems
Over the years there have been many different attempt at defining biomes and ecological areas. Each attempted method over the years has resultedd in a different number of biome classification types. Some of the more prevalent classifications are:
- Holdridge life zones
- Allee biome-types
- Kendeigh biomes
- Goodall ecosystem types
- Walter zonobiomes
- Olson & Dinerstein biomes for WWF / Global 200
To summarize, our website will look at 13 of the more easily recognizable biome types. Nine are terrestrial and four are aquatic.
List of 9 Terrestrial Biome Definitions
The Tundra biome is the coldest biome and is to be located at the north Arctic and south Antarctic poles. A subset of this biome is the Alpine Tundra can be found at the top of our highest mountains at the highest elevations. The vegetation associated with these areas range from no vegetation to very short grasses and shrubs. A layer of permafrost is also usually found.
The Canadian Arctic tundra is an excellent example of this type of terrain. The region has very little precipitation, permanent frozen soils and long, dark and cold winters all of which limit the opportunity for plant growth.
The Taiga is also known as the Boreal forest or the Northern coniferous forest. This biome is found south of the northern Arctic tundra. This is a snow covered region with vegetation consisting of coniferous evergreen trees.
Temperate Deciduous Forest Biome
These regions are associated with hot summer and cold winters. Vegetation found here will include mosses, small shrubs and broad-leaf trees such as birch, beech, oak and maple.
Temperate Rainforest Biome
Thes ecological areas have mild temperatures. Rain is prevalent all year round with as much as 60mm of rain falling each year. Trees, mosses and ferns are the main vegetation to be found in these regions.
Temperate Grassland Biome
This grassland biome can be found on all continents except Antarctica and consist of prairie like grasslands with no presence of large shrubs and trees.
The shrubland is also known as the Chaparral and can be located in a few small areas of the world including Southern Australia, California and around the Mediterranean Sea. This is a hot and dry area in summer and cool and moist in the winter. As the name suggests the vegetation consists mainly of small shrubs.
Desert biomes are very dry areas with generally less than 10 inches of rain per year. Deserts are classified as hot as in the African Sahara or cold as in the wastelands of Antarctica. Vegetation is limited to a small range of plants such as short grasses, cacti and shrubs that have adapted to the harsh conditions and can retain water for long periods of time.
Savanna Biomes are also known as tropical grasslands. found in the warm tropic regions across the planet the vegetation mainly consist of grasses. Tropical grasslands are charactized as having both a dry season and a very rainy season.
One of the more well-known grasslands would be the African savanna, populated large herds of grassland animals such as wildebeest, zebra, elephants and giraffes.
Tropical Rainforest Biomes
The Tropical Rainforest Biome are to be located around the equatorial regions and are characterized by an all year round warm climate. Rainfall can range from 60 to 4oo inches each year. This fact combined with temperature also makes for high levels of humidity.
Plant and animal life are abundant in this biome albeit the biome is at high risk of destruction due to the large broad leaf and palm trees that are prevalent but also in demand.