What is a biome?
Biomes are very large areas on the earth’s surface, with animals and plants adapting to their environment. Biomes are often defined by abiotic factors such as climate, relief, geology, soils and vegetation. A biome is NOT an ecosystem. If you take a closer look, you will notice that different plants or animals in a biome have similar adaptations that make it possible for them to exist in that area. There are many major biomes on earth.
Let us take a quick look at each of these biomes:
Location: Near the equator in Central and South America, parts of Africa and Asia. Characteristics: Hot, humid with equatorial climate and biggest biodiversity. Almost half of the world’s species (plants and animals) live there. The trees are mostly hardwood.
Savannah or Tropical Grasslands:
Location: Central Africa (Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania), northern Australia and central South America (Venezuela and Brazil).
Characteristics: Hot and dry, mainly grass, scrub and occasional trees. This biome has two distinct seasons — a dry season and a rainy season. During the dry season the vegetation dies and re-appears rapidly during the rainy season.
Location: The Sahara Desert is the world’s largest desert, located in North Africa.
Characteristics: Very hot and dry with very little rain.
Location: Mediterranean Sea, near Cape Town in South Africa and Melbourne in Australia.
Characteristics: The climate of this biome is not too hot or cold.
Location: Mainly found in the Puszta in Hungary, the Veldt in South Africa, the Pampas in Argentina and the Prairies in the USA.
Characteristics: Many grass and trees with little large bushes. Climates are temperate continental with mild weather and moderate rainfall.
Temperate deciduous forests:
Location: Usually across Europe and USA contain trees that lose their leaves and are Characteristics: These have a temperate maritime climate, usually with mild and wet weather.
Location: Scandinavia, Russia and Canada.
Characteristics: Evergreen trees, cool climate with moderate rainfall.
Characteristics: These areas can be very cold at night and during winter. Trees usually do not grow at higher levels. About 80 per cent of our planet's fresh water originates in the mountains.
Location: Surrounds the North and South poles.
Characteristics: Extremely cold climate, temperatures often reaching about -50°F in the winter, supporting only a few plants and animals. Tundra covers about one-fifth of the Earth's land surface.
Next, click here to see the feeding relationships existing in ecosystems.