What Are The Different Biomes Of The World? Biomes are huge regions with similar vegetation, soil, climate, and species characteristics. One can further subdivide the aquatic, grassland, woodland, desert, and tundra biomes into freshwater, marine, savanna, tropical rainforest, temperate rainforest, and taiga biomes.
What’s a Biome?
Humans typically resort to categorization or grouping in order to make sense of complexity. We categorize everything in terms of food, sex, eye color, age range, and even film style. We classify everything from thoughts to physical objects, regardless of size. The variety of ecosystems on this planet is one of the largest things we strive to classify.
The natural world is incredibly diverse, and one strategy for coping with this diversity is to categorize different types of environments. We can classify our environment in various ways, including by the availability of water, the average temperature, and the flora and fauna that thrive there. The groups we select may vary depending on the details we use to characterize an environment.
We often classify the world’s natural regions according to the plant and animal species found there and how they have adapted to their environment. Organizing things based on living things can be tricky. Over 17 million known species exist, and that number is certain to increase. Once again, however, we can cut through some of the complexity and have a shot at better understanding the living Earth if we group animals with comparable adaptations together.
Simply put, a biome is an ecosystem characterized by the organisms that inhabit it. Humans can thrive in these regions (“bio” means life). This division system allows the ability to discuss geographically distinct regions with shared characteristics. However, how we categorize the world’s various ecosystems vary from person to person.
The planet’s various biomes
Biomes can be divided into two broad classes: those found on land and those found in water. Keeping with the 9-20 biome system, below are the nine most common types of ecosystems on Earth: tropical rainforest, temperate forest, desert, tundra, boreal forest or taiga, grassland, savanna, freshwater, and marine.
Regarding species diversity, few ecosystems can match that of tropical rainforests. This region spans the equator between 23.5 degrees north and south. These types of woodlands only experience two distinct seasons, wet and dry. Not even a hint of winter here. It’s often between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius. Their name as “rainforests” comes from the fact that annual rainfall totals more than 2,000 millimeters. The trees’ massive canopies block out the sun and give the area a foreboding atmosphere. Trees typically range in height from 25 to 35 meters and are evergreen (keep their leaves year-round). Several types of orchids, palm trees, vines, ferns, and mosses are growing here. A wide variety of birds, bats, small mammals, snakes, jaguars, monkeys, and other animals make up the flora.
Temperate woods can be found in western and central Europe, western North America, and northeast Asia. Temperate woods, in contrast to tropical ones, have delineated seasons, with winter, a growing season lasting 140-200 days, and four to six months without frost. The trees here are deciduous, which means they lose their leaves yearly as opposed to the evergreens found in rainforests. Extreme temperature swings range from -30 degrees to 30 degrees Celsius. Oak, maple, willow, elm, cottonwood, beech, and spring-flowering herbs are among the trees that can be found in this area. The predominant species of flora and fauna in this area are black bears, deer, squirrels, foxes, skunks, rabbits, and mountain lions.
Taiga or Boreal Forests
The taiga is the most significant forest type and the planet’s second-largest biome overall. Locatable in the large belt that spans both Eurasia and the Americas. There is a brief period of heavy rain in the summer and a much longer period of dryness in the winter. About 130 days of sunlight are available during the growth season. Snow falls as the temps drop. Pine, spruce, and fir trees, all of which are evergreen, make up the bulk of the flora. Moose, wolves, deer, bears, weasels, woodpeckers, and hares are among the local wildlife.
Deserts, the world’s warmest biome, can be found in the southern reaches of Central America, South Asia, Africa, and Australia. Deserts, which account for one-fifth of Earth’s land area, receive the least precipitation of any other biome. The Sahara in Africa and Antarctica provide two extreme examples of the polarity of deserts. The plants have adapted by developing deep taproots and waxy leaves. Because they can cool off by burrowing below, these creatures require very little water. Fox, snakes, lizards, beetles, and camels populate this area.
The term “treeless plain” describes the tundra, the coldest biome. Temperatures below freezing are common on the tundra, but precipitation is scarce, the growing season is brief, biodiversity is minimal, and nutrients are provided primarily by decaying organic waste. Specifically, there are two types of tundra, the Arctic Tundra, and the Alpine Tundra. The Arctic tundra is permanently frozen due to a layer of ice called permafrost that encircles the North Pole. More than 1700 plant species, including reindeer mosses, shrubs, sedges, and grasses, call this area home. A total of 400 unique flower species have been spotted. Animals found in the Arctic include the polar bear, arctic fox, migratory birds, and fish species like salmon and trout.
Alpine tundra can be found in the world’s highest mountain ranges. There is no way for trees to thrive in this area. There are usually about 180 days of growth. Low freezing point values are typical during the night. To name just a few examples of the local fauna: butterflies, grasshoppers, mountain goats, sheep, and elk.
Grasslands are vast stretches of land that dominate grass rather than trees and plants. Summers on a temperate grassland are hot, while winters are chilly. South Africa, the central North American plains, and the steppes of the former Soviet Union are all home to grasslands. Precipitation levels are average, and the soil is rich and dark. In addition, the area experiences periodic drought and occasional wildfires. In addition to grass, oaks, willows, and cottonwood can be found in the river valleys. There are several kinds of grass in the grassland, including blue grama, buffalo grass, and purple needlegrass. Zebras, gazelles, wild horses, owls, spider hawks, rhinoceroses, and lions are just few of the animals that call this area home.
Half of Africa is covered by savannahs, and sizable chunks of Australia and India are also home to these grassy plains. There are a few trees dotted over the grassy landscape. It rains for around six to eight months, dries up. Water drains quickly due to the soil’s porosity. Wildfires and thunderstorms are not uncommon in savannas. Because the fires scare away insects, the birds may feast on the exposed prey. Elephants, giraffes, hyenas, lions, beetles, cheetahs, snakes, kangaroos, leopards, termites, and buffalos are just a few savannah’s many animal inhabitants.
A shared dependence on water connects all of the many types of ecosystems. It covers over 75% of the planet’s surface and accounts for most of the biosphere. Freshwater is an area with a salt concentration of less than 1%. Various freshwater ecosystems include marshes, rivers, lakes, and ponds. Algae, water plants, plankton—a key component of the food web—turtles, ducks, snakes, and other reptiles and amphibians populate this area, among other species. The local flora and fauna are oxygen users and heterotrophs, meaning they get their nutrition from decomposing matter.
Wetlands include water habitats such as marshes, swamps, and bogs. Hydrophytes are the only plants that can survive under wetland conditions. Since salt marshes can be found in some wetland areas, not all of them are freshwater zones.
Oceans and other marine environments cover about three-quarters of the planet. Coastal areas, coral reefs, and estuaries are part of this. Most of the oxygen we breathe comes from marine algae, which also helps keep the atmosphere clean by soaking up excess CO2. While trees do play a role, marine algae play a much more significant role. As the land receives precipitation from the sea, this biome is crucial. Sea creatures, including octopuses, whales, sharks, jellyfish, sea birds, and seaweeds, are all considered part of flora and fauna.
Throughout the course of the Earth’s history, biomes have shifted and transformed. Keep in mind that Earth has experienced multiple ice ages. However, human activities have become the leading change source, endangering these crucial ecosystems. Wildfires in the Amazon and Australia, as well as rising sea levels threatening coastal towns around the world, have heightened international attention on the need to protect and preserve the planet’s biomes.