What is a Biome
Transcript What is a Biome
What is a Biome?
• Ecologists group the
ecosystems into larger
areas known as biomes.
• A biome is a group of
ecosystems that share
similar abiotic and biotic
• Biomes are always defined
first by their climate,
vegetation, and animal life.
Biomes and Climate
• A region’s climate determines which biome
covers any particular portion of the planet.
• Climate describes the average conditions,
including temperature and precipitation
over long periods of time.
• Weather is different…it is defined as the
day to day conditions occurring in an area.
• Scientists use climate diagrams, or
climatographs, to describe the conditions
in a biome.
Earth’s Major Biomes
• Groups of terrestrial
share biotic and
• 10 primary biomes:
tropical rain forest
dry forest savanna
temperate rain forest
Biomes and Organisms
• REMEMBER! Natural selection results in
the survival of those organisms that are
best suited for their environment!
• Therefore, we see that in each biome
there are specific organisms suited to live
there. ie: desert animals
• There are some that can survive in
Net Primary Production
• Ecologists compare biomes by not only
looking at climate and organisms…but also
by looking at how much energy and
organic matter they generate.
• Net primary production – describes how
much organic matter (food, energy) is
produced in a region.
• Warmer and wetter biomes have a higher
productivity than colder and drier ones.
Tropical Rain Forest
• Year-round warm temperatures
and at least 2 m (6.6 ft)
precipitation a year
• Soil generally nutrient-poor
• Forest canopy, emergent layer,
and understory support enormous
variety of plants.
• Plants tend to have large, flat
leaves and shallow roots.
• Supports more animal species
than any other biome; animals
tend to be highly specialized.
Did You Know? Some tropical plants
(epiphytes) grow high on other plants to
access sunlight and do not touch the soil.
Tropical Dry Forest
• Warm year-round, but rainfall highly
• Most trees are deciduous—they lose
their leaves and cease photosynthesis
part of the year.
• Plants and animals exhibit
adaptations (e.g. waxy leaf coating,
deep roots, estivation, migration) that
enable them to survive the dry
• Found in South America, India, and
Tiger (Panthera tigris)
• Receives less precipitation than
tropical dry forests, but more than
deserts; usually has a distinct rainy
• Grasses interspersed with groups
• Tree growth limited by frequent fires
and strong winds
• Plants are adapted to dry
conditions; tend to be deciduous
with deep roots, thick bark, and
waxy coatings on leaves.
• Many animals migrate to find water,
or burrow when water is scarce.
Did You Know? Cactus spines are
modified leaves that protect the plant
from thirsty animals. Photosynthesis
occurs within the green stems and
• Receives less than 25 cm (9.8
precipitation per year
• Temperatures vary widely from
• Plants tend to have thick, leath
leaves, store water in their tissu
and have shallow roots.
• Animals get most of their water
the food they eat, and they tend
be nocturnal. Mammals have
exaggerated appendages to he
regulate body temperature.
Temperate Rain Forest
• Year-round moderate temperatures
and heavy rainfall
• Largest extent found in Pacific
Northwest of United States
• Characterized by tall evergreen
trees, like cedars and hemlocks,
that don’t lose leaves annually;
many are conifers.
• Forest floor is shaded, damp, and
covered in moss.
• Animals that require moisture, such
as amphibians, thrive here.
Temperate Deciduous Forest
• Precipitation evenly spread
throughout the year
• Varied temperatures (hot
summers, cold winters)
• Plants tend to be broad-leafed and
• Soil is enriched with nutrients from
annual leaf drop.
• Animals may migrate, hibernate,
or store food to survive cold
Temperate Grassland (Prairie)
• Moderate seasonal precipitation and fairly extreme
seasonal temperatures; droughts and fires common
• Not enough precipitation to support large trees; grasses,
which grow from their base, thrive despite droughts, fires,
• Animals are adapted to deal with lack of cover.
• Soil tends to be rich in nutrients; most of world’s grasslands
have been converted to farmland.
Taiga (Boreal Forest)
• Long, cold winters; short,
• Nutrient-poor, slightly
• Low species diversity
• Coniferous trees with
waxy needles and conical
shape, adapted to harsh, snowy
conditions are common.
• Animals feed, breed, and care for
young mostly during short warm
season; year-round residents tend
to have thick insulation and small
extremities that maintain heat.
• Highly seasonal conditions with mild,
wet winters and warm, dry summers
• Prolonged hot, dry periods; droughts
and fires common
• Plants are drought-resistant; many have
thick, waxy leaves or leaves with hairs
that trap moisture;
succulents are common.
• Plants may have thick bark and
deep roots to resist fire; some plants
require fire to germinate.
• Many animals burrow or are nocturnal
to avoid heat.
Did You Know? Some
chaparral plants contain
oily compounds that
facilitate the spread of fire.
• Extremely cold, dark winters; relatively
sunny and cool summers
• Found at very high latitudes in the
• Harsh winds, nutrient-poor soil, and
freezing temperatures limit plant
growth; no tall trees; mosses and
• Characterized by permafrost
(underground soil that is frozen yearround)
• Birds and caribou migrate to the tundra
during the mild summer to feed on
insects and lichens; only a few species
live here year-round.
Polar Ice and Mountains
• Not classified as biomes
• No land under polar ice in
Northern Hemisphere; ice sits
atop Antarctica in Southern
• Very few plants; most life
is in surrounding ocean
• Mountain communities
change with elevation,
similar to how biome