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Biomes are distinct ecosystems classified by climate, vegetation, and animal life. Terrestrial biomes are on land while aquatic biomes are in the water. Organisms in biomes obtain nutrients from many sources, such as soils, decaying vegetation and animals, and lower trophic levels. Human and environmental interactions alter characteristics of biomes. There are 5 main categories of biomes: aquatic, deserts, forests, grasslands, and tundra.
Deserts are normally found across latitudes 30°N and 30°S. Deserts form in these latitudes because dry air in the atmosphere is sinking, creating a high-pressure zone with less ability for clouds to form. Clouds normally form as air rises. Approximately 1/5th of the earth is a desert.
Deserts notoriously receive little precipitation. Rain comes in bursts, and some fall and evaporate before reaching the surface. The driest desert is the Atacama Desert of Chile, averaging less than 1.5 cm per year. Sometimes condensation in the mornings offers more water to organisms than rainfall. The soil is composed mainly of rock, gravel, and sand. There are several types of deserts, based on temperature. They are hot and dry, semi-arid, coastal, and cold deserts. The desert temperature varies drastically from day to night. The sun's solar radiation is normally scattered by water vapor in the atmosphere, but in deserts the air is dry; almost two times the solar radiation reaches earth's surface compared to other biomes. This phenomenon is what makes it hot during the day and colder at night.
- 1Hot and Dry deserts (arid).Advertisement
- 4Cold deserts.
Forests cover 1/3rd of the land surface of the earth.
There are 3 types of forests based on latitude. Forests allow very little light through to the ground because the canopy blocks 80-95% of solar radiation. The understory is under the canopy extending to the ground.
- 1Tropical forests.
- 3Boreal forests.
Grasslands consist mostly of grasses.
Climate differentiates savannas and temperate grasslands. Fires are common, as lightning from storms ignites the dry grass. The commonality of fires has caused indigenous organisms to adapt. Larger animals run away from the fire, burrowing animals are safe in burrows, and grasses have deep roots to quickly grow shoots again. Some of the woody trees have thickened bark, protecting them in fires. Fires effectively recycle nutrients for energy transfer from low to high trophic levels. Grasshoppers and beetles are some of the fauna killed in fires and become a feeding ground for birds and other prey.
Tundra originates from the word tunturia, which means treeless plain.
A tundra is the overall coldest biome, known for low temperatures, poor nutrients, low precipitation, and brief growing season. A 24-hour period above 5°C qualifies as a day of growing season. Tundras are split into two groups, arctic and alpine. Alpine tundras have longer growing seasons. Arctic tundras are so cold that the subsoil is permanently frozen, called permafrost. This prevents soils from draining very well. Low precipitation means this is like a cold desert.
- 2Alpine Tundras.
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Categories : Environmental Studies
Recent edits by: vcdanht, SarMal, Sharingknowledge