Animals and plants have specific survival needs across species. They depend on several abiotic factors to nourish and grow. For example, fish need an aquatic biome to survive, and animals need a terrestrial biome. The Biome of any biotic settlement depends on its abiotic resources. Biomes can be divided into types depending on climatic conditions and precipitation.
A biome is defined as an ecosystem with a large community of living organisms surviving on specific climate conditions, temperature, soil quality, vegetation, and water availability. It is an environment where living and non-living things co-exist.
The meaning of biome across different ecosystems remains the same. It refers to an area classified based on biotic units living in a specific abiotic community. All ecosystems have a specific biome based on their habitat and survival needs. We can also find animals and plants undergoing adaptations to survive in a biome.
A Biome is a large collection of flora and fauna formed naturally in a specific habitat. In reality, there is no fixed definition of biome in the dictionary. Biome means a geographical location; It is a regional land area or zone categorised by its location-specific plants, animals, and climatic conditions. It can be interpreted by the collective role a location plays in an ecosystem for the survival of the living species.
Factors responsible for a Biome:
The four main factors that are responsible for a biome are:
- Climatic conditions like temperature, precipitation, etc.
- Soil conditions like soil texture, fertility, nutrient richness, etc.
- Vegetation like the trees, shrubs, herbs, flowers, and fruits
- Wildlife: insects, birds, mammals, and marine life
All these four aspects are responsible for developing a biome in any region. Among these factors, climate plays a vital role and divides the environment into different types of biomes.
Types of biomes
Climatic factors like temperature and precipitation can divide the environment into five major types of biomes as follows:
- Forest biome: abundant vegetation and wet climate
- Grassland biome: low-level vegetation and grasses
- Desert biome: no vegetation and extreme heat
- Aquatic Biome: water-based plants and wildlife
- Tundra biome: no vegetation and extreme cold
Forest biomes are forest areas that are covered in trees. It has versatile biodiversity of insects, birds, animals, and vegetation. The climatic aspects differentiate the Biome into three types:
- Tropical rainforest
- Temperate forest
- Taiga forest
Grasslands have widespread grasses of different sizes but do not have trees. Short to tall grasses, flowers and herbs are all grown in the grassland. The climate here is warm and dry most of the year. However, trees grow in bunches near the tropics. There is minimal vegetation in the tropical grasslands when a seasonal downpour occurs. There are two types of grassland biomes,
- Temperate grasslands (near the equator) and
- Savannah grasslands or tropical grasslands (over the tropics)
A desert biome experiences extreme temperatures. The winter is freezing, and there is hardly any rain. The change of temperatures during days and nights is also harsh. To protect themselves from these extreme climatic changes, the animals of the desert biome stay underground in the caves. Plants and animals adapt themselves to the desert biome in the following ways:
- Cactus stores water and has thorns to avoid transpiration
- Camels, humps stores fat as an energy source
The aquatic biome is a water-based habitat. The biotic community includes fishes, algae, coral reefs, and microorganisms. The abiotic factors are temperature, oxygen, and sunlight. Depending on the salt content of the water, the Aquatic biome is divided into:
- Freshwater Aquatic biomes, like lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and rivers
- Marine water aquatic biomes, like oceans, estuaries, and coastal areas
The tundra biome has the coldest temperature of all the types of biomes. The region has cold summers with ice below the soil level. There are few mosses, shrubs, and grass growing in the summer heat, but they die once the winter begins. Trees do not grow here as the roots cannot penetrate below the ice. Birds immigrate here to nest during the summers but leave once the winter begins.
Once you learn the meaning of biome and its factors, you will understand the importance of the Biome in the environment. In ecology, biome helps us understand the relationship of it with the environment and how to alter the species’ behaviour for a better environment. We need to know about the biome to protect a biome. Knowing the different types of biomes and their wildlife helps us maintain a balanced environment.