Honors Biology Biomes Definitions

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Desert

a biome occurring just north and south of the equator. Very hot and dry, with extremely unpredictable rainfall. Cold nights. Xerophytes live here. Organisms must store water in their tissues or have extensive root systems to survive.

Savanna

a biome consisting of grassland with isolated, flat-topped trees whose canopies do not meet. Mostly found in Africa.

Chaparral

the rarest biome, dominated by spiny shrubs. Hot and dry, with slightly unpredictable rainfall.

Tropical rainforest

a biome containing the oldest ecosystems and 60% of all species. Very warm and wet, most organism-rich place on earth. No tree species dominate in a single area.

Temperate grassland

a biome known as prairie by Americans, where grasses dominate. Quite dry, but has a rainy season.

Tundra

an arctic and alpine biome. Biggest feature is permafrost. No trees, dominated by small herbs, mosses, and lichens. Extremely cold, long, dark winters, with short, warmish summers. Popular with birds in the summer.

Taiga

a sub-biome consisting of boreal and coniferous forest. Thick snow, mostly comprised of evergreens. Cold, dry winters.

Temperate deciduous forest

a biome covering most of Europe and some of Asia. Trees have flat leaves with more area to photosynthesize; leaves drop in winter. Cold winters and long summers.

Freshwater

the kind of water with only two biomes: running and still.

Estuary

a marine biome containing running water and saltwater. Difficult to live in. Tide brings in nutrients. Contains worms and crustaceans, which are fed on by birds.

Intertidal

a seawater biome where water meets land, usually a rocky or sandy shore. Difficult to live in.

Pelagic

a biome consisting of open ocean. Organisms here must be able to swim 24/7 and travel long distances to feed. Blue water, not very rich.

Coral reef

a seawater biome on either side of the equator. Warm, well lit water. Contains an animal with algae in its tissues which photosynthesize and provide food. Only top level of animal is living. Very rich, many organisms and fish.

Abyssal zone

a seawater biome farther down than pelagic, containing sea mountains, cracks in the earth, gases, minerals, and hot areas. Richer than previously thought. No photosynthesis. Organisms here float and expend little energy.

Hadal zone

the deepest seawater biome, where two plates meet and create a trench. No light, very little food, extreme pressure.

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