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biome

regions that have distinctive climates and organisms and that contain many separate but similar ecosystems

tropical rain forest

warm, wet biome that occurs in a belt around the Earth near the equator and that contains the greatest diversity of organims on Earth

temperate

moderate, not subject to extremes, restrained

temperate rain forest

cool, humid biome where tree branches are draped with mosses, tree trunks are covered with lichens, and the forest floor is covered with ferns

deciduous

to shed leaves annually

temperate deciduous forest

forest in an area of extreme seasonal variation in which trees drop their leaves each fall

taiga

biome dominated by conifers and characterized by harsh winters; occurs just below the Arctic Circle, aka Northern coniferous forest

conifer

tree whose seeds develop in cones

climate

weather conditions in an area- temperature, precipitation, humidity, and winds- over a long period of time

savanna

tropical grassland biome with a short rainy season

prairie

large area of level or slightly rolling grasslands

steppe

large, grassy plains area with few trees in southeast Europe and Asia

pampa

large, treeless plain of Argentina and other parts of South America

chaparral

coastal biome with a Mediterranean climate and low-lying vegetation

desert

biome that receives less than 10 in. of precipitation a year

tundra

biome without trees, where grasses and tough schrubs grow in the frozenn soil; extends from the Arctic Circle to the North Pole

rain shadow

shadow that occurs when mountains block the passage of rain

estivation

process of amphibians burying themselves in the ground and sleeping through dry seasons

littoral zone

shallow-water area near the shores of lakes and ponds where sunlight reaches the bottom

benthic zone

bottom of a body of water; inhabited by decomposers, insect larvae, and clams

wetland

area of land covered by water for at least part of the year

marsh

land covered with water; contains nonwoody plants

swamp

land covered with water; contains woody plants or shrubs

fresh water

water that contains relatively little dissolved salt

eutrophic lake

lake with a large amount of plant nutrients

estuary

aquatic ecosystem in which fresh water from rivers mixes with salt water from the ocean, forming a nutrient trap

coral reef

limestone islands in the sea built by coral animals

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