Climate and biomes


biome: an area classified according to the species that live in that location. Temperature range, soil type, and the amount of light and water are unique to a particular place and form the niches for specific species allowing scientists to define the biome.

abiotic: abiotic factor is a non-living part of an ecosystem that shapes its environment. In a terrestrial ecosystem, examples might include temperature, light, and water.

biotic: biotic factor is a living organism that shapes its environment. In a freshwater ecosystem, examples might include aquatic plants, fish, amphibians, and algae. Biotic and abiotic factors work together to create a unique ecosystem.

how are biomes classified: are geographically classified or defined as aquatic (water) or terrestrial (land); in addition to, the types of plant and animal populations that predominantly occupy the area. influenced by climate, biomes can shift over time.

terrestial biome: land region on the earth's surface covered by biological communities that group under the same climatic patterns like rainfall and temperature, such as tundra, taiga or rainforest

aquatic biome: large community of living organisms that are distributed in bodies of fresh water (freshwater biomes) or salt water (marine biomes). There are two main types of aquatic biomes, defined according to their salinity

climatograph: climograph is a graph that displays average (mean) precipitation and temperature for an area. It is used to compare the climate in different places.


main factors affecting biome location: Temperature range, latituide, altituide, soil type, and the amount of light and water are unique to a particular place and form the niches for specific species allowing scientists to define the biome.

latituide affect on biome location: Generally speaking, biomes at higher latitudes (further away from the equator) are cooler and drier. Closer to the equator, biomes are generally warmer and wetter, as warmer air holds more moisture than colder air; precipitation decreases as one moves away from the Equator toward the poles

altituide affect on biome location: The temperature drops as the altitude increases. This would alter the structure and composition of our biome. Precipitation and height are a little more complicated. Higher elevations typically get snow instead of rain so the temperature is lower. roughly proportional to vertical uplift, precipitation rates often increase with elevation.

angle of sun on biomes: angle of incoming solar radiation influences seasonal temperatures of locations at different latitudes. When the sun's rays strike Earth's surface near the equator, the incoming solar radiation is more direct

intertropical convergence zone: intertropical Convergence Zone, or ITCZ, is a band of low pressure around the Earth which generally lies near to the equator. The trade winds of the northern and southern hemispheres come together here, which leads to the development of frequent thunderstorms and heavy rain.

precipitation effect on biomes: Higher precipitation leads to tall grass prairie with a high biodiversity of grasses and forbs. Lower precipitation leads to short grass prairies and arid grasslands. Savannas are located north and south of tropical forest biomes and are characterized by lower yearly rainfall and longer dry seasons.

evaportranspiration: term used to describe the part of the water cycle which removes liquid water from an area with vegetation and into the atmosphere by the processes of both transpiration and evaporation

types of rainfall:

  1. convectional: occur when the heated air from the earth's surface rises upwards along with the water vapor & gets condensed when it reaches a higher altitude. clouds carrying the water vapor are not carried away by the wind and hence, it rains in the same place
  2. orographic: produced when moist air is lifted as it moves over a mountain range. As the air rises and cools, orographic clouds form and serve as the source of the precipitation, most of which falls upwind of the mountain ridge
  3. cyclonic: caused when the warm moist air comes in contact with cool dry air. At the end of summer, the air above the water heats up and rises creating an area of low pressure. So, the high pressure cold air starts rushing in

solstices on biomes: solstices are defined by solar declination—the latitude of the Earth where the sun is directly overhead at noon. On Earth, solstices are twice-yearly phenomena in which solar declination reaches the Tropic of Cancer in the north and the Tropic of Capricorn in the south.

ocean currents on climate: Ocean currents act much like a conveyer belt, transporting warm water and precipitation from the equator toward the poles and cold water from the poles back to the tropics. Thus, currents regulate global climate, helping to counteract the uneven distribution of solar radiation reaching Earth's surface

distance from the sea: areas near the coast tend to be warmer than inland areas during winter, but during the summer costal areas tend to be cooler. water takes longer to heat up than land, but retains its heat longer than land. therefore, inalnd areas can warm up very quickly but during the night or winter months they can be very cold

soil profile in biomes: Soils and biomes are closely linked. Because climate and vegetation are two major factors that determine how soils form, specific soil types are also commonly associated with each biome.

litter in soil affect: litter (dead plant material of a small size that is loose on the ground) can facilitate or impede plant growth, by altering temperature, moisture, and light availability

nutrient cycles: system where energy and matter are transferred between living organisms and non-living parts of the environment. This occurs as animals and plants consume nutrients found in the soil, and these nutrients are then released back into the environment via death and decomposition. each circle represents the stores in the system, the large the circle, the more nutrients are sroted and the samller the circle, the fewer nutrients are sorted. arrows show where nutrients are trasnferred between the stors or inputs / outputs (thicker arrow shows more nutrients being transferred)


leaching: leaching is the loss of water-soluble plant nutrients from the soil, due to rain and irrigation

how have plants and animals adapted to biomes: evolve adaptations to suit them to the abiotic factors in their biome. Abiotic factors to which they adapt include temperature, moisture, growing season, and soil. This is why the same type of biome in different parts of the world has organisms with similar adaptations

adaptations in tropical rainforest: tropical rainforest leaves have a drip tip. It is thought that these drip tips enable rain drops to run off quickly. Plants need to shed water to avoid growth of fungus and bacteria in the warm, wet tropical rainforest.

adaptations in savanna grasslands: most savanna adaptations are to drought--long tap roots to reach the deep water table, thick bark for resistance to annual fires (thus palms are prominent in many areas), deciduousness to avoid moisture loss during the dry season, and use of the trunk as a water-storage organ

trophic levels: is a visual representation of how the energy of a food chain changes, you you go up each level from the producers to the apex predator. primary producers move, herbivores (primary) and predators (secondary consumer) and then ends at level four or five, with the apex predator.


competiton in biomes: occur between organisms in an ecosystem when their niches overlap, they both try to use the same resource and the resource is in short supply. Animals compete for food, water and space to live. Plants compete for light, water, minerals and root space

animal adaptations in biomes: biological mechanism by which organisms adapt to changes in their current habitat or to new environments. this enables better survival and reproduction, leading to evolution.

how have indigenous people adapted to their biomes: for centuries biomes have been managed by humans. some regions still have people managing the alnd as their ancestors did before them. these indigenous peoples have inherited the cultures and ways of relating to the environment of their ancestors. different tribes live and work in the Amazon rainforest, hunting for meat and collecting fruit and nuts. some tribes have learn to climb the larger trees to collect animals, or foodstuffs such as honey or nuts. they continue to adapt to climatological and biome wise changes

what changes are caused by the management of biomes: Human activities such as agriculture and logging often result in habitat loss or the introduction of invasive species, leaving native species vulnerable. amount of nutreints stored in biomes has also been reduced signficantly as more nutrients are being taken out of the syste through leaching; leading to additonal deforestation. this leads to the concept of feedback loops in management of biomes.

feedback loops: Feedback loops can also occur to a larger degree: at the ecosystem level, a form of homeostasis is maintained. example of this is in the cycle of predator and prey populations: a boom in prey population will mean more food for predators, which will increase predator numbers

case studies:

  1. palm oil cultivation in amazon rainforest - oil palm monocultures have a very low level of biodiversity and are no comparison to the richness of a rainforest. Clearing tropical forests and converting them into plantations destroys the habitat of an enormous variety of animal and plant species
    1. To what extent has cultivation for agricultural cropland impacted deforestation within the Amazon rainforest of the the French Guinea?


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