World Builders™                                                                            Biomes  --  Introduction

Introduction to Biomes

 

A biome is an area with a specific climate and the life forms that live there together.


I have chosen six main biomes on earth, and have added a section on aquatic communities.

Intro to Deserts

  Hot Deserts
      Food Web
      KCalorie Pyramid

  Cold Deserts
     Food Web
     KCalorie Pyramid

Rainfall

Less than 10 inches

low

mountain lake

Rain Forests

Tropical Rain Forests
     Food Web
     KCalorie Pyramid

Temperate Rain Forest
     Food Web
     KCalorie Pyramid 

Rainfall

More than 60 inches

heavy

Coniferous Forests
     Food Web
     KCalorie Pyramid

 Rainfall
12 - 33 inches
medium
 

Tundra
     Food Web
     KCalorie Pyramid 

Rainfall
 Less
than 10 inches
low

Grasslands
      Food Web
      KCalorie Pyramid

  Savannas

10 - 30 inches

medium

Aquatic Communities
    Fishes

Variable Rainfall

Deciduous Forests
       Food Web
       KCalorie Pyramid

 30 - 60 inches

medium

 Special Effects Section: Latitude and Altitude

 Carrying Capacity

 Growing Seasons

 Reproductive Strategies

 Following the Energy Trail -- Figuring Out Your Planet's Energy Budget

The Caloric Content of Foods

Some Animal Weights and Caloric Requirements on Earth


     These are the biomes that I have chosen. Each one can be subdivided into many more precisely described biomes, with more specific rainfall amounts, growing seasons, and elevations. However, in a ten week course, I think that these will be more than enough!

mountain lake     It is important to remember that a biome contains smaller, specialized communities. For instance, a forest includes meadows, streams, rocky areas and bogs. A desert includes oases, sand dunes, rocks and gullies. Aquatic communities may live in fresh or salt water, shallow or deep water, rocks and mud flats. Obviously these smaller zones will also have different micro-climates which provide habitats for plants and animals not commonly found in the surrounding area.

    It seems possible that climatic zones with similar temperatures and rainfalls exist on other planets. Some alien biomes might seem familiar to us, but others might be amazingly different. Will there be life in these zones?  We can only guess. Life on this planet survives in conditions where tempertures allow terrestrial biochemistry to work. Some marginal zones, such as the ocean bottoms, the near-boiling hot springs in Yellowstone, and very cold areas in the Antarctic, support life forms with unique, specialized adaptations. Could their biochemistry be the norm somewhere else? Who knows? Yet life forms must adapt to their environments everywhere. To start thinking about this, let's see what earth's biomes are like.

     In order for life to evolve, conditions must be the same over long periods of time. On land, temperature, elevation, and rainfall are important variables. Over many generations, animals and plants adapt to the conditions where they live. When climates change, the animals and plants adapt to the changes or die out.



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