Biomes

Characteristics of biomes:

  • large area of earth
  • similar, predictable climate
  • similar flora and fauna (biota)
  • soil types
  • multiple ecosystems (interacting)
  • boundaries: precipitation, altitude, temperature, insolation

insolation – amount of sun that hits a particular area; amount of solar radiation

General biome rules:

  • The higher the rainfall and avreage temperature in a biome, the more and larger plants that the biome can support
  • Tropical rainforest is the most diverse terrestrial biome
    • 10 different species of trees per hectare in a temperate forest
    • 100 different species of trees per hectare in a tropical forest

What makes biomes different?

  • solar energy (most important factor in determing biome type)
  • insolation
  • latitude

Gross Primary Product is the rate at which an ecosystem’s producers convert solar energy to chemical energy. It is the rate at which plants or other producers (blue-green algae) use photosynthesis to plant material (biomass). The “efficiency” of an ecosystem is measured by its rpdocutvitiy. Another way to say it: the total organic material “fixed” by producers.

Net Primary Product is the part of the GPP formed during photosyntehsis that remains aftter plant respiration. Respiration provides for all metabolic activities, such as growth, movement, reproduction. Whatever is left is available for harvest. NPP is usually measured in dry biomass, in the units mass/area/time, such as gm/m2/yr, or simply mass/time like tonnes/year.

Taiga

  • boreal forest
  • Location: Alaska, Canda, Russia, Europe
    • areas that were previously glacial zones
  • Abiotic Factors
    • Climate
      • subarctic: long winters, short summers
      • dark for 20 hours
      • -77ºF when cold
      • 15 to 20 in of rain anually
      • little snowfall
    • Soil
      • permafrost
      • most prominant: spodosol
      • acidic due to coniferoius flora
      • infertile, slow growing, highly hydrated
      • few plants survive
  • Biotic individuals: muskrat, beaver, carion, fox, bald eagle, hare, squirrel, salmon, bear, mole, snow goose, scorpion, snow leopard
  • Threats
    • unsustainable forest management: clear cutting, plantation forestry, exotic trees, pestiticides, herbicides, soil ditching
    • nonrenewable explotation: oil, natural gas, instability in middle increases need for crude oil, carbon dioxide soil waste spills
    • global warming: emissions lead to climate increase, heating permafrost, and methane release
    • poaching/logging
    • building of transporation routes
    • mining
    • human induced fires
    • wastefulness

Tropical Rainforest

  • Location
    • Brazil (30.86% of tropical rainforest)
    • Indonesia (9.78%)
    • Congo (9%)
    • Peru (5.97%)
    • Columbia (3.99%)
    • 63 other regions (24%)
  • Abiotic factors
    • Topography
      • lowland – below 3000 ft
      • montane – above 3000 ft
      • cloud – above 105,000 ft
    • Stratta (layers) in African forest
      • emergence – top level
      • canopy – light, rain, warmth, monkeys, butterflies
      • midstratta – snakes, mantis, golden cats
      • forest floor – chameleon, elephant shrew, leopard
    • the closer to the equator, the higher the radiation
    • Climate
      • temperature is no lower than 18ºC, no higher than 30ºC
      • no noticable/significant seasons
    • Intertropical Convergence Zone: polar-cooled vs equiatorial heated fronts
    • Soil
      • humus rich in phosphates, nitrates, potassium
      • not many nutrients below several meters
  • Biotic individuals: python, jaguar, bat, iguana, tree frog, insects, monkeys, macaws, chimps, bamboo, coconut trees, orchids, sloth, amphibians, small mammals, mosquito, earthworms
  • Dangers
    • urbanization, “slash and burn”
    • pollution in rivers, land, air
    • fertilizers/pesticides
    • more erosion after clearing – topsoil and nutrients removed
    • poaching/hunting – less than 70% of captured animals survive
    • invasive species – disrutpion of ecological balance
    • deforestation – increases rate in rise of global carbon dioxide levels

Temperatre Deciduous Forest

  • Location: Eastern United States, Europe
  • Abiotic factors
    • 4 seasons
    • warmer climate than coniferous forest
    • more available water
    • more insects
    • more arable and fertile soil – forms humus layer in winter
    • covered seeds (i.e. fruits, etc.)
    • 30 to 60 inches of rainfall per year
  • Biotic structure
    • Producers: shrubs, moss, wild maple, dogwood, ferns
    • Herbivores: white-tailed deer
    • Omnivores: raccoon, black bear
    • Carnivores: timber wolves, snakes
    • Scavengers: ants, eagles
    • Decomposers: fungi, detritus, earthworm
  • Biotic adaptations
    • to adapt to changing seasons, they hibernate or migrate
    • store food for winter
    • insect life cycle finishes in 1 season
    • plants/trees alter growth to seasons
    • plant leaves capture sunlight
    • as temperature drops, trees shorten water supply to leaves
    • trees lose leaves in winter
  • Issues
    • people use land for farming, deforestation, mining
    • acid rain caused by industrial, vehicle pollutions
    • global warming
    • parasitic diseases brought by insects
    • invasive species

Coral Reefs

  • Intro
    • as coral dies, it creates a limestone skeleton
    • it builds up, becoming a reef
    • coral is an animal with specific abiotic factors needed: light, temperature, sediment, wave force, depth (46 m)
    • zooxanthellae
    • at night, they become an intense battleground for fighting
  • Types
    • barrief reef – when landmasses sink
    • fringing reef – border coasts, island
    • atole
  • Biotic factors: coral polyp
  • Location: between 30º north and 30º south, concentrated around the Gulf and Oceania
  • Threats
    • animals (i.e. parrot fish) and storms harm coral
    • global warming – slight rise in temperature will kill coral
    • overfishing – dynamite fishing
    • pollution
    • as a result, coral reefs are disappearing

Mid-Latitude Desert

  • South Africa, North America (Great Basin), Central Eurasia, southern South America
  • Abiotic factors
    • arid and high rate of evaporation
    • temperature differs drastically during summer and winter
    • soil: pebbly rock surface, but ranges from sandy to salty
    • water plays vital role in forming system
    • mountain terrain
  • Biotic structure
    • Plants: douglas fir
    • Primary consumers: finch, elk, long-tailed bull
    • Secondary consumers: squirrel, white till, amphibians, reptiles
    • Tertiary consumers: coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, golden eagles, rattlesnakes
    • many burrowers
  • Issues
    • soil is already loose (fragile environment)
    • desertification – loss of soil fertility and vegetation
    • overgrazing animals

Savanna

  • Locations: Africa, South America, Central America, parts of Asia, India, part of Austrailia,
  • Biotic factors
    • Climate
      • tropical, high temperature
      • wet/dry season characterized by temperature, humidity
      • temperature decreases slightly in wet season
    • Soil
      • ferruginous
      • ferralific
      • type present determined by climate, geology, geomorphology
      • porous and suffers from minimum nutrients
    • Rainfall
      • more leads to less dry months
      • amount of rain affects growth of revegation
    • Altitude
      • less altitude = sandier, drier
      • plants grow faster because of shorter growing period
      • plants absorb a lot of water
    • Types
      • hyperseasonal – lot of rian water, clay soil (wet on top but airs out quickly in dry season with water shortage)
      • seasonal – no water collected, thick forrest (most common)
      • nonseasonal – sand, soil, wet equatorial climate
  • Abiotic structure
    • Vegetation
      • very few trees, but many grasses
      • trees store water in trunks
      • rhode grass, star grass, acacia tree, baobab tree, cacti
    • Animals: gazelles, antelope, buffalo, zebra, giraffes, cheetahs, lions, jackals, mice, lizards, worm, dung beetles
  • Issues
    • overgrazing
    • rain tears up the soil, forming gullies
    • farming

Coastal Wetlands/Estuaries

  • Abiotic factors
    • hydric soil – not exposed to oxygen because wetlands are mostly covered by water
    • topography determines how large wetland will be, how much water will stay for a given amount of time during the year
    • wind structures wetlands with erosion
    • salinity – depending on amount of salt in water, it directly determines species and number of organisms that live and drink in it
  • estuary, frarie pothole, marsh, coastal sandsheet, riverine forested, coastal flatwood
  • Biotic adaptations
    • hydrophytes – plants adapted to living on top or underneath the surface of water, survive in soil
    • plants that can’t survive without soil oxygen are not found
    • common plants: cattails, bulrushes, sedge
    • trees found in peat lands: red mpales, silver mpales, elms, cypresses
    • mangroves have 110 different species with roots that home small organisms (i.e. oysters, algae) and prevent erosion
    • animals: swamp rabbits, rats, bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, river otter, ribbon snakes, bullfrogs, bass, catfish, green tree frog
  • Biotic structure
    • producers: bacteria, fungi, detritus
    • herbivores: ferns, flowering plants, insects
    • carnivores: sparrows, raccoons, spiders, rice rats
  • Issues
    • combo of surrounding errestrial and aquatic ecosystems
    • subject to large-scale draining, creating more terrestial land which pleases developers
    • flooding – used for recreational lakes

Tropical Deserts

  • Location: Australia, North Africa (Sahara), Central America
  • Abiotic factors
    • course soil – free particles blown away by wind
    • 20-25ºC
    • arid, less than 250 mm
    • evotranspiration – less presipitation than what evaporates (water table)
  • Flora
    • xerophytes – can survive in harsh climates, small leaves
    • phreatophytes – long “tap” roots, mesquite
  • Adaptations
    • behaviora: sleeping habits (nocturnal, repuscular), fossorial (burrowing)
    • morphological: changes in body
    • physiological: urine, sweat glands, fat deposits
  • Animals
  • Issues
    • nomadic groups… bust mostly harmless
    • desertification – degredation of vegetation
    • irrigation – increases desertification
    • mining
    • salinization
    • overharvesting/overgrazing

Chaparell

  • shrubland
  • Location: 30-40º latitude – coastal Australia, Mediterrarnian, South Africa, California, Chile
  • Abiotic factors
    • 100ºF in summer, 50ºF in winter
    • 15-40 in. of rain per year, mostly inwinter
    • soil is very poor, so plants can grow in dry soil
    • vegetation with leaves have adapted to little water
  • Biotic structure
    • producers: oak trees, manzanita bushes, coastal plants
    • consumers: deer, ungulates, cuckoo birds, squirrels
    • secondary consumers: aardvarks, collard peckory, scoprions, snakes
    • tertiary consumers: minks, quoll, red-tailed hawk
  • Adaptations
    • nocturnal
    • burrowing
    • trees have small leaves to preserve water, which are waxy to start fires
    • animals adapt to heat
    • jackrabbits have big ears to help them cool down
    • flowers bloom when favorable, and die quickly
  • Issue: too much chaparell because of logging in nearby biomes

Pelagic

  • open ocean not along coast (pelagos = open sea)
  • Zones
    • epipelagic – 200 m
    • mesopelagic – 1000 m
    • bathypelagic – 4000 m
    • hedopelagic – 6000 m (trenches, less common)
    • abyssapelagic – 7000 m
  • Abiotic factors: water, salt, calcium, methane, rocks, underwater caves
  • Biotic individuals: swordfish, sperm whales, squid, tuna, zooplankton, phytoplankton, glass sponge, detritus
  • Issues
    • sewage/industrial waste dumped and poured from piplines containing chemicals and metals
    • oil spills – smothers marine life
    • garbage dumped kills
    • turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish
    • abandoned fish nets entagle birds/sea mammals
    • overharvesting depletes many mammals

Abyss

  • oceanic tundra with vast flat empty plains
  • Exploration
    • HMS Challenger took the first expedition 1872-76
    • by 2007, only 3% has been explored
  • Abiotic factors
    • completely dark, no solar energy
    • only a few creatures
    • no plant life, no photosynthesis
    • average temperature: -2ºC to 4ºC
    • “ooze” coats the surface and all surroudning objects
    • light from bio-luminescent creatures whose eerie glow is used to lure unsuspecting prey
    • low rate of sediment accumulation – less than 1 in. per 1000 years
    • 1980 m below sea level
    • water pressure increases by 14.7 lbs every 32.8 ft
    • vents and “black smothers”
      • chemicals provide nutrients through chemosynthesis
      • liquids reach 399ºC
      • strong currents mix water, plagued by heavy metals
      • pH of acidic water reaches 2.8
  • Animals: vampire squid, hagfish (parasite), shrimp
  • Hazards
    • waste dumped and lands in abyss
    • fishing companies use deep bottom trawlers to rake ocean floor, destroyed all but 3 percent of the habitat that took 1000s of years to grow

Intertidal Zone

  • littoral zone
  • region where land and water meet
  • Subzones
    • high tide zone
      • flooded during high tade
      • highly salive
      • animals (i.e. owl limpet, sea algae, dogwinkle) adjust to wet and dry conditions
    • middle tide zone
      • submerged and flooded for equal periods of time per tide cycle
      • animals (i.e. ghost shripm, mussels, black turban) eat tiny particles of food
    • low tide zone
      • mostly submerged, only exposed at low tide
      • 90% water
      • animals (i.e. nudibranch, sea stars, 2-spotted octopus) cannot be in the sun for too long
  • Abiotic factors: salinity, dissolved oxygen, insolation, sand soil type
  • Biotic factors: relatively limited, primarily competition and predation, interaction with ecosystem
  • Biotic individuals: sea star, phytoplankton, clams, anenomies, birds, bivavles, oysters, snails, horseshoe crab
  • Issues
    • vehicle impact
    • commercial activities: harvesting sea weed and oysters
    • pollution
    • subsistence
    • bait collecting

Lakes and Rivers

  • Abiotic factors
    • Temperature
      • affects distribution of life
      • summer: 4ºC to 22º on top
      • winter: up to 4ºC
    • Minerals: calcium ions, nitrogen, phosphates, organic materials
  • Flora
    • microphytes
      • float or attach to spores
      • may be joined by bacteria and protists
      • i.e. algae, phytoplankton, microscopic organisms
    • macrophytes
  • Fauna
    • varies based on abiotic factors
    • epineuston – on the surface
    • hyponeuston – just below the surface
    • pelagic region – open water with light
    • profundal region – below photic (lighted), open water
    • behthos – bottom, may have light
  • Food web: benthic organisms → algae → zooplankton → planktivorous fish → piscivorous fish
  • Biotic structure
    • Producers: algae, detritus
    • Primary consumers: zooplankton
    • Secondary consumers: planktivorous fish
    • Decomposers: bacteria, fungi – eat remains of all aquatic organisms
  • Issues
    • global warming has caused higher water temperature, changes in precipitation, less glacial ice/snow cover, changes to atmosphere
    • pollution
    • trash thrown in
    • lower water levels leads to less available water
    • climate change could make sompe laces unsuitable for fish
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