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A biome is a major ecosystem spread over a wide geographic area, and inhabited by flora and fauna characteristic and specific to that biome.

Major Aquatic Biomes

Earth is sometimes called "the Water Planet." Aquatic biomes occupy most of the biosphere

Life originated in the oceans, and stayed there for nearly 3 billion years. The oceans are the most influential of all terrestrial features affecting climate and biomes.

Aquatic biomes may be

The major types of aquatic biomes are...

Aquatic Biome Strata

Light is absorbed by water and by living aquatic organisms.

  • photic zone - light sufficient for photosynthesis
  • aphotic zone - light insufficient for photosynthesis

    Temperatures vary with depth, and aquatic habitats of any depth generally have a thermocline--a narrow band of water where temperature suddenly changes.

    Freshwater Biome Zones

    Marine Biome Zones

    Productivity in Freshwater Biomes
    Productivity is a measure of how much biomass (dry organic matter) a particular ecosystem gains over a specified period of time. Freshwater ecosystems/biomes can be characterized by their level of productivity.

  • oligotrophic - deep, nutrient poor, water very clear; LOW productivity
  • eutrophic - shallower, nutrient rich, murky with phytoplankton; HIGH productivity
    (note on cultural eutrophication)
  • mesotrophic - in between the above two classifications; MODERATE productivity

    Major Terrestrial Biomes

    Temperate Deciduous Forest




    Tropical Rainforest


    Note the link between soil nutrient content and precipitation. Consider...

  • Which of these biomes has the highest productivity?
  • Which has the lowest soil nutrient content?
  • Which has the highest soil nutrient content?
  • Which biomes are most most suitable for agriculture?
  • Which do you like the best? (That's the hardest question!)