A BIOME is a major ecosystem spread over a wide geographic area, and characterized by certain types of flora and fauna.

Major Aquatic Biomes

On our watery planet, these 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, hence, biomes.

Aquatic biomes may be

The major types of aquatic biomes are...

Stratification of Aquatic Biomes

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.

    Zonation in Freshwater Biomes

    Classification of Freshwater Biomes by Productivity As you will learn later, productivity is a measure of how much biomass (dry organic matter) a particular ecosystem gains over a specified period of time. More on this later.

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

    Zonation in Marine Biomes

    Major Terrestrial Biomes

    Terrestrial Biomes are determined by climate which, in turn, determines the flora of the biome. Plant species can be characterized by their need for water:

    Biomes and ecosystems are characterized by many species, but of special note to the ecologist concerned with conservation are the...

    The major terrestrial biomes are...

  • Arctic Region at the north and south poles

  • Tundra. See more beautiful images of the tundra.

  • Coniferous (Boreal) Forest (also known as "taiga") . See more images of the taiga/boreal forest.

  • Temperate Deciduous Forest

  • Prairie (Temperate Grassland) and more beautiful shots of Prairie can be seen HERE.

  • Savanna (Tropical/Subtropical Grassland)

  • Chaparral (Mediterranean Scrub Forest)

  • Tropical Rainforest

  • Desert (plus a view of Joshua Tree National Monument and Death Valley National Park.

    Recall the link between soil nutrient content and precipitation. You should know...

    The Florida Everglades: Our Own Personal Biome

    The Everglades is a major Florida ecosystem with characteristics of both terrestrial and aquatic biomes. Everglades National Park (ENP) contains dry land areas: ENP also contains vast expanses of wetland covered by shallow, slow-moving water. It has been called a "River of Grass" because of the sawgrass that grows in the shallow marsh and is a major keystone species in this part of the Everglades.

    Can you think of keystone and indicator species in the Everglades?