Name: ___________________________ Section: ______ Date: ____________
Worksheet in NATSC13-Ecology
What is a
? Ecologists use the term biome to designate any of the majorcommunities of organisms on land. A land or terrestrial biome is defined by its distinctivevegetation (plant life forms) and its character is mainly determined by
. Temperature and rainfall are the most important factors thatdetermine the distribution of the major terrestrial biomes. Generally, the higher the rainfalland temperature of the area, the greater the number and the larger the size of the plants it cansupport.For our purpose, we will only consider seven major terrestrial biomes namely:
temperate deciduous forests
is the most continuous of the Earth’s biomes, forming a band around the northpole. The average temperature is -10
C and the region is characterized by permanently frozensubsoil, the permafrost, and seasonal melt of snow. It has a limited precipitation of only about10-25cm per year.
is also known as the boreal or coniferous forests. Like the tundra, taigas areregions dotted by lakes, ponds and bogs, and characterized by very cold winters, as in largeparts of Scandinavia, Russia and Canada. However, the taiga has slightly higher precipitation andlonger and warmer summer than the tundra. During this time, the subsoil thaws and vegetationgrows rapidly.
Temperate deciduous forests
are regions characterized by hot summers andpronounced winters, together with rainfall of between 75-125cm per year. The temperateregion of the earth is distinguished by its four seasons.Grasslands cover almost all regions of the earth. There are two distinct types of grasslands – the temperate and the tropical grasslands. Very large area of the temperateregions are covered with grasslands characteristic of habitats where summers are hot, wintersare cold, and rainfall is relatively low and variable, ranging from 25-75cm per year.
are variously known as prairies (North America), pampas (South America), steppe(Asia), veldt (South Africa).
are found in the tropical and subtropicalregions where average rainfall is not high enough to support a forest. They are also known asthe savannah. Savannah is a grassland with scattered individual trees. Tropical grasslands arefound in areas of low or seasonal rainfall with prolonged dry periods such as parts of Africa,South America and northern Australia. The temperature of this biome vary little and seasonsare regulated by rainfall rather than temperature, unlike the temperate grasslands. The averagerainfall is between 85-150cm per year.