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Biomes

Biomes

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Published by Allen A. Espinosa

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Published by: Allen A. Espinosa on Jan 25, 2012
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Name: ___________________________ Section: ______ Date: ____________ 
Terrestrial Biomes
Worksheet in NATSC13-Ecology
Introduction
What is a
biome
? 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
,
rainfall 
,
topography 
, and
soil type
. 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:
tundra
,
taiga
,
temperate deciduous forests
,
temperate grassland 
,
tropical rainforest 
,
tropical grassland 
, and
desert 
.
Tundra
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.
Taiga
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.
Temperate grasslands
are variously known as prairies (North America), pampas (South America), steppe(Asia), veldt (South Africa).
Tropical grasslands
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.
 
Deserts
are very dry areas found in both the temperate and tropical regions, mainlybetween 15
°
and 40
°
north and south of the equator. They include the great deserts such asthe Namib and the Kalahari of South Africa, the Sahara in North Africa, the Arabian desert andthe coastal Atacama desert of Peru and Chile. The low humidity of the desert atmosphereleads to a wide daily temperature ranges. Deserts generally receive less than 25cm of rainfallper year.
Tropical rainforests
 
occur near the equator where rainfall is high throughout the yearand temperature is consistently warm: in South and Central America, West and EquatorialAfrica, Southeast Asia including the Philippines, Indonesia and northeast Australia. The annualrainfall is between 200-450cm, much of it is derived from transpiration (loss of water vapor byplants) from the lush vegetation itself. Of all the biomes, the tropical rainforests have thehighest biodiversity. Sixty percent of the total species on earth is found in the tropicalrainforests. One of the main ecological characteristics is their fragility – once destroyed, theyare very slow to regenerate, if it happens at all. Perhaps the most famous tropical rainforest inthe world is the flooded forest of the Amazon in Brazil. Its rich wildlife is subject tointernational trafficking by some unscrupulous individuals in exchange for several thousands of dollars. The tropical rainforests of our planet are fast disappearing, maybe even faster than werealize. We need to do something positive before they are forever gone!
Learning Objectives
In this activity, you will be able to:1.
 
distinguish among the different types of biomes in terms of climate, location,and resident plants and animals,2.
 
identify countries where a given biome may be found, and3.
 
appreciate the importance and role of each biome in the maintenance of ecological balance.
Learning Tasks
1. Identify the biome described in the following items. ____________________1. Has the highest biodiversity ____________________2. During the summer, the subsoil thaws and vegetation grows veryrapidly ____________________3. Very wide temperature range – very cold at night but extremelyhot during noontime ____________________4. Also known as savannah ____________________5. Characterized by permanently frozen soil known as
permafrost 
  ____________________6. Summers are hot,winters are cold, with rainfall averaging from 25-75cm per year ____________________7. Characterized by hot summers and pronounced winters, withrainfall between 75-125cm per year
 
2. Fill-in the table with the required information. To successfully complete this task, you will need to refer to printed or onlinereferences. Please provide clear and concise answers.
 Abiotic factors Biotic factorsBiomeClimate (lengthand number of seasons) Amount of precipitation per  year Resident plants(at least 3)Resident animals(at least 3)Location(at least 2 countrieswhere you can find this biome)
DesertTaigaTemperate deciduous forestTemperate grasslandTropical grasslandTropical rainforestTundra

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