Biome Examples

A biome is characterized by a large geographic area with a specific climate, vegetation, and animal life. The biological community of a biome is formed in response to the physical environment and climate of the region. A biome may have several ecosystems and a variety of habitats.

Types

There are mainly five types of biomes: aquatic, grassland, forest, desert, and tundra.

#1. Aquatic Biome

The aquatic biome is further divided into marine and freshwater biomes. The marine biome is the biggest biome on Earth, covering almost three-quarters of Earth’s surface. Examples of marine biomes are oceans, coral reefs, and estuaries. Water bodies having a salt content of less than one percent belong to freshwater biomes, for example, ponds, rivers, and lakes.

#2. Grassland Biome

Grasslands are mostly characterized by a warm, dry climate. Grasslands are further divided into tropical (also called savannas) and temperate grasslands.

Tropical Grasslands (Savannas)

These biomes are found near the equator and cover almost half of the continent of Africa. Savannas are also found in Australia, India, and South America. Savannas are characterized by a few scattered trees.

Temperate Grasslands

Red Valley, South Dakota, a temperate grassland biome

These are found away from the equator and cover areas of South Africa, Hungary, Argentina, Uruguay, North America, and Russia. Temperate grasslands have no trees and shrubs and receive less precipitation than savannas. Temperate grasslands have two types – Prairies, and steppes. Prairies have taller grasses, while steppes have shorter grasses.

#3. Forest Biome

Forests are spread over an area of about one-third of the Earth. Forests are divided into three biomes – temperate forests, tropical forests, and boreal forests (also known as the taiga).

Tropical Forests

These forests are found closer to the equator and have a warm, humid climate.

Temperate Forests

These forests are found at higher latitudes and have all four seasons.

Boreal Forests

These forests are found at even higher latitudes and have the coldest and driest climate. These forests experience precipitation mostly in the form of snow.

#4. Desert Biome

Desert areas cover almost 20 percent of Earth’s surface and are characterized by less than 50 centimeters (20 inches) of rainfall per year.

The biodiversity is very low in these areas, and the vegetation and wildlife have a special adaptation to survive the extreme climatic conditions of deserts. Based on geographic location or climatic conditions, deserts are divided into four categories – hot and dry, semiarid, coastal, and cold.

#5. Tundra Biome

Tundra biomes cover the coldest regions on Earth’s surface. Annual average temperatures of these regions range from -34 to 12 degrees Celsius (-29 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit). These regions are characterized by low annual precipitation (15–25 centimeters), poor-quality soil nutrients, and short summers.

Tundra biomes have very low biodiversity with simple vegetation including shrubs, grasses, mosses, and lichens. Tundra biomes are categorized into two types – arctic, and alpine.

Arctic Tundra

These are found north of boreal forests.

Alpine Tundra

These are found at high altitudes like mountains, where it is hard for trees to survive.

Examples of Biome

#1. Santa Monica Mountains, California, United States

  • Santa Monica Mountains, California
  • Location: Near Los Angeles
  • Biome: Mediterranean (also called the chaparral biome)
  • Climate: Wet winters and warm, dry summers

Flora & Fauna: The area is marked by high concentrations of rare, sensitive, and endemic species. The mountains are home to over 100 plant species and a variety of mammals including bobcats, coyotes, and mountain lions. The mountains are also home to nearly 400 species of birds and 35 species of reptiles and amphibians. More than 50 threatened or endangered plants and animals are found in the mountains.

#2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, United States

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Location: Southeastern United States
  • Biome: Deciduous (temperate) forest biome
  • Climate: The park has a mild, rainy climate.

Flora & Fauna: More than 19,000 different species of plants and animals have been identified in the park. The park is characterized by four different types of forests – Spruce-fir forests, Northern Hardwood forests, Hemlock forests, and Pine-and-Oak forests.

The Park is home to more than 240 bird species, 67 native fish species, 65 different mammal species, and over 80 species of reptiles and amphibians. The most notable mammal species in the park is the black bear. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for salamanders and is often called the  “Salamander Capital of the World.”

#3. Eastern Great Lakes lowland forests, Canada

  • Eastern Great Lakes lowland forests, Canada
  • Location: South and eastern Ontario and Quebec in Canada, and Upstate New York and Vermont in the United States
  • Biome: Temperate broadleaf and mixed forest biome
  • Climate: Humid cold temperate – These forests have warm summers and cold, snowy winters.

Flora & Fauna: The region is characterized by freshwater marshes, dunes, bogs, fens, and hardwood and conifer swamps.

The region is home to conifers including Eastern hemlock, white pine, and red pine, and hardwoods like yellow birch, sugar maple, American beech, and red oak. Eastern Great Lakes lowland forests are home to more than  220 bird species and 50 mammal species.

#4. Fynbos Biome of the Western Cape

  • Fynbos Biome of the Western Cape
  • Location: Western Cape, South Africa
  • Biome: Mediterranean
  • Climate: The region has cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers.

Flora & Fauna: The region is mostly covered by fynbos (meaning “fine bush”).  The region is marked by a variety of flowering plants. Due to poor vegetation, large animals are not found in the region.

#5. Mojave Desert, United States

  • Mojave Desert
  • Location: Spread over southern Nevada and portions of western Arizona and southeastern California
  • Biome: Desert
  • Climate: Warm-temperate – The region has hot summers and cool winters.

Flora & Fauna: One-quarter of the plant species found in the desert are endemic. The Joshua tree of the yucca species is the flagship species of this region. More than 23 species of cacti are found in the Mojave, and most of these are endemics like the silver cholla, Mojave prickly pear, beavertail cactus, and many-headed barrel cactus.

Mojave is home to a variety of endemic animals such as the Kelso dunes jerusalem cricket, Kelso dunes shieldback katydid, Mojave fringe-toed lizard, Mojave ground squirrel, and Amargosa vole.

#6. Amazon Rainforest

  • Amazon Rainforest
  • Location: Spread over eight countries (Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, and Suriname) and the overseas territory of French Guiana. Most of the forest (almost 60%) is found in Brazil.
  • Biome: Freshwater
  • Climate: The climate of the region is humid and warm and has all the typical attributes of a tropical environment.

Flora & Fauna: This is the biggest rainforest and the largest and most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforest in the world. The Amazon rainforest has the largest collection of living plants and animal species in the world.

The region is home to more than 40,000 species of plants, 3,000 species of freshwater fish, 300 species of mammals, 1,300 different kinds of birds, several million varieties of insects, and more than 370 kinds of reptiles.

#7. Northern Great Plains

  • Great Plains of Indiana
  • Location: Spread over five U.S. states and two Canadian provinces
  • Biome: Temperate grassland
  • Climate: The region experiences a highly variable climate, prone to extreme events such as droughts, floods, heat waves, cold waves, blizzards, and severe weather.

Flora & Fauna: The region is home to a variety of animal species including plains bison, black-footed ferret, pronghorn, greater sage-grouse, mountain plover, and swift fox.

The region is home to a variety of birds including disappearing birds, such as mountain plovers, burrowing owls, chestnut-collared longspurs, and Sprague’s pipits. The region is known for its native mixed grass cover.

#8. Eurasian Steppe

  • Steppes of Kyrgyzstan
  • Location: Stretches from Hungary to China
  • Biome: Temperate Grassland
  • Climate: Semi-arid or continental

Flora & Fauna: The region consists of treeless plains and is much like a prairie. The grass in the region is mostly short instead of tall, and herbaceous vegetation with isolated shrubbery dominates the plains.

 Apart from grazing animals like rabbits and horses, the region is home to a variety of unique animal species such as the Corsac Fox, Mongolian Gerbil, Saiga Antelope, Northern Lynx, Saker Falcon, and Bactrian Camels.

#9. Great Barrier Reef

  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Location: Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia
  • Biome: Marine
  • Climate: Tropical

Flora & Fauna: The region is home to over 200,000 hectares of mangroves, 300,000 hectares of seagrasses, and 4,000,000 hectares of the lagoon. It has 2,195 species of native plants, which are nearly a quarter of Queensland’s species, of which three are endemic.

The Great Barrier Reef is home to over 2,900 individual coral reefs built of 359 species of hard coral, 1,500 species of fish, 5,000-8,000 species of mollusk, 630 echinoderms, 1,330 crustaceans, 6,000 amphipod crustaceans, 1,500 sponges, 350 ascidians (sea squirts), 3-500 bryozoans (moss animals) over 500 polychaete or bristle worms, and 1,000s of Platyhelminthes (flatworms). Green and loggerhead turtles are also found in the region.

#10. Mariana Trench

  • Mariana Trench
  • Location: Western Pacific Ocean
  • Biome: Marine
  • Climate: Varied and sometimes extreme – At the bottom of the trench the temperature is between 1–4℃, and no light penetrates the area.

Flora & Fauna: Although due to the absence of sunlight in the deepest reaches of the Mariana Trench, no plants or algae have been found, the microbial flora composed of actinomycetes, fungi, non-extremophilic bacteria, and various extremophilic bacteria such as alkaliphiles, thermophiles, and psychrophiles has been found in the trench. More than  200 different species of microorganisms, including types of microscopic plankton and shells, have been reported in the region.

The most commonly found creatures in the trench include saucer-sized, single-celled xenophyophores, which feed on sediment, amphipods, which are large shrimp-like scavengers, and small sea cucumbers called holothurians. Larger species, including the hadal snailfish – a small, pink, and completely scaleless species, have also been found in the trench.

#11. Tongass National Forest

  • Aerial view of Tongass National Forest
  • Location: Southeast Alaska
  • Biome: Rainforest
  • Climate: Temperate – rain and cool temperatures likely most of the year

Flora and Fauna: The forest is known for its lush vegetation. Conifers, cone-bearing trees such as hemlock, and spruce, are found almost everywhere in the forest. Western hemlock (70 percent) and Sitka spruce (20 percent) are the most abundant, while western red cedar, yellow-cedar, mountain hemlock, and shore pine make up most of the rest.

#12. Serengeti

  • Location: Mara and Arusha regions of Tanzania in Africa
  • Biome: Savanna Grasslands
  • Climate: Subtropical – Two rainy seasons with one long dry season in the middle of the year

Flora & Fauna: Plants in Serengeti are mostly dominated by open savannah grasslands. The region is home to over 314 plant species including short grass dotted with acacia tree species.

The most common plant species in the region are Acacia trees, Acacia tortilis, Acacia Drepanolobium, and Kigelia (the Sauage tree).

Serengeti is known for the Big Five – lion, rhino, leopard, elephant, and Cape buffalo. Serengeti is home to a variety of animals such as long-neck giraffes, zebra, topi, kongoni, impala, and Grant’s gazelle.

The region has more than 500 bird species including the bright green and yellow-coloured Fischer’s Lovebird and the Kuri bustard with its impressive white beard. The region is also home to a variety of insects including dung beetles, grasshoppers, termites, butterflies, moths, and ants.

#13. Hokkaido Island

  • Hokkaido at night with fishing boats
  • Location: North of Japan, near Russia (Sakhalin Oblast)
  • Biome: Taiga
  • Climate: Humid continental – Annual mean temperature is around 10.0ºC, which is similar to that of Chicago or Boston in North America.

Flora & Fauna: The island is mostly dominated by temperate deciduous forests consisting of Mongolian oaks, painted maple, Japanese larch and elm, birch, different species of spruce and fir, as well as bamboo thickets. Meadow vegetation with tall grasses is also found on the island.

Some endemic plant species found on these islands include Lycopus kurilensis, Erigeron schikotanensis, Taraxacum vulcanorum, Clinopodium kunashirense, and Pulsatilla taraoi.

Hokkaido is home to a variety of bird species including the endangered Blakiston’s eagle-owl or fish owl, the endangered Oriental stork, the red-crowned crane, far eastern curlew, and spotted greenshank, as well as the critically endangered yellow-breasted bunting.

The most common mammal on this island is the Brown bear. Other commonly found mammals are the red fox, the Hokkaido red squirrel, and the Siberian flying squirrel.

#14. Arctic Alaska

  • A male polar bear near Kaktovik, Alaska
  • Location: Spread over North Slope Borough, Northwest Arctic Borough, and Nome Census Area
  • Biome: Tundra
  • Climate: Arctic – long, very cold winters and short, cool summers

Flora & Fauna: The vegetation of Arctic Alaska includes lichens, mosses, shrubs, and small grasses. The Big Five animals in Arctic Alaska are bear, moose, Dall sheep, wolf, and caribou. The region is also home to marine mammals like humpback whales, orcas, and gray whales.

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